Urinary Tract Infection: Symptoms, Types, Home Remedies
- What Is Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)?
- What Is the Urinary Tract?
- Types of UTIs
- Causes of Urinary Tract Infection
- Symptoms of Urinary Tract Infection
- Treatment for Urinary Tract Infection
- Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) Diagnosis
- Complications of Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
- Home Remedies for Urinary Tract Infection
- Prevention Tips for Urinary Tract Infection
- Given how common UTIs are, it is in your best interest to know how to identify the different types of UTI
- Numerous things like a suppressed or weakened immune system can cause UTI
- Arming yourself with this information about UTIs helps you protect yourself from developing complicated illnesses
Infections are part and parcel of everyday life and among the more common ones is the urinary tract infection (UTI). According to experts, when it comes developing a urinary tract infection, women are at a higher risk, especially in the reproductive or post-menopause stages. In fact, some believe 1 in 2 women are likely to have a UTI at least once in a lifetime, whereas for men, there’s about a 1 in 10 chance.
What Is Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)?
Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) are common infections that can affect any part of the urinary tract. The most common type of UTI is a bladder infection, which can cause symptoms like frequent urination, strong urges to urinate, and pain or burning during urination.
Bacteria cause UTIs, most often the bacterium Escherichia coli (E. coli). The bacteria enter the urinary tract through the urethra and can travel up to the bladder, causing an infection. Treatment for a UTI typically involves antibiotics.
While UTIs are more common in women than men, anyone can get one. People with diabetes or other conditions that weaken the immune system are at increased risk for UTIs.
If you think you might have a UTI, you must see a healthcare provider to get treated. Untreated UTIs can lead to serious kidney infections.
What Is the Urinary Tract?
The urinary tract is a body system that helps filter and removes waste from the blood. It comprises the kidneys, the ureters, the bladder, and the urethra. The kidneys are two small organs that are located in the lower back. They remove waste from the blood and produce urine. The ureters are two thin tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder. The bladder is a muscle that stores urine until it is ready to be excreted from the body. The urethra is a small tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body.
Types of UTIs
Given how common UTIs are, it is in your best interest to know how to identify the different types of urinary tract infections.
There 3 main types of UTIs and they are:
Infection in the urethra that can cause a burning sensation when urinating
Infection in the kidneys that can cause pain in the upper back, fevers and chills
Infection in the bladder that can cause pain when urinating and even lead to bloody urine
As you can see, these infections affect different parts of the urinary tract and generally show more serious signs if they progresses untreated. To truly understand how serious a UTI can get, it helps to know all you can about the infection. This is especially important because anyone can develop a UTI and being informed can push you to get an early diagnosis and treatment before any serious complications. To that end, here’s all you need to know about urinary tract infections.
Causes of Urinary Tract Infection
Given that UTI is an infection, there are numerous factors that can cause such a problem. Among them is a suppressed or weakened immune system and this is why there’s a high risk of a urinary tract infection in children or the elderly. As for the other factors, these are the 6 main causes you should know of.
Structural abnormalities in the urinary tract that first show up at an early stage can serve as a cause for UTIs. These are existent in children and in some cases, adults too. A good example of such an abnormality within the urinary tract is a bladder diverticulum. Diverticula are pouches in the bladder wall, and these can store bacteria in the bladder and lead to UTIs.
It was found that certain types of birth control mechanisms increased the risk of persons developing a UTI. For instance, women who used a diaphragm were at a higher risk as well those who used condoms with spermicidal foam or other forms of spermicides.
Owing to the decline in estrogenic circulation through the body and the subsequent changes in urinary tract, women who are in menopause are more vulnerable to UTIs.
Catheter Use or Medical Procedures
Prolonged use of a catheter due to neurological problems, paralysis, or hospitalisation increases the risk of one developing a UTI. This is also the case with urinary tract exams or medical procedures that use medical instruments.
Those who are sexually active have a higher chance of getting a UTI. This is especially pertinent to those with new sexual partners as it increases the risk of infection.
Improper hygiene, especially around the genitals, is also a cause of this infection. This is especially true for women as the urethra is close to anus, from which the E. Coli bacteria in the large intestine can get out. So, if proper hygiene isn’t maintained, this bacteria can travel through the urethra and into the bladder and lastly, the kidneys.
Besides these, there are several factors that increase the risk of developing a UTI. They are as follows.
- Bowel incontinence
- Immobility for extended periods of time
- Difficulty emptying the bladder
- Kidney stones
- Certain antibiotics
Symptoms of Urinary Tract Infection
When it comes to the symptoms of a urinary tract infection, men and women have many similarities. However, based on whether it is an upper or lower urinary tract infection, the symptoms differ. For men and women, here are the common symptoms of a UTI.
Upper Tract Urinary Infection Symptoms
- Pain in the upper back
Lower Tract Urinary Infection Symptoms
- Cloudy or bloody urine
- Burning sensation when urinating
- Passing urine of strong odour
- Passing urine of a darker colour
- Increase need and urgency to urinate
For men with a lower tract urinary infection, another symptom is rectal pain. For women with a lower tract urinary infection, pelvic pain is also expected.
Treatment for Urinary Tract Infection
A urinary tract infection (UTI) can be excruciating. While several over-the-counter treatments are available, you must see a doctor if you think you have a UTI.
UTIs are caused by bacteria entering the urinary tract. The most common symptom is a burning sensation when you urinate. Other symptoms can include:
- Bloody or cloudy urine
- Strong-smelling urine
- Pelvic pain
- Frequent urination
If you have any of these symptoms, you must see a doctor. They can prescribe antibiotics to clear up the infection.
You can also do some things at home to help relieve the pain. These include:
- Drinking plenty of fluids
- Urinating when you feel the urge
- Taking over-the-counter pain relievers
- Use a heating pad on your abdomen
If you have a UTI, it’s essential to see a doctor so they can prescribe the appropriate treatment. You can also do some things at home to help relieve the pain.
For a urinary tract infection, antibiotics are only administered to those in whom the infection is caused by bacteria. This is known only after diagnosis and testing, which is why you should prioritise healthcare rather than home remedies. In some cases, the infection can be caused by a virus or a fungus. With such a urinary tract infection, medicine is usually either an antiviral or antifungal. However, whatever the cause, UTIs should never go untreated as they can bring on adverse health complications.
In some cases, upper tract urinary infections can become life threatening after they enter the blood. Here, one may experience dangerously low blood pressure, shock, and even death.
Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) Diagnosis
There are many treatments for UTIs, and the best one for you depends on your infection's severity. For mild conditions, you may be able to treat your UTI with home remedies like drinking plenty of fluids and urinating often. For more severe infections, you may need antibiotics.
If you have a UTI, it's essential to see a doctor so that you can get the proper treatment. If you let your infection go untreated, it could lead to serious health problems.
Complications of Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
The most common complication of a UTI is kidney damage. Bacteria entering the urinary tract can travel to the kidneys and cause an infection. It can lead to kidney damage and even kidney failure in severe cases. Other complications of UTIs include blood poisoning, kidney stones, and an increased risk of developing a bladder or kidney infection in the future. If you think you may have a UTI, you must see a doctor and start treatment immediately.
Home Remedies for Urinary Tract Infection
A UTI (urinary tract infection) is widespread, especially in women. UTIs occur when bacteria enter the urinary system and multiply. It can cause various symptoms, including pain, burning, and urgency when urinating. A UTI can lead to severe complications if left untreated, so you must seek medical treatment immediately if you think you may have one.
Fortunately, several home remedies can also help ease the symptoms of a UTI and speed up recovery. Here are some of the most effective home remedies for a UTI:
- Drink plenty of fluids
- Urinate often
- Wipe from front to back
- Wear loose-fitting clothing
- Avoid feminine hygiene products
- Take a probiotic supplement
- Drink cranberry juice
Prevention Tips for Urinary Tract Infection
Adhere to these helpful tips to keep UTIs at bay.
- Do not hold urine in for long periods of time
- Drink enough water, usually 6 to 8 glasses a day
- As a woman, wipe after urination using a front-to-back motion only
- Urinate after sexual intercourse to flush out bacteria
- Empty your bladder fully when urinating and avoid rushing
- Keep genitals dry and avoid wearing nylon underwear as they trap moisture
Arming yourself with this information about UTIs helps you protect yourself from developing complicated illnesses in the long run. Knowing what to look for or being able to identify a factor that may be a potential cause for a UTI is immensely helpful, especially for the elderly or the very young. However, UTIs are quite common, especially amongst women and the best way to deal with an infection is to get medical care immediately. Here, the family primary care provider or a specialist like an OBGYN can address these symptoms with ease. Keep in mind that UTIs in men are generally regarded as complicated. So, it is best to get regular check-ups.
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