The human body is designed to do some amazing things. In various body systems, our internal organs work together to effectively cleanse, restore, build, and maintain good health every second of every day. The urinary system of the human body includes kidneys, uterus, bladder, urethra, and renal pelvis. The nutrients get extracted and transformed into energy as your body digests the food. During this chemical cycle, a waste product gets generated that ends either in the bowel or in the blood. The urinary system works hard to clean the blood continuously, thereby producing the urine as a waste by-product.
A very common disease affecting the urinary tract is a urinary tract infection (UTI). UTI is an infection that is localized in the urinary system due to bacteria entering the bladder through the urethra. Often, the microbes can migrate up the ureter and into your kidneys in more serious cases, which is one of the reasons why it’s very important to seek treatment. Upper tract infections are less common but much more severe. Infections of the urinary tract most frequently occur inside the urethra and/or bladder. A bacterium is the most popular culprit that makes you suffer from urinary tract infections, but UTIs were also diagnosed as infections resulting due to fungus and even viruses.
Common Causes of Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
UTIs usually result due to bacteria that have entered your body via the urethra. Though a UTI can develop and affect anyone, women are at a greater risk.
- Bladder UTIs also called Cystitis usually result due to Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria E. The coli can migrate easily from the region around the anus to the urethra opening. Sexual activity, while not always the case, can lead to cystitis. All women are usually at risk of developing the bladder UTI due to the limited gap between the anus, urethral opening, and bladder.
- Urethra UTIs (or urethritis) result when gastrointestinal bacteria enter the urethra from the anus. Women may develop urethritis because of their anatomy due to sexually transmitted infections, such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, and herpes. The bacteria causing these infections are contagious to sexual partners.
- Men with a swollen prostate are vulnerable to the infection.
- People suffering from diabetics and trauma to the spinal cord and people who use urinary catheters frequently are at a higher risk of developing UTI.
- Even more susceptible to UTIs are women who are sexually active, pregnant, use a diaphragm as protection or have gone through menopause.
- People having a weak immune system, blockages in the urinary tract, and urinary tract surgeries are at risk of developing UTI.
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Symptoms of UTI
UTIs are rather painful, and symptoms persist until the infection is treated. Here are some common symptoms of UTI.
- A burning feeling when urinating.
- Feeling the need to urinate regularly or painfully without expelling any urine.
- Cloudy or dark urine.
- Symptoms may include rectal pain in men, and there may be pelvic pain in women.
- Specific upper-tract UTI symptoms include back pain, nausea, fatigue, chills, and vomiting.
- Symptoms of UTIs are readily ignored in infants. Parents are recommended to be aware of any symptoms or irritability, regular and/or painful urination, extreme urine odor, discomfort around the abdominal button, and an irregular day or night wetting. When infants feel burning or pain, they may scream while urinating.
How to Diagnose UTI?
If you find any symptoms or signs of a UTI, contact your doctor. To diagnose a UTI, the doctor may recommend a urine test. A urine test helps the doctor to conduct a sample of urine and to see if any bacteria are present. This culture is critical for recognizing the root cause and choosing the most appropriate treatment plan.
You will need to obtain urine from the center of the urinary stream to ensure that the urine is not polluted during the testing process. This means you must continue using the bathroom and only obtain urine after expelling some into the toilet. This helps the risk of the bacteria entering the sample from your skin and is widely referred to as a safe pick.
Is UTI Contagious?
A UTI is not a sexually transmitted disease (STD) and cannot be transmitted from person to person. However, it may be the infection-causing bacteria that can be responsible for the spread of the ailment. Sexual activities may increase the chances of entry of bacteria into the urinary system. Bacteria from the fingers, genitals, or anus of the other individual can get forced into the urethra and cause an infection of the urinary tract.
It is likely but not recommended that you have intercourse when having a mild UTI (not included by an STD). It is usually recommended that people should wait until they have completely healed from the infection before engaging in sexual intercourse as this increases the risk of bacteria entering the body.
5 Simple Home Remedies for UTI:
While talking to a physician for advice is always a good idea, there are ways to treat the symptoms of a UTI at home.
- Stay hydrated: Water flushes out the bacteria in your bladder and helps to get rid of the infection faster. It also dilutes your urine; thus, it may be less painful to urinate. Diluted urine is lighter in color and is not usually quite irritating.
- Urinate when the need arises or the urge is felt: Frequent urination helps in moving bacteria out of the bladder to eliminate the infection. Holding the urine or not going to the bathroom when you need to gives the bacteria the time to continue its multiplication in the bladder.
- Use the heating pads: Putting low heat across your abdominal area or back may soothe the dull ache that occurs during the bladder infections at times. This can be particularly useful when used along with your medicines.
- Drink cranberry juice: Cranberry juice is among the most well-established natural UTI treatments. The cranberry juice contains, as per review, compounds that may prevent E. coli cells to attach to the urinary tract cells. It also contains antioxidants that have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties including polyphenols.
- Get enough vitamin C: Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps improve the functioning of the immune system. It can inhibit bacterial growth in the urinary tract, as it makes the urine more acidic. Although the intake of vitamin C is usually advised to increase by following a varied diet, it may be recommended to take supplements.
So, take proper care of your health to prevent the risk of falling prey to a urinary tract infection and stay healthy and happy.