Have you ever rushed to the restroom with a burning sensation to pee?
Gotten there to experience excruciating pain while passing (almost little to non-existent) amounts of urine?
As well as hurrying back there in a few moments because of that same sensation (even though your bladder feels almost empty)?
These telltale troubling signs, as you may already suspect, are evidence that an unwelcome infection is starting to make itself comfortable in your body – the infamous urinary tract infection (UTI).
Intruder 101: What is a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)?
An infection in any part of your urinary system (we’re talking about your kidneys, ureters, bladders, and urethra) can fall under the bracket of a urinary tract infection. Most UTIs, however, typically are present in the lower urinary tract (the bladder and urethra).
These infections occur in the urinary tract when bacteria enter through it, push past the natural defences of the body, and multiply in the bladder. When this happens, the bacteria take on a stronger hold and develop into a full-blown urinary tract infection.
While most of these infections disappear on their own and without medical intervention, some persistent bacterial strains might stick around and, in the worst-case scenarios, might have the tendency to spread to your kidneys with severe consequences.
Therefore, it is important to keep your eyes peeled for any symptoms that might give you the feeling that a UTI has joined the party downstairs.
Here’s how you can tell:
Modus Operandi: UTI Symptoms To Look Out For
Some UTIs are skilled in deception; they sneak up on you silently and then wreak havoc. Others announce their presence in a range of ways:
- A strong and unrelenting urge to urinate
- A burning sensation while urinating
- Passing small amounts of urine in frequent intervals
- Cloudy-looking urine
- The presence of blood in the urine
- Strong-smelling urine
- Occasional pelvic pain
Even if you feel you may not have a UTI or you think it could be a mild case, it’s always better to keep your medical practitioner updated with your developments.
While these microscopic menaces might be the prime suspect behind your uneasiness, what else can enable them?
Known Accomplices: Who/what spurs UTIs along?
Individuals with vaginas who are more sexually active tend to have more UTIs than those who aren’t sexually active. In addition, having new sexual partners may also increase your risk of getting a UTI infection.
Some types of birth control may lower the pH value of the vagina/urethra, giving bacteria a stronger hold. Those individuals who use diaphragms or spermicidal agents are also at higher risk.
A drop in oestrogen that circulates causes changes in the urinary tract – this can make you more susceptible towards infections.
Individuals with vaginas are at a greater risk of developing UTIs (as the distance between the anus and the urethra is shorter for bacteria to travel).
Urinary Tract Abnormalities / Blockages in the UT
Kidney stones or an enlarged prostate can keep urine contained and increase the UTI risk.
Suppressed Immune System
Conditions like diabetes and other diseases may bring about a compromised immune system and lower the body’s defence against germs.
Now, since you’ve realised that it is, in fact, a UTI that is plaguing your body, how can you prevent it from creating further trouble?
Agents Enlisted To Capture/Eliminate: UTI Prevention Methods
Even though antibiotics are one way to curb this infection (if it gets out of hand), other measures can also do the trick for milder UTIs.
- Drink plenty of water: This helps dilute your urine, ensures you urinate more frequently, and flushes the bacteria from your urinary tract.
- Wipe from front to back: After urinating and bowel movements, always wipe this way to prevent anus bacteria from spreading to your vagina and urethra.
- Pee after sex: This flushes out any remaining bacteria.
- Avoid irritating feminine products: Anything that is scented, requires you to spray it on, and is loaded with chemicals, is a potentially bad choice for your intimate areas.
- Look into your birth control (if you are using one): Changing this might just do the trick!
UTIs are most certainly a nagging condition, but if spotted well in advance and dealt with immediately, they can disappear in no time at all. If you have UTI tips and tricks, write to us – we’d love to hear them!