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9 Things You Must Know About Urinary Tract Infections by Chelsea Gipson

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A Urinary Tract Infection or commonly known as UTI is defined as an infection of any part of your urinary tract system including your urethra, bladder, ureters and kidneys.   A urinary tract infection is a bacterial infection that can be easily treated with common antibiotics.  Women are more susceptible do to a significantly shorter urethra although men can experience UTI’s as well.

  1. Causes- A Urinary Tract Infection occurs when bacteria enters through the urethra then multiples and infects any part of the urinary system.
  2. Some potential signs and symptoms caused by a UTI include: strong persistent urge to urinate, burning sensation when urinating and passing frequent small amounts of urine.  Cloudy, red or bright pink urine which is a sign of infection and/ or blood in the urine.
  3. Depending on which part of your urinary tract is infected, you can experience some more specific signs and symptoms.
  • Infection in the urethra (urethritis): burning with urination.
  • Infection in the bladder (cystitis): pelvic pressure, lower abdomen discomfort, frequent painful urination and blood in urine.
  • Infection in the kidneys (acute pyelonephritis): upper back and side pain, high fever, shaking and chills, nausea and vomiting.

**Contact your doctor if you’re experiencing any UTI symptoms.

  1. Some common risk factors that may make you more susceptible to UTI’s include being a female, being sexually active, using certain birth controls (diaphragms), completing menopause, having blockage in the urinary tract, having a suppressed immune system and using a catheter to urinate.
  2. Although a UTI treated quickly and efficiently rarely leads to further complications.  A UTI left untreated can have serious consequences including recurrent infection, permanent kidney damage, and increased risk of a woman delivering premature babies.
  3. Testing and receiving a diagnosis is gained by retrieving a urine sample.  In order to keep clear of contamination in the urine sample your doctor may ask you to wipe your genitalia with an antiseptic pad and gather your urine sample midstream.  From there your doctor can test the urine for white blood cells, red blood cells and specific bacteria in order to prescribe the most effective medication.
  4. For an uncomplicated UTI doctors usually prescribe an antibiotic.  The antibiotic differs based on the bacteria causing the infection as well as its severity.  It is important with any antibiotic to take the full dose prescribed.
  5. Some alternative medicine or at home remedies used by some UTI sufferers includes:
  • Cranberry juice.  Although not proven cranberry juice is thought to have some infection- fighting properties.  If choosing this method though be mindful of the high calorie count in cranberry juice.
  • Drink lots of water to dilute urine and flush out bacteria.
  • Avoid drinks that may irritate your bladder like alcohol, coffee, citrus juices and caffeine.
  • Use a heating pad on your abdomen for bladder pressure and pain.
  1. Some steps that can be taken to prevent urinary tract infections include:
  • Drinking lots of water which helps dilute urine and causes frequent urination leaving less chance for infection to occur.
  • Wipe from front to back to decrease chance of spreading bacteria from anal region to vagina or urethra.
  • Empty your bladder shortly after intercourse.
  • Avoid irritating feminine products including perfumes and powders that can agitate the urethra.

If you are experiencing any signs and symptoms listed above make sure to contact your doctor.  UTI’s are easily treated if symptoms are addressed promptly.  In the mean time take proper prevention steps to avoid contracting a urinary tract infection in the future.



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