If you’re an adult, you must’ve heard about those dreaded UTIs. Though both men and women can get urinary tract infections, they are more commonly found in women. Studies have shown that there are up to 8.1 million cases of UTIs annually. But since the symptoms are not very obvious in the beginning, many of us tend to ignore UTIs till they become slightly more urgent.
Here’s everything you need to know about the symptoms of a urinary tract infection and its causes.
Which part of the body is affected by UTIs?
A UTI can affect any part of your urinary system. Your kidney, ureters, urethra and bladder are all prone to urinary tract infections. But it’s most often found in the bladder and the urethra.
The reason why women are more prone to UTIs than men is that women have a shorter urethra. Hence, the bacteria takes a shorter time to travel and cause an infection.
What causes a UTI?
A UTI occurs when bacteria get into your urinary system. It is usually caused by the E. coli bacteria commonly found in the intestines. While people of any age and gender can get an infection, certain people are more prone to it than others.
People who are sexually active, especially women, are more at risk of contracting a UTI. This is because the friction and constant thrusting can introduce bacteria from the penis and anus into the urethra.
But even if you aren’t sexually active, you can get a UTI. This can be due to being exposed to unhygienic washrooms, following unhygienic habits, or being exposed to an unclean environment.
What are the symptoms of a Urinary Tract Infection?
There are a few symptoms to look out for if you suspect you have a UTI:
- Pain or burning sensation while urinating
- Blood in the urine
- Frequent urge to pee
- Peeing more often in the night than usual
- Pain in the abdomen and pelvic area
- Pain during sex
- High fever and chills
If you face any of these symptoms, be sure to visit your doctor immediately.
How to prevent UTIs
- Increase the intake of fluids – Drink lots of water, especially during a UTI. This will help flush out the bacteria from your system
- Practise clean hygiene – Practising good personal hygiene can prevent the occurrence, and in some cases, the reoccurrence of UTIs. Always wipe from front to back after a bowel movement to avoid any bacteria entering from the anus.
- Change your peeing habits – Regularly emptying your bladder can help with UTIs. Drinking a lot of water will help you with this. Also, make sure that you pee after sex. This will ensure that no bacteria have entered your system. Try to avoid fluids like alcohol that can irritate your bladder.
- Avoid tight clothes – Avoid wearing tight-fitting clothes and switch to cotton underwear. This will help keep you dry and avoid the growth of bacteria in the urethra.
While UTIs may not seem like a big deal, they can actually be quite painful and dangerous. In most cases, infections don’t go beyond the urethra or the bladder, but UTIs can travel up to the kidney if left untreated. If a UTI is not managed, the infection can enter your bloodstream causing sepsis. If you have a high fever and chills, chances that you are either close to sepsis or already there. In this case, a UTI becomes a medical emergency and must be treated immediately to avoid septic shock.
So, to ensure that you don’t land up in the hospital, visit your doctor at the first sign of a UTI.
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