What You Need to Know About Urinary Tract Infections

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What You Need to Know About Urinary Tract Infections

Urinary tract infections, most commonly referred to as UTIs, are infections in any part of the urinary system, including your kidneys, bladder, urethra, and even your ureters. The most common UTIs are in the bladder and the urethra. UTIs are usually described as uncomfortable and annoying as they make it uncomfortable to urinate and give people the constant urge that they have to urinate, even when they don’t. UTIs are not uncommon in people, however, they should be taken seriously and people should know the basics of what a UTI is.

Some people are more prone to bladder infections than others, and some UTIs are more serious than others. In order to prevent, treat, and understand UTIs, it's important that you know the answer to some frequently asked questions. Here is what you need to know about UTIs.

What Are the Symptoms of a Urinary Tract Infection?

UTIs can go undetected for quite a while, or sometimes they can cause irritating, painful, and uncomfortable symptoms. The most common symptoms of a UTI include:

  • A strong, persistent urge to urinate
  • A burning sensation when urinating
  • Passing frequent, small amounts of urine
  • Urine that appears cloudy
  • Urine that appears red, bright pink or cola-colored — a sign of blood in the urine
  • Strong-smelling urine
  • Pelvic pain, in women — especially in the center of the pelvis and around the area of the pubic bone

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should go to a doctor right away in order to get treatment to make the pain/discomfort go away and to stop it before it turns into a kidney infection.

Who and How Can I Get a UTI?

UTIs are caused when bacteria enters the urinary tract through the urethra. Both men and women can get UTIs, however, UTIs are most common in women and it will typically affect her bladder and urethra. However, men over the age of 70 are the second demographic that is at the most risk because they sometimes have trouble emptying their bladders. An expert from a senior living community in NJ said that she has seen this with residents. Likewise, people of all ages can get UTIs.

UTIs can be caused by a number of different things such as:

  • Sexual intercourse, especially if more frequent, intense, and with multiple or new partners
  • Diabetes
  • Poor personal hygiene
  • Problems emptying the bladder completely
  • Having a urinary catheter
  • Bowel incontinence
  • Blocked flow of urine
  • Kidney stones
  • Some forms of contraception
  • Pregnancy
  • Menopause
  • Procedures involving the urinary tract
  • Suppressed immune system
  • Immobility for a long period

How Can I Prevent a UTI?

It’s important to be as proactive as possible when it comes to preventing a UTI. Not only are urinary tract infections painful and uncomfortable, but they can also lead to kidney infections, increased risk of delivering a premature baby, and septicemia (bacteria in the blood). Some easy and precautionary ways you can prevent a UTI include:

  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Urinate often
  • Don't hold it
  • Keep your genital area clean
  • Empty your bladder before and after sex

What are the Treatments?

If you do in fact end up contracting a UTI, don’t worry, there are a handful of simple treatments that you can do before you have to worry about the infection turning into something more serious.

Depending on the severity of your UTI, you may want antibiotics that you can get after going to your doctor. In addition to antibiotics, some treatments include:

  • Drinking plenty of fluids; being hydrated will help you flush out bad bacteria
  • Increase your vitamin C intake; vitamin C will kill bacteria and will help prevent any future UTIs
  • Take a probiotic; this will help your body regulate the good bacteria in your body
  • Drink unsweetened cranberry juice; cranberry juice will get rid of bad bacteria in your body

Understanding UTIs

It’s important that you understand UTI’s. Whether you are suffering from a UTI, or are taking preventative measures against one, it’s best that you understand what is going on in your body. If you think you may have one, call your doctor, and be sure to practice some of the above preventative measures.

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