Everyone, at least once has experienced a urine infection in their lifetime, but for many women the intensity and the recurrence of urinary tract infection is nothing less than a nightmare. Did you know, even researchers have discovered a super drug against very resistant UTI bacteria and named it “nightmare bacteria”. Read on to know all about UTI and how to effectively deal and prevent yourself from strong UTI infections.
UTI & what causes it?
A Urinary Tract Infection or UTI, as it is commonly known, is an infection of the urinary tract caused by bacteria and symptomized with burning sensation while urinating, pain, discomfort, foul smell, discharge and sometimes even fever. The most common sites that get infected are the Urethra (tube that helps in removing urine) and Urinary Bladder and the condition is known as Cystitis. In rare cases, if left untreated, the infection might progress to your Kidneys leading to a serious medical condition known as Pyelonephritis.
In 80-85% of the cases, UTIs are caused by colonies of bacteria called Escherichia coli (E. coli) that enter the urinary tract via the urethra. It can also be caused by a broader range of bacteria and fungi, but their occurrence is quite rare.
To be noted, E. coli is normally found in the gut and usually does not cause any problem until they make their way into the urinary tract and multiply uncontrollably.
Who are at a risk of getting it?
Chances are, if you are a woman, you might have already experienced an UTI at some point and will relate to this condition. Here, we explain you why?
In females, due to the shortness of the urethra and the anatomical closeness between the urethra and anus, there is an increased chance of the E. coli from the anus migrating to the urethra via the perineal skin. This puts women at an increased risk of contamination and infection when compared to men.
Both men & women having unprotected sexual intercourse
Unprotected sexual intercourse is known to be a major cause of UTIs among sexually active women & men. A direct correlation between the frequency of intercourse and risk of UTI has been established. Especially in women, some doctors refer it as honeymoon cystitis because of its normal occurrence. Use of condoms, is known to decrease the risk of infections & STDs to manifolds, however, 100 percent surety is not guaranteed. Women and men are advised not to have unprotected sex with known infections. There is a high chance, it will transmit and reoccur in both the partners.
Both men & women with poor hygiene
This may be sounding blunt and unapologetic but research claims that not washing respective genital areas along with not changing undergarments daily, can lead to excessive unwanted bacteria build up in that region resulting in infection.
People susceptible to recurrent infections are also recommended to dip their garments in anti-bacterial liquids/solutions for complete eradication of infections. Additionally, using unhygienic public toilets and getting in contact with infected toiletries can also lead to contraction & spread of the infection.
It could be yours’ or your partner’s negligence which is giving you this infection recurrently. So, make sure you keep that area clean, however, doctors advise not to overdo it, as excessive douching or cleaning also disturbs the pH & the natural environment. Please ensure that you are using clinically proven hygiene products rather than normal soaps and harsh chemicals.
Women after menopause may experience recurrent drop in estrogen level causing a change in normal vaginal flora and depletion of the protective vaginal lactobacilli which is found to increase the risk of UTIs.
Stagnation of urine in bladder
Delaying or holding in your urine over an extended period of time due to infrequent urination or due to a condition that causes incomplete bladder emptying results in urine retention in the bladder and ureters which has been associated with an increased risk of UTI.
Increased Progesterone levels during pregnancy causes a reduction in muscle tone which might increase the likelihood of reverse urine flow from the bladder to the kidneys. However, this is rare.
How to deal with UTI effectively
- Drink a lot of water/ fluids; minimum 3-4 litres in a day and flush out excess bacteria.
- If the above does not help, you may require immediate anti-bacterial intervention medically.
- Don’t take antibiotics or pain killers without asking the doctor.
- Wear hygienic cotton under garments (change twice, if required).
- Cranberry juice, pineapple and citrus juices are highly beneficial to control and flush out UTI infections.
- Women during their menstruation should take extra care in changing sanitary napkins frequently to avoid and prevent potent UTI infections
If any symptom still persists, see a doctor without any hesitation. You may require a Urine Culture to ascertain which type of bacteria is responsible for causing the infection so that specific antibiotic can be given to eradicate the infection completely and prevent it from coming back again and again.