Stay Clear of that UTI


Urinary Tract Infections occur when bacteria enter the urinary tract through the urethra. Bacteria then multiplies and can affect the urinary system from the Urinary Tract up to your Bladder.
It is important to notice the signs and symptoms of a UTI. Some Urinary Tract Infections can progress on to more complicated cases, we are discussing symptoms, causes and when to seek further medical guidance.

Why do Women Suffer More?

UTIs affect on average 150 million people worldwide, with one third suffering from a UTI before the age of 24. Urinary tract infections affect both men and women, however, the number of women suffering with the infection before the age of 24 is considerably higher. 1 in 10 girls will have a Urinary Tract Infection before the age of 16, the reason behind this is that girls have a considerably shorter Urethra than boys. Due to a woman’s anatomy, bacteria have a considerably shorter distance to travel within a woman, making her chances of a UTI higher. The number of women likely to get an UTI in their life time currently stands at 40%, with men coming in at 12% over their life time. How can you avoid Urinary Tract Infections and what can you do to ease the symptoms?

Stay Hydrated

UTIs are sometimes related to the frequency of urination and the PH balance of urine. If you body is dehydrated you will not urinate as frequently as you should. Urination is vital in the process of expelling bacteria and unwanted waste from your body. The less you urinate, the more bacteria will gather. This could be the cause of frequent UTIs and Bladder irritation. It is recommended that adults drink 8, 8 ounce glasses of water per day in order to stay hydrated and promote a healthy urinary system. If you suffer from recurrent Urinary Tract Infections it may be worth addressing your fluid intake before looking into further invasive investigations.
Cranberry juice is often linked to a healthy urinary system, however, there isn’t sufficient evidence to prove this as of yet. Cranberry juice contains antioxidants, the main one being A-type proanthocyanins or (PAC) This active ingredient has been known to prevent certain bacteria, especially E-Coli. Due to the prevention of E-Coli, this bacterium cannot attach itself to the bladder wall therefore preventing further potential infection. Although Cranberry juice can be used for UTI prevention, there is no evidence that it can be used as a treatment for a current UTI.

Will Your Period Affect UTIs?

Feminine hygiene is the key focus of girls between the ages of 10 and 16 as around these years is when a girl will receive her first menstrual cycle. During a female’s period it may be preferable to use tampons as they keep the area around the Urethra dry and blood does not gather, this will lower the sick of UTIs while on your menstrual cycle.
There have been links to UTIs occurring when you are on your monthly cycle. A reason put forward for this is the low amounts of Estrogen present when on your monthly cycle. Estrogen is an anti-inflammatory, therefor if you are affected by a UTI while on your period the inflammation will be difficult to reduce due to low number of hormones.
Some feminine hygiene products are treated with perfume in order to promote cleanliness and make you feel more comfortable during your period. However, perfumed products can be an irritant, especially when suffering from a UTI. Using non-perfumed products and low PH soaps while faced with a Urinary Tract Infection is highly recommended to reduce inflammation and irritation.

Sex and The UTI

90% of Urinary Tract Infections are linked to bacteria, highlighting the connection between intercourse and UTIs. Unprotected sex will put you at risk of STIs, however, Urinary Tract Infections are also a possibility.
Frequent sex whether protected or unprotected can cause bacteria to transfer into the Urethra, this causes inflammation and irritation and can lead to an infection of the bladder. The best way to protect yourself from UTIs when sexually active is to ensure you void after intercourse. By passing urine after sex you are expelling any bacteria from the urinary tract preventing future infection.
There may also be a link between the form of protection you are using. If you are allergic to a certain type of spermicide, or latex found within condoms, this may cause irritation of the area around the urethra. Spermicide, diaphragms and lubricated condoms all promote bacteria growth. Should infections persist after urination, look into the form of contraception you use.

How do I Know it’s a UTI?

The symptoms of a Urinary Tract Infection are easy to spot although very irritating. Should you have any of the following symptoms we recommend contacting your GP;

  • A burning sensation when you urinate
  • Frequent urge to urinate, not fully being able to relieve yourself
  • Pain or a sense of pressure in the lower back
  • Pain in lower abdomen
  • Cloudy/Dark urine
  • Strong smelling urine
  • Feeling fatigued and generally unwell
  • Fever or chills
  • Pink colour to your urine

If left untreated UTIs can lead to kidney infections which is referred to as an upper urinary tract infection. Kidney infections are a cause for concern and symptoms may be worse than a regular UTI. If a patient is suffering with a kidney infection, they will often require doctor attention and antibiotics. Symptoms of a kidney infection although similar to those of a UTI are painful;

  • High temperature
  • Fever or chills
  • Severe pain in side or back
  • Confusion
  • Agitation and restlessness
  • Feeling or being sick

If left untreated a kidney infection can be serious as the infection can cause damage to the kidneys or even spread to the bloodstream causing serious health problems such a Sepsis. Thus if initial self-help steps have not worked you may need an antibiotic after speaking with a trained clinician.

What can You do?

By following the steps within this article, you will be able to prevent Urinary Tract Infections and the discomfort that comes along with them. Should you suffer from recurrent UTIs, we recommend implementing these easy to follow steps. Should you still suffer from UTIs after applying the tips and advice, it is recommended you contact a regulated GP for further advice and treatments.
alldayDr clinicians can provide help and support when you need it most. Urinary Tract Infections are often very uncomfortable and may leave you feeling as though you cannot leave the house. With alldayDr you can see a doctor through a Skype style video-consultation from the comfort of your own home and receive medication straight to your door all with the click of a button.

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