Facts about urinary tract infections (UTI)

Facts about urinary tract infections (UTI)

22 January 2024

You know the symptoms: the need to pee 24/7 and the burning sensation when you do. Sadly, given how deeply unpleasant urinary tract infections (UTIs) are, they’re very common.

Who is more prone to UTIs? Women. Because of the location of the urethra and also due to the fact that a woman’s urethra is shorter than a man’s, makes women more likely to get UTI infections. Although stats show that 1 in 10 men are at risk of contracting the infection, 1 in 2 women will probably get a urinary tract infection in their lifetime, with many women having repeat infections.

Read more about the sneaky causes of these miserable infections and what you can do to protect yourself.

Despite how common UTIs are, there’s still a lot of misinformation around the causes of a UTI as well as how to prevent and treat them.

A UTI is an infection in any part of your urinary system, which includes your kidneys, bladder, ureters, and urethra. Why does this happen? Normally our body parts run a tight ship in keeping bad bacteria out, but occasionally they make their way in, and once inside you, they multiply, usually in your bladder, causing the symptoms of the infection.

According to the Mayo Clinic, there are many types of bacteria that can cause an infection in your urinary system, but the most common is E. coli, a germ found in faeces and raw meat. The most common types of UTIs occur in the lower part of the system – in the urethra and bladder – and is easily treated.

Should a UTI be taken seriously? Absolutely. If untreated, the infection can spread to your kidneys. When this happens it is called acute pyelonephritis which could potentially lead to complications such as sepsis. James Bond actress Tanya Roberts, age 65, who starred in A View to Kill, died after contracting the infection before it developed into sepsis.

The symptoms include: a burning sensation when urinating, lower back or pelvic pain, feeling like you constantly need to go, an unusual odor when urinating, cloudy or rusty-colored urine. Also as the infection becomes more severe, you’re likely to experience fever, chills and/or nausea or vomiting. However, symptoms may sometimes be so subtle than you may not even realize that you have a UTI.

Here’s what you can do to help prevent a UTI:

  • Urinate when you need to. The longer urine stays in the bladder, the more time bacteria have to grow.
  • Try to urinate before and after sex.
  • Always wipe from front to back.
  • Try to drink 6 to 8 glasses of water per day.
  • Clean the anus and the outer lips of your genitals every day.
  • Do not douche or use feminine hygiene sprays.
  • If you use spermicides, talk to your doctor about using a different form of birth control.
  • Wear underpants with a cotton crotch.
  • Take showers, or limit baths to 30 minutes or less.

Early diagnosis and appropriate treatment are critical to preventing complications and ensuring a smooth recovery.

Bottom line: If you get a UTI, contact your doctor sooner rather than later – only antibiotics will get rid of it.

Source: cosmopolitan.com, womenshealthmag.com, elle.com, womenshealth.gov, mayoclinic.org, glamour.com, webmd.com, healthline.com, oprah.com

DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.

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