Risk Factors For Urinary Tract Infections
And now a brief note about reproductive parts: Although people with penises do get UTIs, people with vaginas are more at risk. It all boils down to the anatomy, Minkin says.
Bacteria that cause UTIs often make their way from the back door to the front and then up the urethra to wreak havoc on the urinary system.
Because the male reproductive system has a longer urethra than the female reproductive system, the bacteria have farther to travel, which makes it more difficult for a UTI to develop.
But regardless of anatomy, once youve had one UTI, youre more likely to get another, especially if you have a vagina. Hickling DR, et al. . Management of recurrent urinary tract infections in healthy adult women.
Are There Home Remedies For A Urinary Tract Infection
There are a variety of self-care measures and other treatments available for urinary tract infections.
- Use a hot-water bottle to ease the pain.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Avoid coffee, alcohol, and spicy foods, all of which irritate the bladder.
- There are some indications that cranberry juice can help fight a urinary tract infection.
Because the symptoms of a urinary tract infection mimic those of other conditions, someone should see a health care professional if a urinary tract infection is suspected. A urine test is needed to confirm an infection. Self-care is not recommended.
How Are Urinary Tract Infections Treated
Your health care provider will figure out the best treatment based on:
- How old you are
Treatment for UTIs may include:
- Other medications to ease pain
- Heat to ease pain
You may also need to make lifestyle changes such as:
- Drinking plenty of water to help wash bacteria out of the urinary tract
- Avoiding coffee, alcohol, and spicy foods
- Quitting smoking
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What Are Other Possible Causes Of Painful Urination
A painful burning feeling when you urinate is often a sign of a urinary tract infection . However, painful urination can occur even if you dont have an infection. Certain drugs, like some used in cancer chemotherapy, may inflame the bladder. Something pressing against the bladder or a kidney stone stuck near the entrance to the bladder can also cause painful urination.
Painful urination can also be caused by vaginal infection or irritation. You might be sensitive to chemicals in products such as douches, vaginal lubricants, soaps, scented toilet paper, or contraceptive foams or sponges. If it hurts to urinate after youve used these products, youre probably sensitive to them.
Living With Urinary Tract Infections
If you have 3 or more urinary tract infections each year, your doctor may want you to begin a preventive antibiotic program. A small dose of an antibiotic taken every day helps to reduce the number of infections. If sexual intercourse seems to cause infections for you, your doctor many suggest taking the antibiotic after intercourse.
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Apple Cider Vinegar For Utis
Apple cider vinegar is widely known and used for its amazing health benefits, and its a natural remedy for UTIs, too. Its acidifying nature is great at clearing UTIs, and it helps prevent bacteria from spreading, stopping the infection before it reaches the kidneys. Try Braggs organic raw apple cider vinegar. Its gluten-free and contains Mother of Vinegar, a healthy bacteria that occurs naturally as strand-like enzymes of connected protein molecules. Its also loaded with vitamins and prebiotics, which relieve and prevent UTIs.
A version of this article first appeared in our print magazine.
What Is A Bladder Infection
A bladder infection is a common condition with upwards of 30% of women experiencing it at least once throughout in their life.
The medical name for bladder infection is Cystitis and it appears when Escherichia coli bacteria enter and travel up the urethra, infect the urine and inflame the internal bladder lining. E. coli is found primarily in the bowel, and lesser so, in the vagina and on the skin between the anus and the vagina . Although fairly sedate in its natural environment of the bowel, E. coli bacteria thrives in urines acidic state.
Bladder infections almost always present after a bacterial infection in the urine. It is the most common type of urinary tract infection , with women being much more prone than men. The onset age is around 40 years, although many women are diagnosed in their 30s.
A womans shorter urethra allows the bacteria to reach the bladder quickly. Additionally, the close proximity of the urethral, vaginal and anal openings make it easy for bacteria to be transferred.
Most women will experience a bladder infection at least once in their lives. While it is painful and annoying, its not dangerous or contagious, and cant be passed on to your partner during sex.
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About The Urinary Tract
The urinary tract is where our bodies make and get rid of urine. It’s made up of:
- the kidneys two bean-shaped organs, about the size of your fists, that make urine out of waste materials from the blood
- the ureters tubes that run from the kidney to the bladder
- the bladder where urine is stored until we go to the toilet
- the urethra the tube from the bladder through which urine leaves the body
Factors That Affect Your Immune System
The bodys immune system is an intricate system thats made up of different organs, cells, and proteins to fight off foreign invaders like bacteria, fungi, viruses, and toxins. Due to the delicacy of this system, the decisions that you make on a daily basis have a tremendous impact on its efficiency. Those who live a healthy lifestyle, get plenty of exercise, and avoid toxins tend to have much stronger immune systems than those who eat a diet filled with processed foods and live sedentary lifestyles. Some of the primary factors affecting the immune system include:
Strengthening your immune system is possible, regardless of your age or previous illnesses. By making a few strategic lifestyle changes, youll be more prepared to fight infection without reliance on antibiotics or other medications. One of the best ways to achieve this is to eat foods that are known to boost your immune system. This includes whole fruits and vegetables, especially those that are rich in antioxidants. Avoid processed foods as much as possible and limit your alcohol consumption throughout the week. In conjunction with a healthy diet, talk to your doctor about adding a vitamin C supplement and/or cranberry supplements. Vitamin C can help fight infection and repair damage while cranberry is known for supporting a healthy urinary tract.
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Urinary Tract Infection Treatment
If you are a healthy adult man or a woman who is not pregnant, a few days of antibiotic pills will usually cure your urinary tract infection. If you are pregnant, your doctor will prescribe a medicine that is safe for you and the baby. Usually, symptoms of the infection go away 1 to 2 days after you start taking the medicine. Its important that you follow your doctors instructions for taking the medicine, even if you start to feel better. Skipping pills could make the treatment less effective.
Your doctor may also suggest a medicine to numb your urinary tract and make you feel better while the antibiotic starts to work. The medicine makes your urine turn bright orange, so dont be alarmed by the color when you urinate.
Urine Infection In Men
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Most urine infections are caused by germs which come from your own bowel. They cause no harm in your bowel but can cause infection if they get into other parts of your body. Some bacteria lie around your back passage after you pass a stool . These bacteria sometimes travel to the tube which passes urine from your bladder and into your bladder. Some bacteria thrive in urine and multiply quickly to cause infection.
A urine infection is often called a urinary tract infection by doctors. When the infection is just in the bladder and urethra, this is called a lower UTI. If it travels up to affect one or both kidneys as well then it is called an upper UTI. This can be more serious than lower UTIs, as the kidneys can become damaged by the infection.
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In other cases the infection occurs for no apparent reason. There is no problem with the bladder, kidney, prostate gland, or defence system that can be identified.
In the average adult patient there should be a urine output of: 0.5-1 ml/kg/hr. This means that an average 70 kg man should produce 35-70 mls an hour.
Urine output decreases in older patients and the target urine output should be 0.25-0.5 ml/kg/hr. This means that a 70 kg man who is aged over 65 years should produce 17.5-35mls per hour.
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Risk Factors For A Kidney Infection
There are a few things that can up your risk factor of contracting a kidney infection, according to the Mayo Clinic, and some you have zero control over:
Having avagina. The urethra, that small tube that carries urine out of your body, is shorter in people with vaginas than it is in people with penises. That makes it easier for bacteria to travel from outside your body into the bladder. Your urethra is also close to your vagina and anus, which opens you up to more chances that bacteria from one of those areas will get into your urinary tract.
Having something blocking your urinary tract. That can be anything that slows down the flow of urine or makes it hard for you to fully empty your bladder when you pee, like a kidney stone.
Other potential risk factors include having damage to the nerves around your bladder, using a urinary catheter for the first time, and having a condition like vesicoureteral reflux, which causes urine to flow the wrong way, the Mayo Clinic says.
What Is The Treatment Of A Urine Infection
- A course of an antibiotic medicine will usually clear the infection quickly. This is usually for seven days. You should see a doctor if your symptoms are not gone, or nearly gone, after a few days.
- Paracetamol or ibuprofen will usually ease any pain, discomfort, or high temperature .
- Have plenty to drink to help prevent a lack of fluid in the body if you have a fever and feel unwell.
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Seek Medical Attention For Utis
It is important to seek medical attention if you think you may have a UTI particularly if you think you may have a bladder or kidney infection, both of which are very serious conditions. Early treatment of urinary infection can help to prevent infection spreading to the bladder or kidneys.
Your doctor will test your urine to check which micro-organism is present. Urinary tract infections usually respond quickly and well to antibiotics.
Signs Of A Kidney Infection
What does a kidney infection feel like? According to the NIDDK, the most common kidney infections symptoms are:
But depending on a persons age, they may not experience all of these kidney infection symptoms. Children younger than two may only experience high fever as a sign of kidney infections, the NIDDK says, and people older than 65 might only present with cognitive issues, like confusion, hallucinations, and disorganized speech.
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Why Do Women Get Urinary Tract Infections More Often Than Men
Women tend to get urinary tract infections more often than men because bacteria can reach the bladder more easily in women. The urethra is shorter in women than in men, so bacteria have a shorter distance to travel.
The urethra is located near the rectum in women. Bacteria from the rectum can easily travel up the urethra and cause infections. Bacteria from the rectum is more likely to get into the urethra if you wipe from back to front after a bowel movement. Be sure to teach children how to wipe correctly.
Having sex may also cause urinary tract infections in women because bacteria can be pushed into the urethra. Using a diaphragm can lead to infections because diaphragms push against the urethra and make it harder to completely empty your bladder. The urine that stays in the bladder is more likely to grow bacteria and cause infections.
Frequent urinary tract infections may be caused by changes in the bacteria in the vagina. Antibacterial vaginal douches, spermicides, and certain oral antibiotics may cause changes in vaginal bacteria. Avoid using these items, if possible. Menopause can also cause changes in vaginal bacteria that increase your risk for urinary tract infection. Taking estrogen usually corrects this problem but may not be for everyone.
You Wipe From Back To Front
Wiping from back to front can transport E. coli, the bacteria thats behind most UTIs, from the rectal region to the urethra. Moral of the story: Always wipe from front to back. Al-Badr A, et al. . Recurrent urinary tract infections management in women: A review.
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Medical Treatment Of Urinary Tract Infections
Because urinary tract infections are most often bacterial, they can be treated with antibiotics. As a guideline, antibiotic treatment for UTIs is usually split into two categories:
- Uncomplicated UTI, which is an infection that occurs in an otherwise healthy person with normal kidney function
- Complicated UTI, which usually occurs in people who have a medical or anatomical predisposition to urinary tract infections or treatment failure
The type of antibiotic used and the length of treatment differs, depending on the severity of the infection and medical history of the person with the condition. Symptoms from uncomplicated UTIs usually clear within three days of antibiotic treatment, whereas people with a complicated UTI may require antibiotics for up to two weeks.
Whatever the cause, it is important to complete the entire course of antibiotics prescribed in full, even if symptoms appear to have cleared. This can help to prevent antibiotic resistance developing.
In the rare cases where a urinary tract infection is caused by a virus or fungi, this can be treated with antiviral or antifungal medication respectively.
Causes Of Kidney Infection
A kidney infection usually happens when bacteria, often a type called E. coli, get into the tube that carries urine out of your body .
The bacteria travel up to your bladder, causing cystitis, and then up into your kidneys.
E. coli bacteria normally live in your bowel, where they cause no harm.
They can be transferred from your bottom to your genitals during sex or if you’re not careful when wiping your bottom after going to the loo.
A kidney infection can sometimes develop without a bladder infection. For example, if you have a problem with your kidney, such as kidney stones, or if you have diabetes or a weakened immune system.
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What Are The Signs Of A Bladder Infection
Reviewed by our clinical team
A bladder infection is a common condition normally caused by the growth of bacteria in the urinary tract. It typically causes mild urinary symptoms that pass on their own within a few days, however it can sometimes spread to the kidneys causing more serious symptoms. A bladder infection falls under the category of a UTI and is also known as cystitis. You may also hear it referred to as a water infection.
Kidney Infection Vs Urinary Tract Infection
If left untreated, UTI symptoms can get worse and the problem can progress from a urinary tract infection to a kidney infection and as the infection progresses, so do the symptoms.Aches and pains in the back, fever and chills, nausea and vomiting, and sometimes even confusion are all signs that a UTI has advanced to a kidney infection.1 Your body is saying, Hey! Im serious! I need some attention!
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Top Tips To Prevent Further Bladder Infections
When you chat with you doctor, he may suggest you make a few lifestyle changes including:
- Drink plenty of fluids
- Reduce your intake of alcohol, tea and coffee as these can all irritate the bladder
- Take urinary alkalinisers
- Take mild painkillers for pain relief
- Avoid eating any foods that can irritate the bladder while the infection is present, including foods with high acid content and amino acids
- Drink cranberry juice everyday
Uncommon Symptoms Of A Urinary Tract Infection You Should Know
About 40% of women develop at least one urinary tract infection in their lifetime. Having one UTI over the span of decades doesnt sound too bad, but not all women are that lucky.
Its estimated that 20-30% of women will have a second UTI within 3-4 months. And for 11% of women, UTIs become an ongoing problem, recurring at least once every year and often more frequently.
UTIs typically cause a specific cluster of symptoms: a strong need to urinate, frequent urination, burning when you urinate, and passing small amounts of urine. Women receive comprehensive care for UTIs at Fred A. Williams, MD, so call the office in Paris, Texas, if you experience any of those symptoms.
Were also available to answer your questions if you develop one or more of these three uncommon symptoms of a UTI.
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