A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection that occurs in any part of the urinary system, which includes the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. UTIs are usually caused by bacteria entering the urinary system, although they can also be caused by fungi or viruses. The most common cause of UTIs is the bacterium Escherichia coli (E. coli), which is normally found in the digestive system.
There are several ways in which bacteria can enter the urinary system and cause an infection, including:
- Having a decreased ability to completely empty the bladder
- Having a structural abnormality of the urinary tract
- Using a catheter for a long period of time
- Having a suppressed immune system
- Using certain types of birth control, such as a diaphragm
- Sexual activity: UTIs are more common in women who are sexually active, especially if they use a diaphragm or have multiple sexual partners.
- Poor hygiene: Failing to properly clean the genital area can allow bacteria to enter the urinary system.
- Bladder catheterization: A catheter is a tube that is inserted into the bladder to drain urine. If the catheter is not properly inserted or maintained, bacteria can enter the bladder and cause an infection.
- Structural abnormalities: Certain structural abnormalities in the urinary system, such as a blockage or abnormal narrowing of the urethra, can increase the risk of UTIs.
To prevent UTIs, you can take the following steps:
- Drink plenty of fluids, particularly water, to flush bacteria out of the urinary tract.
- Urinate when you feel the need and try to empty your bladder completely.
- Wipe from front to back after using the bathroom to prevent bacteria from the anus from entering the urethra.
- Avoid using feminine hygiene sprays or perfumed products in the genital area.
- Wear cotton underwear and loose-fitting clothing.
- Drink cranberry juice or take cranberry supplements, which may help to prevent UTIs.
- Drink unsweetened probiotic beverages or take probiotic supplements, as they may help to prevent UTIs.
- Practice good hygiene by regularly washing genital area
- If you have a catheter, it is important to follow the Doctor’s instructions for proper care and maintenance to prevent infections.
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) can cause a variety of symptoms, which may vary depending on the location of the infection in the urinary tract. Common symptoms of a UTI include:
- Pain or burning sensation when urinating
- Frequent urges to urinate, even if only small amounts of urine are produced
- Cloudy, bloody, or strong-smelling urine
- Pelvic pain or pressure in women
- Low fever
- Nausea or vomiting
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to see a Doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment. UTIs can be serious if left untreated, as the infection can spread to the kidneys and cause more serious complications.
If you think you have the above symptoms please get in touch with the Nephrologists at Archana Hospitals for immediate diagnosis and treatment.