Urinary Tract Infection is a disease caused by a bacterial infection in any part of your urinary system. Most commonly, this infection occurs in the urethra and bladder. However in some cases, it may even spread to kidneys.
Women are at a higher risk of contracting UTI as compared to men. In fact, experts believe that 1 in every 2 females contract this disease at least once in their lifetime. But what is it that makes women more susceptible to UTI?
Let’s find out!
Urinary Tract Infections in Women
Women are at higher risk of contracting urinary tract infections than men because bacteria can reach the bladder more easily in women. As compared to men, the urethra (the opening to your urinary tract) is shorter in women, so bacteria have a shorter distance to travel.
Also, the urethra is located near the rectum in women. Hence, bacteria from the rectum can easily travel up the urethra and cause infections. Wiping from back to front increases the chances of bacteria from the rectum entering the urethra. Make sure you wipe from front to back after a bowel movement and 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 the bladder. The urine that stays in the bladder is more likely to grow bacteria and cause infections.
Signs to Watch Out For
Consult a doctor if you experience the following symptoms:
- Urge to urinate again and again
- Pain or burning while urinating
- Smelly urine that may be cloudy, dark or bloody
- Pressure or pain in your lower abdomen or back
In extreme cases, the patient may also experience weakness, fever or chills. This happens usually if the infection has reached the kidneys. Seek expert opinion immediately in such a case.
Pregnant women and those who have diabetes should pay extra heed to the symptoms of UTI. Also, women who suffer from this disease repeatedly should consult with an experienced urologist.
Taking a few simple steps can help you defeat this disease. Your health is also a priority. Give it the importance it deserves.
An urologist or an expert physician can diagnose if you have UTI or not on the basis of your symptoms, along with a physical exam. Testing your urine (urinalysis) can also help your doctor identify what type of infection you have.
Prevention is the Best Cure
- Drink plenty of water
Drinking cranberry juice may also help prevent urinary tract infections. However, if you’re taking warfarin, check with your doctor before using cranberry juice to prevent urinary tract infections. Your doctor may need to adjust your warfarin dose or you may need to have more frequent blood tests.
- Don’t hold your urine
Urinate when you feel like you need to. Some children don’t go to the bathroom often enough. If your child does this, teach him or her to go to the bathroom several times each day.
- Wipe from front to back
After every bowel movement, always remember to wipe from front to back. Teach your child to wipe correctly.
- Remember these during sex
Urinate after having sex to help wash away bacteria. Also, use a lubricant (such as K-Y Jelly) before sex if you’re a little dry.
- Avoid Diaphragms
If you get urinary tract infections often, you may want to avoid using a diaphragm as a birth control method. Ask your doctor about other birth control choices.
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.
For expert guidance, consult an experienced Apollo doctor at Ask Apollo.