Urinary tract infections are a result of microbes like bacteria, virus and fungi. They can happen in your urinary tract, which consists of the urethra, kidney, bladders, and ureters. The infection is common these days in both men and women. Thankfully, it is not a life-threatening disease.
In this article today, we will get the basic knowledge of what is urinary tract infection. We’ll discuss how the condition is more common in women.
Plus, we’ll let you know the urinary tract infection symptoms, causes, and what to do for treatment of UTIs. You will also be able to understand how to prevent the infection in the first place and never face this trouble.
Urinary Tract Infection in Women
Women have a greater chance of having urinary tract infection. The core reason behind this is that they have a shorter urethra. This tube is closer to the anus where the E Coli bacteria is commonly found.
In case you aren’t aware, the urethra is the tube that helps urine pass out of your body.
Also, urinary tract infection is more common in females going through the menopause stage. So, elderly women must take charge of the health of their urinary tract.
What Is the Urinary Tract?
As mentioned in brief above, the urinary tract includes your bladder, urethra, kidneys and the ureters. This tract is what is responsible for creating, storing and passing out the liquid waste of the body.
Let’s understand its parts a bit better.
This part of your body is the sac that stores the liquid waste i.e., urine which is created before you pass it out of the body.
This is a small tube that helps pass out the liquid waste stored in the bladder.
These parts of your body help collect the waste along with unused water from your blood by filtering it. The filtered waste i.e., urine is then carried out to the bladder for storage.
The tubes that help the urine travel from the kidneys to the storage area i.e., the bladder are known as ureters.
Infections in all these parts are possible due to bacteria, fungi or viruses. When it is the kidneys that are affected, the condition is called Pyelonephritis. In case the urethra is infected, it is called Urethritis. And if the bladder is infected, it is called Cystitis.
An infection is possible in the vagina as well, which is another type of urinary tract infection known as Vaginitis.
Urinary Tract Infection Symptoms
So, how do you know you have a urinary tract infection? Well, one of the most common urinary tract infection symptoms in women is pelvic pain.
Others questions you need to ask are:
Q: Do you have urine leakage and a frequent or urgent need to urinate?
Q: Is your urine of an abnormal colour?
Q: Does your urine have an extremely foul smell?
Q: Do you have Dysuria? This condition is when you feel terrible pain when urinating. Maybe a burning sensation.
Q: Is there any blood in your urine?
Q: Do you feel some pressure in the lower pelvic area?
Q: Do you feel pain during intercourse?
Q: Do you feel fatigued most of the time?
Q: Are there any mental changes you observed?
Q: Do vomiting and a constant feeling of nausea trouble you?
Now you know what are the symptoms of urinary tract infection. If the answer to some of these questions is yes, it is time to check with a doctor immediately.
However, before that have a look at the reasons for urinary tract infection in females.
What Causes Urinary Tract Infection in Women?
One of the most common urinary tract infections is bacteria. Virus and fungi are quite rare. These microorganisms enter through the urethra and infect the urinary tract.
In a few cases (pretty rare) the microbes can travel through the bloodstream too. Several factors affect it.
Risk factors that may lead to urinary tract infection in women
Catheters are one of the causes of urinary tract infection. People who cannot empty their bladder naturally are the ones who use these devices.
These are mostly older people which is why UTIs are common in them. The longer the catheters are in use, the easier it is for bacteria to enter your urinary tract. Some people call the resulting UTI a catheter associated urinary tract infection.
This disease is another one of the reasons for urinary tract infection. It makes the body’s immunity weak. Thus, making it more vulnerable to all sorts of illnesses, including those of the urinary tract.
Any kind of blockages in the urinary tract like kidney stones, any cancers formed or an enlarged prostate can lead to infections as well.
As the years go by, the vaginal tissue in women keeps thinning. Thus, making it easier for bacteria to attack.
Additionally, older people usually have lower immunity. Plus, there is a change in hormones as well, which affects the bacteria around the vagina. Overall, age can make you more prone to infections.
Surgery of some kind (for example an organ transplant) makes you more vulnerable to microbes too.
Urinary Tract Infection Diagnosis
The diagnosis of urinary tract infections begins with the doctor asking you about the symptoms. Once the doctor understands your condition, she will ask you for a urine sample. The laboratory then tests this sample for the presence of bacteria, virus or fungi.
The doctor will ask you to get a clean catch sample which is one taken from the middle of the urinary stream. A clean catch means you do not get any bacteria from the skin that is there at the beginning of the stream.
The medics also check the white blood cells of your urine for infection. Patients often ask what lab tests for urinary tract infection. The test is called urine culture. It not only identifies the microbes that induce the infection but also their cause.
Once the cause is known, the doctor will recommend the proper treatment for the infection. In some cases, the process of diagnosis will continue with more tests.
For example, if the upper urinary tract is infected, a blood culture test may be required to see if the infection hasn't spread in other regions of the body.
If the urinary tract infections are recurrent, you might need to undergo ultrasounds.
Doctors may also perform an intravenous pyelogram to take an X-ray of your abdomen. Additionally, they may perform a Cystoscopy to check inside your bladder and then take tissue from there to test. Or they may get a CT scan to take detailed images of your urinary tract.
How to Cure Urinary Tract Infection?
After the diagnosis, the next question that concerns every patient is how to treat urinary tract infection. Well, there are various ways your doctor may tell you.
The best and most common treatment used is antibiotics. That’s because antibiotics are great at killing bacteria. According to the type of urinary tract infection you have, you will be getting oral or intravenous antibiotics.
Some most effective antibiotics for urinary tract infection treatment are:
Wondering which antibiotic is best for urinary tract infection? It is best to ask this question about antibiotics to your doctors. Make sure you do not consume any of these antibiotics in any dosage unless you consult your doctors before. They will give you the right one according to the severity and type of your infection.
You must also know that the treatment for urinary tract infection with the use of antibiotics is usually done within one week's time.
Home Remedies for Urinary Tract Infection
So, how to treat urinary tract infection at home? Well, unfortunately, there are not many home remedies for UTIs.
However, there are a few which are known to be effective. A few changes in your diet can help you get the most benefits out of them.
The following remedies will also give you an idea of what foods are good to eat when you have a urinary tract infection.
Drinking more water:
Experts suggest this to encourage more urination. Although, we know it can be painful, yet if done, it can help you treat faster. That’s because the more you urinate, the more chances the body gets to flush out infection-causing bacteria.
Consuming cranberry juice:
Cranberry is known for relieving patients from Urinary tract infections faster. Although there aren't a lot of studies about this, experts say that cranberry extract can stop the bacteria from getting attached to the walls of any part of the urinary tract. In the form of juice, it will also promote urination which makes the treatment much more efficient.
Increasing Vitamin C in your diet:
Vitamin C is famous for strengthening your immune system. Since low immunity levels make it difficult for your body to fight infection-causing microorganisms, a boost in immunity will make you a capable warrior against them.
Probiotics are known for the good bacteria they have. When you consume them, you allow your body to replace the unhealthy bacteria with good bacteria which eventually helps get rid of the infection. Probiotics are great for overall immunity too.
How to Prevent Urinary Tract Infection?
If you have the opportunity, it’s best to consider prevention rather than depending on the treatment of urinary tract infection.
Thankfully, it is not rocket science. All you need to do is drink more water, consume more vitamin c, cranberries, and probiotics.
Also, make sure you never hold your urine for too long. When your bladder feels full, empty it as soon as possible, so that no bad bacteria gets the opportunity to infect your urinary tract.
That was everything about urinary tract infection you must know. Elders should make sure they understand this infection, the symptoms, treatment, and prevention, so as to prevent the trouble that comes with the issue.
If you have an elder at home, make them aware of this. They might be suffering from urinary tract infections or may be more susceptible.
Get the elders the support they need. It can be as simple as finding a trusted and experienced doctor. You can try the Emoha app.
Not only does the app help you find the best doctors without any fuss at the right time, but it is also great for emergency purposes that elders might face at any moment.
Additionally, elders can take advantage of MOH TV as well. This facility is a way through which we at Emoha connect with elders and make them more aware of such infections and diseases that not many people talk about publicly.
Plus, we organize a lot of fun activities for elders, to help them stay stress-free and heal faster from all sorts of diseases they might have.
Get to know more on our website or call at the toll-free number 1800-123-44-5555, today!