What is a urinary tract infection?
Urinary tract infection (UTI) refers to inflammation in the urinary tract caused by bacteria, the most common type of infection in the urinary tract. An infection occurs when bacteria reaches the bladder (cystitis) or kidneys, multiplying in the urine. If left untreated, the infection may cause permanent damage to the bladder or kidneys.
Symptoms of urinary tract infections:
There are various symptoms of urinary tract infections, including:
- The feeling of needing to urinate more frequently than usual, but not passing much urine.
- Pain or burning sensation whilst urinating.
- Incontinence, bloody or foul-smelling urine.
- Mild fever, sweating or chills.
- Pain in the sides, abdomen or pelvic area.
What are the causes of urinary tract infections?
There are many factors that increase the probability of a urinary tract infection. Some of these risk factors are:
- A new sexual partner or multiple partners.
- More frequent sexual intercourse.
- Diabetes, kidney stones or any problem that means the bladder does not completely empty.
- Being pregnant increases the risk of infection.
- Waiting too long to urinate.
- Not wiping correctly, for females, who should wipe from the front to the back.
Can urinary tract infections be prevented?
There is no sure way to prevent UTIs, but there are recommendations for reducing the risk of developing an infection:
- Drink 6 to 8 glasses of water every day.
- Eliminate refined items, sugar, alcohol and caffeine.
- Take vitamin C and zinc.
- Urinate before and after sexual intercourse.
- Do not wear tight-fitting trousers.
- Urinate when necessary and empty the bladder completely.
- Wipe correctly after urinating, as detailed above.
What is the treatment for urinary tract infections?
Antibiotics are used to treat urinary tract infections. Your doctor may prescribe a single dose of antibiotics or a course of therapy over several days. It is important to follow your doctor’s instructions, even if the symptoms have gone away, because the infection may return.