Practicing Good Sexual Hygiene
Did You Know? Both men and women can contract UTIs, but you’re 30 times more likely to have a UTI if you’re female than if you’re male.XTrustworthy SourcePubMed CentralJournal archive from the U.S. National Institutes of HealthGo to source
What Is A Urinary Tract Infection
A urinary tract infection is an infection of the urinary system. This type of infection can involve your urethra , kidneys or bladder, .
Your urine typically doesnt contain bacteria . Urine is a byproduct of our filtration systemthe kidneys. When waste products and excess water is removed from your blood by the kidneys, urine is created. Normally, urine moves through your urinary system without any contamination. However, bacteria can get into the urinary system from outside of the body, causing problems like infection and inflammation. This is a urinary tract infection .
What Are The Symptoms Of A Urinary Tract Infection
These are the most common symptoms of a UTI:
- Frequent urination
- Pain or burning when passing urine
- Urine looks dark, cloudy, or reddish in color
- Urine smells bad
- Feeling pain even when not urinating
- Pain in the back or side, below the ribs
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Despite an strong urge to urinate, only a small amount of urine is passed
- Women may feel an uncomfortable pressure above the pubic bone
The symptoms of UTI may look like other conditions or medical problems. Always see a health care provider for a diagnosis.
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How Is A Uti Diagnosed
To find out whether you have a UTI, your doctor or nurse will test a clean sample of your urine. This means you will first wipe your genital area with a special wipe. Then you will collect your urine in midstream in a cup. Your doctor or nurse may then test your urine for bacteria to see whether you have a UTI, which can take a few days.
If you have had a UTI before, your doctor may order more tests to rule out other problems. These tests may include:
- A cystogram. This is a special type of x-ray of your urinary tract. These x-rays can show any problems, including swelling or kidney stones.
- A cystoscopic exam. The cystoscope is a small tube the doctor puts into the urethra to see inside of the urethra and bladder for any problems.
Ways To Avoid Urinary Tract Infections
Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water, which increases urination, thereby flushing out bladder bacteria. How much should you drink? Enough to keep your urine looking clear.
Wipe properly. Women should wipe from front to back after using the toilet. Wiping from back to front may increase the risk of getting UTIs.
Use topical estrogen creams. These creams may help postmenopausal women who have vaginal dryness and struggle with recurrent urinary tract infections.
Don’t rely on cranberry juice. The evidence about whether it helps prevent UTIs is mixed. And the juice has lots of sugar and calories.
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Avoid Holding Your Pee
Avoid holding in your urine, as this can encourage bacterial growth. Try not to wait more than 3 to 4 hours to pee, and completely empty your bladder each time.
This is even more important if youre pregnant as pregnancy puts you at an increased risk for a UTI. Holding your pee can further increase the risk.
Should I Take Antibiotics To Prevent Uti
Not usually. Antibiotics are medicines used to kill bacteria that cause infection. When you take an antibiotic to kill bacteria, the bacteria can change or adapt in a way that it becomes resistant to the antibiotic being used. This means that the antibiotic can no longer kill the bacteria. It takes a stronger antibiotic to then kill the bacteria in the future. There are a limited number of antibiotics that can kill bacteria, so its best to use antibiotics only when needed to avoid reaching the point when the bacteria are resistant to all antibiotics.
Here are a few recommendations for using antibiotics and better avoiding antibiotic resistance.
- Do not take antibiotics that are not prescribed to you.
- Do not take antibiotics for conditions that do not require them. For example, dont take antibiotics to treat viruses like the cold or flu.
- Do not take antibiotics simply because your urine has bacteria. It is very common for people with SCI to have bacteria in their urine, so you usually only need to take an antibiotic to treat a UTI when you begin to you have signs and symptoms.
- Antibiotics may be used to prevent infection in some situations. For example, women with SCI are often prescribed antibiotics to prevent UTI during pregnancy.
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How To Prevent A Urinary Tract Infection
Elizabeth, a 35-year-old working mother and graduate student, has experienced three urinary tract infections in the past six months. When she started to have symptoms — including the frequent urge to urinate — Elizabeth set up a video visit with her physician She told the doctor that she was “99.9% sure it’s another UTI.”
But, Elizabeth continued, she had been using prevention techniques that she found online — like drinking cranberry juice. She wanted to know what else she could do to keep this from happening again.
Recurrent UTIs are when a woman has had two or more UTIs within six months, or three or more UTIs within a year. Having repeat infections is common: More than 80% of women who have one UTI will have another during their life.
And after a UTI, women can experience a relapse, which is a resurgence of the infection within two weeks of the original symptoms. More commonly, women can also experience reinfection, when a second UTI is caused by a completely new infection more than two weeks later.
Why do some people get more UTIs than others?
These Are The Steps To Take When Youre Trying To Ward Off Utis
If you havent experienced a urinary tract infection before, take note: while the infections are uncommon in older men, they can be common in older women, occurring in 10% of women ages 65 or older, and in 30% of women ages 85 or older. For up to a third of women who have a UTI, the infection comes back within six months.
“E. coli bacteria cause approximately 80% of all recurrent UTIs and continue generating microbe strains that are resistant to antibiotics. The ability of the bacteria to stick to the urinary tract can sometimes make them very difficult to eliminate,” says Edward Doherty, who spent 10 years working on potential vaccines for recurrent UTI and other conditions at Harvards Wyss Institute and is now CEO and co-founder of vaccine maker Attivare Therapeutics.
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Watch For Early Signs Of Infection
You may notice warning signs before you start to experience symptoms of UTI.
- Gritty sediment in the urine.
- Mucus in the urine. This is often a sign of high levels of bacteria in the
- Dark, cloudy or bad smelling urine.
If you notice any of these, you might be able to fend off UTI.
- Cut back on drinking liquids with alcohol, caffeine, and sugar.
- Drink more water to help wash out more of the bacteria.
- If you do intermittent catheterization, do it more often. If you use an indwelling catheter, change it.
Consider changing it again after the early signs of infection have gone away.
Will A Uti Go Away On Its Own
Some UTIs can go away on their own. A 2022 article states that some uncomplicated UTIs can resolve spontaneously without treatment, but that some people need to see a doctor to relieve their symptoms.
A person should always see a doctor if they develop symptoms of a UTI as they can progress into a kidney infection.
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Include Probiotics In Your Diet
Knowing how to prevent urinary tract infection is important if you are prone to recurrent infections in your urinary system. Probiotics in your diet are a good way to increase healthy bacteria in your gut and urinary system. If your urinary tract and immune system are healthy, you might not get UTI. Boost your urinary tract by taking probiotic supplements, yogurt, kefir, or tempeh.
How Do Utis Affect Pregnancy
Changes in hormone levels during pregnancy raise your risk for UTIs. UTIs during pregnancy are more likely to spread to the kidneys.
If you’re pregnant and have symptoms of a UTI, see your doctor or nurse right away. Your doctor will give you an antibiotic that is safe to take during pregnancy.
If left untreated, UTIs could lead to kidney infections and problems during pregnancy, including:
- Premature birth
- Low birth weight
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Using Diet And Supplements
What About Cranberry Juice
Thereâs no harm in trying it. But itâs not a proven fix.
Over the years, a lot of studies have focused on a substance found in cranberries thatâs thought to prevent bacteria from sticking to the lining of the urinary tract. But none of these studies have shown how much of this substance it would take to help prevent UTIs.
If you still want to give it a try, drinking cranberry juice or taking cranberry pills is probably fine to do. But there are some exceptions, like if you take a blood-thinning medication, a medication that affects the liver, or aspirin. Itâs always wise to talk to your doctor first, before you try any supplements.
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Uti Causes And Risk Factors
Prostatitis, which is an infection of the prostate, shares many of the same symptoms as UTIs.
Can Urinary Tract Infections Be Prevented
These steps may help reduce the chance of getting UTIs:
- Drink plenty of water every day.
- Drink cranberry juice. Large amounts of vitamin C limit the growth of some bacteria by acidifying the urine. Vitamin C supplements have the same effect.
- Urinate when you feel the need. Do not wait.
- Take showers instead of tub baths.
- Clean the genital area before and after sex, and urinate shortly after sex.
- Women should not use feminine hygiene sprays or scented douches.
- Cotton underwear and loose fitting clothes help keep the area around the urethra dry. Tight clothes and nylon underwear trap moisture. This can help bacteria grow.
- Repeated bouts of urinary tract infections can be treated with small doses of regular antibiotics.
Please consult your health care provider with any questions or concerns you may have about UTIs.
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Don’t Be Surprised If Your Doctor Doesn’t Rush You Into Treatment
Urinary tract infections can be tricky in older age. They’re not always as easy to spot or treat as in youth. And the decades-long approach to treatment is changing. “We’ve been hasty in using antibiotics, and we’re learning there are significant consequences that can range from side effects of medication to infections with antibiotic-resistant bacteria,” says Dr. Helen Chen, a geriatrician at Harvard-affiliated Hebrew Rehabilitation Center.
Prevent Your Bladder From Getting Too Full
Empty your bladder when needed. Empty it completely each time. This will help to reduce your chances of developing two common problems that increase your risk for UTI.
Eight Ways To Prevent A Urinary Tract Infection
Last week I talked about the signs and symptoms of urinary tract infections . Being able to recognize the signs and symptoms can help you get the care your child needs as quickly as possible. I see some children in our office, the Division of Pediatric Urology, who get frequent UTIs. This is frustrating and scary for families. Because of this, I feel compelled to do as much as possible to help parents know how to prevent UTIs from happening. Your child doesnt need to experience and pain and discomfort of an infection.
Six Ways Women Can Prevent Urinary Tract Infections
Urinary tract infections are the most common bacterial infection diagnosed in women. In fact, more than 50% of women will experience a UTI in their lifetime. Urinary tract infections are also the most common cause of gross hematuria, which is where blood is visible in your urine. Here are simple steps every woman can take to help prevent this common infection.
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Things You Can Do Yourself
To help ease pain:
- takeparacetamolup to 4 times a day to reduce pain and a high temperature for people with a UTI, paracetamol is usually recommended over NSAIDs such as ibuprofen or aspirin
- you can give childrenliquid paracetamol
- rest and drink enough fluids so you pass pale urine regularly during the day, especially during hot weather
Its important to follow the instructions on the packet so you know how much paracetamol you or your child can take, and how often.
It may also help to avoid having sex until you feel better.
You cannot pass a UTI on to your partner, but sex may be uncomfortable.
Taking cystitis sachets or cranberry products has not been shown to help ease symptoms of UTIs.
Why Cranberry Juice
Cranberry juice, extracts and supplements are often recommended to prevent or cure UTIs. Thats because there are special ingredients in cranberries called A-type proanthocyanidins that can prevent bacteria from sticking to the bladder wall.
In theory, this could proactively stop UTIs from happening or help you recover from one faster. But studies have found the benefits to be mixed. For example, one study found that women who drank cranberry juice experienced fewer UTIs compared to women in a control group who were given a placebo. But another study found that drinking cranberry juice made no difference. Experts believe that there may not be enough of the A-type proanthocyanidins for cranberry juice to be effective.
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