Why Are Females At A Higher Risk For Utis
People with female reproductive organs are at a higher risk for UTIs because of their anatomy. The female urethra, the tube which empties urine from your bladder out of your body, is shorter than someone born with male anatomy.
The female urethra is also quite close to female reproductive organs. That means bacteria from sexual intercourse as well as products like spermicide can be in close contact with the urethra and bladder.
Living With Urinary Tract Infections
If you have 3 or more urinary tract infections each year, your doctor may want you to begin a preventive antibiotic program. A small dose of an antibiotic taken every day helps to reduce the number of infections. If sexual intercourse seems to cause infections for you, your doctor many suggest taking the antibiotic after intercourse.
Take Care Of Yourself When Suffering From Utis
Many women will experience a UTI in their lifetime, and a big portion of women who do will get multiple in their lives. Sometimes, this can be because of a habit that needs to be changed or a supplement that their body needs. Regardless of the cause, UTIs are often a very uncomfortable, if not painful, experience.
The bladder and kidney are both parts of the urinary tract system, but kidney infections are much more severe than bladder infections and require antibiotics. Kidney infections are associated with a fever and/or lower back pain, while bladder infections are not. If you believe it is a bladder infection, opting for natural remedies is best.
Preventing UTIs is always a better option than remedying it, so using preventative techniques is the best thing you can do for your body. Using the natural remedies for UTIs listed above will help you relieve pain and even help you prevent them from recurring in the future.
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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
Are There Natural At
Yes. While taking antibiotics is still considered the gold standard of UTI treatments, there are some things you can do at home that help relieve symptoms, as well. These include:
- Drink plenty of water. Consuming at least six to eight 8-ounce glasses of water daily can help flush away UTI-causing bacteria, setting you up for a quicker recovery. Plus, the more you drink, the more youll have to urinate.
- Urinate often. Each time you empty your bladder, youre helping to flush bacteria out of your system.
- Try heat. Applying a heating pad to your pubic area for 15 minutes at a time can help soothe the pressure and pain caused by UTI-related inflammation and irritation.
- Tweak your wardrobe. Wearing loose cotton clothing and underwear can help you recover from a UTI.
- Go fragrance-free. Make sure your personal hygiene products are fragrance-free to sidestep further irritation, notes the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
- Cut out certain irritants. Caffeine, alcohol, spicy food, raw onions, citrus fruits, carbonated drinks, artificial sweeteners, and nicotine can further irritate your bladder, making it more difficult for your body to heal, per the Cleveland Clinic.
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How Do They Work
You can buy over-the-counter UTI dipstick tests at your local drugstore or online. They work much like a pregnancy test: Each kit comes with a testing strip . You wet a test strip by holding it in your urine stream for a few seconds. Or, you can collect urine in a clean cup and dip the strip into the sample. Wait 1 to 2 minutes for the color of the test strip to change. This will vary depending on the brand you use. Check the chart on the home test kit to find out if youâve tested positive for a UTI.
Home test kits might be useful if you have UTIs that keep coming back. They check for white blood cells and bacteria in the urine. But the results can be affected by a number of things, like medications youâre taking. And studies show that urine cultures are far more reliable for showing whether you have a UTI.
The bottom line: See your doctor to be sure, no matter what your UTI home test reveals.
What About Cranberry Juice For Uti
Its a long-held belief that consuming cranberry juice may help prevent and treat urinary tract infections. While its true that cranberries contain an active ingredient that can prevent adherence of bacteria to the urinary tract, there is still no evidence that cranberry products can treat a UTI.
One of the reasons: Products like cranberry juice or cranberry capsules are not explicitly formulated with the same amount of PACs that have shown potential in lab studies. Moreover, a 2019 report in the Journal of Urology noted that the availability of such products to the public is a severe limitation to the use of cranberries for UTI prophylaxis outside the research setting.
In all, theres actually very little high-quality research on the topic of prevention. For instance, a 2016 study in The Journal of the American Medical Association, found that among female nursing home residents, daily consumption of cranberry capsules resulted in no significant prevention of UTIs.
While consuming cranberry juice or supplements is not considered a first-line treatment of urinary tract infections, in most cases, it cant hurt. After all, drinking plenty of liquids does dilute your urine and help spur more frequent urination, which flushes bacteria from the urinary tract. The exception: Those who are taking blood-thinning medication, such as warfarin, should not consume cranberry juice. And those with diabetes should be mindful of the high-sugar content of fruit juices.
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What Happens When A Uti Goes Untreated
Thanks to early diagnosis and proper treatment, the vast majority of lower urinary tract infections result in no complications. However, if left untreated, a UTI can have serious ramifications notes the Mayo Clinic, including:
- Premature birth and low birth weight
- Kidney damage, which can occur is an untreated UTI spreads from the bladder to the kidneys.
Should Uti Treatment Vary According To Whats Causing The Infection
Your UTI treatment may vary according to whats causing the infection. Certain UTIs, especially chronic and recurring ones, will need antibiotic treatment as opposed to simple home remedies.
If youre prescribed antibiotics to treat a UTI, a healthcare professional may choose an antibiotic thats specific to the type of bacteria thats triggering your infection.
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When To See A Doctor
While there are OTC products that claim they can help identify whatever is causing your discomfort, Dr. Purdie says you should use them with caution. The most accurate way to diagnose a UTI or a yeast infection is to see your physician for a culture, she says adding that the urine test strips wont accurately diagnose UTIs but may give you info about how likely it is that you could be suffering from one.
The best marker is a positive nitrite, which is an indicator of bacteria, she says, adding that there are no over-the-counter tests that will detect yeast. There are PH test strips available that may indicate an increased risk of vaginal infection, but they are unable to narrow down what may be causing the infection.
If youre suffering from these common symptoms and wondering if a UTI or yeast infection is to blame, both doctors suggest you make a trip to your doctor to get a proper diagnosis. Failing to do so could lead to further complications, especially if you try to incorrectly treat the wrong problem!
Antibiotics Used For Uncomplicated Utis
If you are a healthy individual whose urinary tract is anatomically and functionally normal and you have no known heightened UTI susceptibility youve got whats dubbed an uncomplicated UTI, according to guidelines published in August 2019 in the Journal of Urology. For these individuals, antibiotics are considered the first-line of treatment.
The type of antibiotics you are prescribed and for how long is contingent on the type of bacteria detected in your urine, your current health status, and whether your UTI is uncomplicated or complicated. Depending on which antibiotic your doctor prescribes, women may need a single dose or up to a five-day course. For men, antibiotics are usually given for a slightly longer period of time, notes UpToDate.
Typically, if you are diagnosed with an uncomplicated UTI, one of the following will be prescribed as first-line treatment:
The following antibiotics are considered second-line treatments for UTI. They are generally chosen because of resistance patterns or allergy considerations:
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What Is The Urinary Tract
The urinary tract makes and stores urine, one of the body’s liquid waste products. The urinary tract includes the following parts:
- Kidneys: These small organs are located on back of your body, just above the hips. They are the filters of your body removing waste and water from your blood. This waste becomes urine.
- Ureters: The ureters are thin tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to your bladder.
- Bladder: A sac-like container, the bladder stores your urine before it leaves the body.
- Urethra: This tube carries the urine from your bladder to the outside of the body.
Can A Uti Go Away On Its Own
While most patients with a UTI will be prescribed antibiotics, the truth is, uncomplicated urinary tract infections are often self-limiting, meaning they can potentially run their course sans antibiotic treatment, noted a 2018 report in PLoS Medicine.
In fact, that same report found that more than one-half of the women studied experienced a UTI resolution without the use antibiotics. However, since kidney infections occurred in 7 out of 181 women using ibuprofen, the researchers concluded that, at this time, they cannot recommend ibuprofen alone as initial treatment to women with uncomplicated UTIs.
A better idea, for now: Simply wait until a positive urine culture comes back before treating with antibiotics.
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Why Should I Take The Full Dose
Antibiotics work well against UTIs. You might start to feel better after being on the medicine for just a few days.
But even so, keep taking your medicine. If you stop your antibiotics too soon, you wonât kill all the bacteria in your urinary tract.
These germs can become resistant to antibiotics. That means the meds will no longer kill these bugs in the future. So if you get another UTI, the medication you take might not treat it. Take the full course of your medicine to make sure all the bacteria are dead.
Drink Plenty Of Water
Although urinating can be painful when you have a UTI, its important to drink as many fluids as possible particularly water. Most adults should aim to drink between six and eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day.
The more you drink, the more youll urinate, which can help flush harmful bacteria from the urinary tract.
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Urinate Before And After Sex
Sexual activity increases the chances of getting a UTI, especially if youre a woman. Thats because bacteria can easily get into the urethra during sex.
To reduce your risk, pee immediately before and after sex. The idea is to flush out bacteria that may cause UTIs.
Its also a good idea to gently wash your genital area before sex. This can help keep the area clean and reduce the chance of bacteria spreading to your urethra.
Drink Plenty Of Fluids
Dehydration is linked to an increased risk of UTIs.
This is because regular urination can help flush bacteria from the urinary tract to prevent infection. When youre dehydrated, you arent urinating as often, which can create a breeding ground for bacteria.
A examined nursing home residents and administered a drinking schedule to participants to increase their fluid intake. Following the schedule decreased UTIs requiring antibiotics by 56%.
In a 2020 randomized control trial , 140 premenopausal participants prone to UTIs took part in a 12-month study to test if a higher fluid intake would decrease their risk of recurrent cystitis and, in turn, their risk of developing a UTI. Researchers found that an increase in fluid intake led to a decrease in UTI frequency.
To stay hydrated and meet your fluid needs, its best to drink water throughout the day and always when youre thirsty.
Benefits of drinking more fluids for UTI
Drinking plenty of liquids can decrease your risk of UTIs by making you pee more, which helps remove bacteria from your urinary tract.
evidence suggests that increasing your intake of vitamin C could protect against UTIs.
Vitamin C is thought to work by increasing the acidity of urine, killing off the bacteria that cause infection.
An older 2007 study of UTIs in pregnant women looked at the effects of taking 100 milligrams of vitamin C every day.
Fruits and vegetables are especially high in vitamin C and are a good way to increase your intake.
Other Ways To Prevent Some Utis Coming Back
If you keep getting a bladder infection , there’s some evidence it may be helpful to take:
- D-mannose a sugar you can buy as a powder or tablets to take every day
- cranberry products available as juice, tablets or capsules to take every day
Speak to your doctor before taking any of these during pregnancy.
Be aware that D-mannose and cranberry products can contain a lot of sugar.
If you’re taking warfarin, you should avoid cranberry products.
Page last reviewed: 22 March 2022 Next review due: 22 March 2025
How To Prevent Uti Re
Following some tips can help you avoid getting another UTI:
- Empty your bladder often as soon as you feel the need to pee don’t rush, and be sure you’ve emptied your bladder completely.
- Wipe from front to back after you use the toilet.
- Drink lots of water.
- Choose showers over baths.
- Stay away from feminine hygiene sprays, scented douches, and scented bath products they’ll only increase irritation.
- Cleanse your genital area before sex.
- Pee after sex to flush out any bacteria that may have entered your urethra.
- If you use a diaphragm, unlubricated condoms, or spermicidal jelly for birth control, you may want to switch to another method. Diaphragms can increase bacteria growth, while unlubricated condoms and spermicides can irritate your urinary tract. All can make UTI symptoms more likely.
- Keep your genital area dry by wearing cotton underwear and loose-fitting clothes. DonÃ¢â¬â¢t wear tight jeans and nylon underwear they can trap moisture, creating the perfect environment for bacteria growth.
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Am I At Risk Of A Uti
While UTIs can happen to anyone, they are more common in females who are sexually active or menopausal, or have health conditions such as diabetes or urinary incontinence. Females who use spermicides or diaphragms as contraception are also at increased risk of UTIs, and may benefit from other contraceptive options if they get recurrent UTIs.
Some people at greater risk of developing urinary tract infections:
- Females nearly 1 in 3 females will have a UTI that needs treatment before the age of 24.
- Males with prostate problems an enlarged prostate gland can cause the bladder to only partially empty, raising the risk of infection.
- Older people some medications and problems with incontinence mean that older people are more likely to get a UTI.
- People with urinary catheters people who are critically ill and people who cant empty their bladder are at a greater risk of infection.
- People with diabetes changes to the immune system make people with diabetes more vulnerable to infection.
- Infants babies in nappies commonly get UTIs, in particular, infants born with physical problems of the urinary system are at greater risk.
Antibiotics For A Uti
The form of antibiotic used to treat a bacterial UTI usually depends on which part of the tract is involved.
Lower tract UTIs can usually be treated with oral antibiotics. Upper tract UTIs require intravenous antibiotics. These antibiotics are put directly into your veins.
Sometimes, bacteria develop resistance to antibiotics. To reduce your risk of antibiotic resistance, your doctor will likely put you on the shortest treatment course possible. Treatment typically lasts no more than 1 week.
Results from your urine culture can help your doctor select an antibiotic treatment that will work best against the type of bacteria thats causing your infection.
Treatments other than antibiotics for bacterial UTIs are being examined. At some point, UTI treatment without antibiotics may be an option for bacterial UTIs by using cell chemistry to change the interaction between the body and the bacteria.
There are no home remedies that can cure a UTI, but there are some things that you can do that can help your medication work better.
These home remedies for UTIs, like drinking more water, may help your body clear the infection faster.
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