Did you know that women tend to get urinary tract infections more often than men?
What is a UTI?
Ever experienced a constant urge to pee accompanied by a sharp burning sensation? If yes, then chances are that you might have had a UTI.
A UTI is an infection of your urinary system and can affect the kidney, ureter, bladder, or urethra. However, the most common infection occurs in the lower urinary tract, i.e., the bladder and the urethra. This infection is caused by specific microorganisms like bacteria (common), fungi, and viruses (rare).
It is crucial to get treated for UTI before it spreads to your kidney. Although this infection is common, it is vital to take it seriously.
💡Women or vulva owners are more likely to contract UTIs because of the shorter distance between the urethra and the anus.
It is because bacteria can reach the bladder more easily in women. It’s also untrue that a urinary tract infection (UTI) can only happen if you’re sexually active. In this post, we will tell you more about UTI and how you can take care of your intimate hygiene.
How do I know if I have UTI?
There are broadly two types of UTIs:
- Cystitis: This is the infection of the bladder and it is the most common form of this infection. The symptoms of this infection are restricted to the lower urinary tract.
If you have the following symptoms, it may mean that you are having a lower urinary tract infection-
- Frequent urge to pee
- Burning sensation while peeing
- Increased need for urination
- Bloody or cloudy urine
- Foul-smelling urine
- Pelvic or rectal pain
2. Pyelonephritis: This is when the infection has spread to the upper urinary tract and the symptoms include having fever, chills, nausea, or vomiting among others. If this is the case then you should consider consulting with a medical professional immediately.
However, it is important to remember that some of the common symptoms associated with UTIs- such as burning sensation while peeing, also overlap with pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). This is an infection of the uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, and cervix.
This is why it is important to distinguish between the two and get necessary checks done to eliminate the possibility.
How do I get diagnosed with UTI?
Your doctor will ask some questions about your medical history and ask for a urine sample for analysis, to detect any microorganism causing the infection.
What causes UTIs?
Urinary tract infections typically occur when microorganisms enter the urinary tract through the urethra and begin to multiply. When that happens, bacteria may take hold and grow into a full-blown infection in the urinary tract.
- Sexual activity: This is a very common cause of UTI, especially after the first time. This is because, during sexual intercourse, there might be greater exposure of bacteria from the genital area and the anus to the urethra.
- History of UTIs in the family: If you are someone who is prone to UTIs or have a family history, this could be a reason for this.
- Pregnancy: The growing fetus and associated hormonal changes in your pregnancy can be a reason why you are more likley to contract UTIs.
- Menopause: This period is once again marked by hormonal changes and affects your urinary tract, increasing the chances of a UTI.
- Diabetes: Poor glycemic control associated with type 1 diabetes in women make them susceptible to UTIs.
How to get treated for UTI?
The treatment for UTI will depend on the cause of the infection. After your diagnosis is confirmed, the doctor may prescribe you a 3-5 day course of antibiotics. Do not worry, UTIs are completely treatable.
How do I prevent UTI?
- Drink plenty of water.
- Do not hold your pee for long.
- Always pee after sex.
- Wash your intimate area.
- Keep your intimate area dry.
Intimate hygiene tips for women
- Avoid douching.
- Avoid harsh or scented soaps.
- Choose showers over baths.
- Wipe from front to back.
- Use condoms.
- Wear breathable cotton underwear.
💡Men or penis owners can develop UTIs if there is a build-up of bacteria in the urethra.
Having a UTI is not a very pleasant experience and this is why it is important to take all precautionary steps to avoid contracting it. Another way you can do this is to arm yourself with all possible information about this infection by speaking to your doctor if you are showing any symptoms. And always remember, prevention is better than cure.