Urinary tract infection or UTI is one of the most common conditions that a women could experience. It’s when you feel a burning sensation when you pee and everyone just tells you to drink some cranberry juice. So what exactly is a Urinary Tract Infection and is there any way to prevent having it?
What is a UTI?
Urinary tract infection or UTI occurs when bacteria enters and infects the urinary system, which affects the urinary meatus, the bladder and the kidneys. Women are more prone to have UTI than men because they have shorter urethra than men.
The urinary system is where the waste from our blood is filtered out by the kidney and made into urine to be excreted out. The urinary system is composed of the kidneys, ureter, bladder and urethra.
The blood enters the kidneys, where it filters all the waste, and then the waste passes through the ureter, into the bladder and out via urethra as urine. The urinary system is supposed to be sterile, meaning; there should be no harmful bacteria that exist in there.
UTI happens when bacteria enter the urinary system causing an infection and inflammation to an otherwise sterile environment.
Symptoms of UTI
Having a urinary tract infection sometimes do not have any signs and symptoms, but when they do, it includes:
- Urinary frequency or a strong urge to pee all the time
- Painful and burning sensation when urinating
- Peeing small amount of urine frequently
- Cloudy urine
- Urine that looks red, bright pink or cola colored which indicates that there is blood in the urine
- Strong smelling urine
- Pain in the pelvic area especially in the center of the pelvis or around the pubic bone
Types of UTI
There are several types of urinary tract infection, depending on the part of the urinary system that gets infected.
Urethritis or the infection of the urethra. Signs and symptoms include burning sensation during urination and discharge.
Cystitis or the infection of the bladder. It is manifested by pelvic pressure, lower abdomen discomfort, frequent and painful urination and blood in the urine.
Pyelonephritis of the infection of the kidneys. Symptoms include pain in the upper back, high fever, shaking and nausea and vomiting.
The bowel and the anus is full of bacteria called E. coli, sometimes E. coli enters the urinary meatus and causes an infection to the urinary system, hence, the UTI. In some cases, there may be other bacteria responsible, but the most common culprit is the E. coli.
Sexual intercourse, wiping from the back to the front and unhygienic practices could cause the bacteria to transfer from the anus to the urinary meatus.
Sexually transmitted diseases such as herpes, gonorrhoea and chlamydia could also cause a UTI.
Risk Factors for UTI
Being a woman. It may be unfair but being a woman is one of the factors in being prone to having a UTI. Women have shorter urethra, it is also near the vagina and anus which could have bacteria that could cause an infection.
Being sexually active. Women who are more sexually active are more prone than those who are not. Having new or multiple partners increases your risk as each person could carry different kinds of bacteria that could cause an infection.
Menopause. Women who are undergoing menopause are more prone to having a UTI because of the decrease of estrogen in the body.
Catheter use. Catheter is used for people who could not urinate on their own. It’s a tube that is directly inserted into the urethra. Leaving the tube in for too long, or if the bag is not drained regularly, bacteria could travel up to the tube and could easily enter the urinary system.
Harmful complications of UTI
Minor UTI’s could easily be cured by just cranberry juice, but if you ignore UTI, the infection could climb up into the kidneys that could lead to permanent kidney damage.
Another complication is sepsis or septicemia, which is when an infection enters the blood stream that could cause other complications and even death.
How to Prevent UTI
When it comes to UTI, early detection and prevention is always the best way in order to treat it and avoid any harmful complications. Here are simple ways in order to prevent UTI:
Drink cranberry juice. Perhaps the most common treatment for UTI is drinking cranberry juice. The idea is to make the urine in your bladder acidic, with an acidic environment, bacteria could not thrive, reducing the likelihood of them multiplying and causing an infection.
Increase your water intake. Water could dilute the urine in your bladder and the more water you drink, the more often you pee. This prevents your urine from being stagnant in one place. The more you pee, the more bacteria you flush out.
Always wife from front to back. There are a lot of bacterias that are in your anus, after all, that’s where the poop comes out. So after peeing, it is best to wipe from front to back, which is from the cleanest part of your perineum (urinary meatus) to the dirtiest(anus). This will minimize the chances of bacteria spreading from your front to your back.
Pee after intercourse. Drinking a glass of water and peeing right after intercourse will help flush out the bacteria that could cause a UTI.
Avoid feminine products that are irritating. Using soaps or other feminine products that are too strong could irritate the urethra.
Studies show that the estrogen in the body increases the body’s defense against UTI’s and STD’s. It was found in a recent study that the estrogen in the body increases the antimicrobial proteins in the bladder that protects you from infections.
It also helps tighten and strengthen the cells in the tissue of your urinary tract so that it will be hard for the bacteria to break in and penetrate into the tissue.
During menopause, the amount of estrogen in the body significantly decreases, that is why most menopausal women are more prone to UTI’s than women who have enough estrogen in the body. The best solution in order to replenish the estrogen that was lost and help the body defend itself against UTIs is by taking Phytoestrogen.
Phytoestrogen are estrogen that are made by plants it is all natural so it is safe and has no harmful side effects. You can take hers that are rich in phytoestrogen such as Kacip Fatimah in order to protect you from UTI and keep your urinary system healthy and infection free.