Tips to Prevent Urinary Tract Infection | Causes & Symptoms


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urinary tract infection

A urinary tract infection is an infection of any part of the urinary system. It includes the kidneys, ureter bladder, and urethra. Except for the urethra, the urinary system is sterile. The presence of bacteria in these sterile parts can cause them to react, get inflamed and give rise to symptoms of a urinary tract infection.

Types of Urinary tract infections

A UTI can be of different types depending on the part that is infected. They can be of the following types:

  1. Nephritis: If the kidney is the main organ involved in the infection.
  2. Cystitis: It happens when the walls of the organ that stores your urine get inflamed.
  3. Urethritis: If the part taking the urine from the bladder to outside the body is infected. Chances of urinary tract infection in males and females.

Chances of UTIs in males and females

Females are more prone to urinary tract infections when compared to their male counterparts. Around the age of 20, almost 30% of the females have a urinary tract infection which only increases every decade by 1%. Urinary tract infections in males are uncommon with exception of the first year of life and above 60 years of age. Although newborn males are at a higher risk of UTI, this quickly changes, and throughout childhood and reproductive years, females have a greater disease burden. This is because of a short urethra when compared to males, which makes them almost 30 times more likely to get an infection.

Another reason why females have higher chances of a urinary tract infection is that the urethra is located close to the opening of the bowels of the anus. This decreases the distance bacteria have to travel to cause infections. After 60, the chances of UTI in males increases due to prostate enlargement and a weakened immune system.

Causes for a urinary tract infection

Why do we get a urinary infection in the first place? 

There can be multiple reasons why one can get a urinary tract infection. Sexual intercourse or manipulation of the bladder with instruments can inoculate the bacteria usually present in the perineum or around our external organs into the urinary tract. These bacteria grow to form colonies which increase the severity of the infection and give rise to symptoms. The most common bacteria to cause infection is E. coli. Viruses and fungi are less likely to be a cause of infection. Certain conditions can increase the risk of urinary tract infection.

  • Benign prostatic hyperplasia in older people
  • Strictures or constrictions in the urethra
  • Prolapse of the uterus in older females
  • Stones in the urinary tract
  • Catheterization of the bladder for surgeries or in critically ill people.
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Pregnancy, especially during the initial months when the pregnant uterus presses on the bladder.

Symptoms of Urinary tract infections

Initially, a urinary tract infection can present with very subtle symptoms.

  • Increased frequency of washroom visits, increased urgency to urinate, inability to hold urine are a few early symptoms
  • Pain in the lower abdomen
  • Burning sensation while urinating
  • Cloudy or blood-stained urine.
  • The foul odor of the urine
  • Pain in the sides or flanks.
  • Fever with chills and rigors

Apart from this, general features like decreased energy levels, easy fatigability, and sleep disturbance could be some more symptoms of urinary tract infection.

Tips to prevent Urinary tract infection

Following are some simple ways to prevent urinary tract infections in men and women:

  1. Drink water, a refreshing amount
  • Water is your best friend for keeping your urinary tract healthy and functional. It flushes out small stones and bacteria, keeping you safe from urinary tract infections.
  1. Use the washroom often
  • You don’t have to be bursting at the seams to check into the nearest urinary stall. Make sure you empty your bladder every 3-4 hours. Ladies, while traveling please do not wait for the next cleanest washroom. Your chances of getting a UTI are higher if you hold it in your urine.
  1. Drink cranberry juice
  • It is shown to prevent the colonization of the urinary tract by bacteria from sticking to the walls of the urinary tract.
  1. Wipe from front to back when using toilet paper to avoid contamination of the urinary opening.
  2. Change your contraception especially if they contain spermicides or condoms that do not have lubricants.
  3. Be selective with feminine hygiene products. Some products may dry out the perineum, disturb the pH, irritate the urethra, and increase the chances of a urinary tract infection.

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