Urinary tract infection (UTI) is the second most common type of infection that a person can get, with respiratory infection being the most common. UTI is much more common in women than men, with over forty percent of women stating that they have had a UTI at some point in their life.
UTIs can be categorized into two types – upper urinary tract infection and lower urinary tract infection. Of the two, the upper urinary tract infection is the more dangerous type, requiring immediate doctor supervision. While the lower UTI affects the bladder and the urethra, the upper UTI affects the kidneys. If you have an upper UTI, it generally means that your infection has spread from your bladder to your kidneys.
A UTI is diagnosed by testing a urine sample to determine if there is an infection. Another method of diagnosing involves asking the patient to describe their symptoms to conclude if they have a UTI.
A lower urinary tract infection is characterized by a burning feeling when you urinate, a frequent or intense urge to urinate, although only very little comes out when you do, and cloudy, bloody or weird-smelling urine.
An upper urinary tract infection is characterized by pain or pressure in your lower abdomen, nausea, vomiting, and fever or chills. If you fear you have an upper UTI, you must immediately visit your doctor to get it treated at the earliest.
Your doctor will prescribe antibiotics to kill the bacteria. One common mistake that most people do is to take the antibiotics till the symptoms disappear and assume that they’ve been cured. This is such a basic mistake that could result in recurring UTIs. Always finish your antibiotic cycle completely, irrespective of whether your symptoms have disappeared or not.
There are also some home remedies that you can try to get rid of an UTI.
1. One solution is to drink lots of cranberry juice. Studies have showed that cranberry is highly effective in fighting and curing UTI by flushing out the harmful bacteria.
2. Another solution is to consume yogurt or a probiotic drink on a daily basis. The good bacteria present in them will help fight the bad bacteria introduced by the UTI.
3. You can also drink a lot of water to flush out the bacteria, and cut down on your caffeine intake, as that can irritate your bladder.
4. Eat fruits rich in vitamin C or its supplements, as vitamin C helps fight the UTI causing bacteria.
Here are some preventive measures that you can adopt to avoid getting a UTI or to avoid a re-infection.
1. Urinate frequently. Never hold in your urine for long periods. Urinate whenever you feel the urge. The longer you hold in your urine, the more time you are giving for harmful bacteria to breed and thrive.
2. Wear comfortable clothing. Wear cotton underwear that allows your skin to breathe. Bacteria thrive in warm moist environments, so keep your private part clean and dry and wear loose cotton clothing as much as possible to avoid excessive sweating in that region.
3. Avoid using feminine hygiene products. Contrary to popular notions, feminine hygiene products do more harm than good. They end up making your genital area dry and their scents can also irritate the delicate skin. Cleaning properly and thoroughly with water should be more than sufficient to keep you free of bacteria and other germs.
4. Always drink a lot of water after sex. Sex is one of the most common causes of UTI. So drink water and urinate after sex to flush out any bacteria that may have entered your urethra.
5. Clean your genitals thoroughly after sex to reduce the risk of getting a UTI.