A urinary tract infection is an infection in any part of the urinary system-your kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra. Most infections involve the lower urinary tract-the bladder and the urethra. You’ve coped with cramps, tampons etc. But being a woman can also mean having to cope with urinary tract infections or UTIs. Some experts rank your lifetime risk of getting one as high as 1 in 2. Here’s how to handle UTIs.
UTIs are a key reason we’re often told to wipe from front to back after using the bathroom. That’s because the urethra is located close to the anus. Bacteria from the large intestine, such as E.coli, are in the perfect position to escape the anus and invade the urethra. From there, they can travel up to the bladder, and if the infection isn’t treated, it continues on to infect the kidneys. Women are especially prone to UTIs because they have shorter urethras, which allow bacteria quick access to the bladder. Having sex can introduce bacteria into the urinary tract too.
To identify a UTI, keep an eye out for the following symptoms
- A burning feeling when you urinate.
- A frequent or intense urge to urinate, even though little comes out when you do.
- Pain or pressure in your back or the lower abdomen.
- Urine becomes dark, cloudy or bloody.
- Urine has a very foul odour.
- Feverish feeling- this symptom signifies that there is a possibility that the infection has gotten to the kidney.
If you notice any of these symptoms, visit the doctor. The doctor would then take a sample of your urine and run a test. It will be tested for the presence of UTI causing bacteria.
Antibiotic drugs would be prescribed by the doctor. It is important to finish off prescribed drugs, even after you start to feel better. Drink lots of water and cranberry juice to help flush the bacteria from the system.