Urinary tract infections are common bacterial infections that can occur at any time during your life. Most of the time they are very easy to get rid of and do not cause complications, but they do cause many unpleasant symptoms. Since UTIs are so common, it helps to understand the signs of a UTI and what you should do about it and if you should see a doctor.
What Are the Symptoms of a UTI and How Does a Doctor Test and Diagnose?
Some of the most common symptoms that will allow you to identify a UTI include:
· A burning sensation when urinating
· Pressure and/or pain in lower abdomen
· Intense and frequent urge to urinate, and usually, only a little bit comes out
· Strange-smelling, dark, bloody, or cloudy urine
· Chills or fever
There are several ways in which a doctor can test for a UTI. One of the most common ways is to collect a urine sample and send it to the lab to be analyzed. Others ways it’s tested for include using a scope to see inside the bladder, creating images of the urinary tract, and growing urinary tract bacteria in a lab.
How is a UTI Treated?
Most urinary tract infections are treated with a UTI prescription, usually for an antibiotic to kill the bacteria. While you are waiting for your treatment to begin working, you can help speed things along by drinking plenty of water because water can help flush the bacteria out of your system. If you feel a lot of pain in your lower abdomen, you can relieve the pain with a heating pad set on low.
Who is Most at Risk for Getting a UTI?
Women are more likely to get a urinary tract infection than men because they have a shorter urethra than men do. Having a shorter urethra means that bacteria has less of a distance to travel to enter the bladder. Menopause is another reason why women are more likely to get UTIs because the decline in estrogen makes the urinary tract more vulnerable to getting an infection. Certain types of birth control and having new sexual partners can also make women more likely to get them.
Are UTIs Preventable?
There are ways in which you can reduce your chance of getting a urinary tract infection. Women should always wipe from the front to back to prevent the spread of bacteria. Drinking a decent amount of liquids, mainly water, will cause you to urinate more frequently and flush the bacteria from your urinary tract. Certain birth control methods are also can cause bacteria to grow including unlubricated or spermicide-treated condoms and diaphragms.
How Dangerous is a UTI?
Most of the time when treated quickly, UTIs don’t cause any complications. If a UTI is left untreated it can lead to reoccurring infections, sepsis, permanent kidney damage, and lead to low birth weight of premature births in pregnant women. Sometimes UTIs can go away on their own with a healthy immune system, but you should always go to the doctor to make sure an antibiotic isn’t necessary first.
It’s important to do everything you can to live a healthy lifestyle, including eating well, getting regular checkups, getting enough sleep, and exercising. Work on boosting your immune system with super foods such as oregano oil, kale, avocados, and oatmeal so your body can fight off any infections easily. Urinary tract infections are unpleasant, but are common and can be treated easily. You can prevent UTIs from occurring by drinking plenty of water, urinating after sex to flush out any bacteria, and by taking cranberry supplements. If you have reoccurring UTIs, you should consult with your doctor to find out why and what you can do about it.