We all have experienced, or at least know someone who has suffered from, an uncomfortable, burning sensation while urinating. Usually caused due to a urinary tract infection (UTI), it happens when your bladder or any other part of your urinary tract gets infected by bacteria.
More common than we actually think it to be, urinary tract infection accounts for around 10.5 million visits to the doctor every year. It is believed that most women get a UTI at least once at some point in their lives. However, there are others who experience it more frequently. In fact, every one in every four women experiences chronic, recurrent UTIs – two or more UTIs within six months or at least three times in a year. Though females are more likely to get a UTI, due to the position and shorter length of their urethra, males too can suffer from recurrent UTIs.
But what causes UTI? What are its symptoms? Are there any ways to prevent the urinary tract infection from occurring or reoccurring? Well, in this article, we’ll help you find answers to all these questions and more. Come, lets read together.
What Causes Urinary Tract Infection?
The vast majority of urinary tract infections are caused by the bacteria Escherichia coli (E. coli), which is usually found in the digestive system. However, other pathogens may cause a UTI. These include:
- Klebsiella pneumonia
- Proteus mirabilis
- Enterococcus faecalis
- Staphylococcus saprophyticus
The bacteria may infect any part of the urinary tract – bladder, urethra or kidneys. Depending on where the infection occurs, the UTIs are often known as:
- Cystitis – infection of the bladder
- Urethritis – infection of the urethra
- Pyelonephritis – infection of the kidneys
The infection in urethra and bladder is usually not very serious and clears up with treatment. Similarly, ureters very rarely get infected. However, if a UTI reaches the kidneys, it may lead to kidney infections and a person may have to go to the hospital for treatment.
Symptoms of a UTI
A person suffering from urinary tract infection may experience one or more of the following symptoms:
- Pain or burning sensation while urinating
- An immediate urge to urinate
- Pressure when urinating
- Feeling the urge to urinate even after a trip to the toilet
- Experiencing bloody, cloudy or smelly urine
- Persistent and sharp pain in the lower abdomen
- Fever and chills
Factors that Increase the Likelihood of Developing UTI
There are many reasons why women, and men, may suffer from recurrent UTIs. The most common ones include:
1. Genetics and/or Anatomy
A woman’s urethra is shorter than a man’s. Moreover, it is located close to the opening of the vagina and anus. This makes it easier for the bacteria to invade the space and cause infection. Once inside the urethra, the bacterium only has to travel a shorter distance to reach up to the bladder and cause an infection.
2. Poor Bathroom Habits
People with poor toilet hygiene are more prone to suffer from UTIs than others. Using dirty, soiled or contaminated toilets increase your risk of developing a UTI. To reduce the risk, always use clean toilets. Also, make sure to wipe your genitals from front to back after going to the bathroom.
3. Unhealthy Sexual Activities
Bacteria spread more easily during sexual activities, from one partner to the other. That’s why, practicing good hygiene during and after sexual activity is important. Soon after a sexual activity, make sure to pee so as to flush any errant bacteria out of your urethra. Also, wash your intimate area before and after a sexual activity. Use of some forms of contraception, spermicides and tampons also increase your risk for urinary tract infections.
4. Other Health Issues
People with suppressed immune system, neurological diseases, and metabolic diseases, like diabetes, are more prone to recurrent UTIs than others. Similarly, your susceptibility to recurrent UTIs increases if you are suffering from kidney stones, bowel incontinence, and kidney diseases.
What Can You Do to Prevent Recurrent UTIs?
If you are suffering from recurrent UTIs, you must get in touch with your primary care physician or a urologist. After carefully evaluating your condition, he/she will design an appropriate course of treatment.
Also, there are a lot of ways through which you can minimize your chances of getting UTIs. For this,
- Drink plenty of water – It will help you get flush out all the bacteria through urine.
- Do not hold your pee – If you feel the urge to urinate, find a bathroom and go.
- Maintain good sexual hygiene – Do not indulge in unhealthy sexual activities. Also, urinate shortly after sex.
- Always use clean washrooms – Make sure the washroom that you are using is clean and fresh.
- Use dermatologically tested products – Always use sprays, deodorants and powders that are medically approved. And avoid using sprays close to your genitals.
- Keep your genitals clean – Always wipe yourself from front to back after urinating.
- Wear cotton underwear – Always prefer cotton panties to help keep your urethra dry.
If you experience pain or burning sensation during or after peeing, it is important to consult a urologist and get yourself tested. These could be the signs of a urinary tract infection. At EPIC Health, we offer comprehensive diagnosis and treatment for urinary tract infections. Through rigorous diagnostic tests – urine culture, bladder checkups, urethral analysis and cystoscopy – and screenings, our expert urologists can help you evaluate your symptoms for UTI. They can also screen you for any underlying health condition that may be leading to recurrent UTIs. Only after careful testing and diagnosis, they’ll chalk out an effective treatment plan to ease the pain and relieve the symptoms. Through expert counselling, they can help you inculcate healthy bathroom and lifestyle habits to help prevent urinary tract infections from recurring over and over again.
Request an appointment with our healthcare experts for UTI detection and prevention. We can help you live happy, healthy, and better!