MWUA urinary tract infection is not without pain, but there are remedies one can take to ensure as little pain as possible, and a quick recovery! Read on to learn how to treat your UTI at home, and when to see a doctor.
RELATED: Urinary Tract Infection
In this article:
- What Is a Urinary Tract Infection?
- What Are the Causes of UTI?
- What Are the Symptoms of UTI?
- Who Are at Risk for UTI?
- When Should You See a Doctor?
- How Do You Treat UTI?
- How Can You Prevent UTI?
- Where Can You Get A UTI Treated?
Everything You Need to Know About Urinary Tract Infections
What Is a Urinary Tract Infection?
A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection of the urinary system which includes the kidneys, urethra, ureters, and bladder.
UTIs are commonly a result of an infection in the lower urinary tract, specifically, the bladder and urethra.
What is the bladder? The bladder is a muscular sac located in the pelvis. It expands to hold urine and contracts to release it during urination.
What is the urethra? The urethra is a narrow tube connected to the bladder. When the bladder contracts to release urine, the urine travels through the urethra to exit the body.
There are two types of UTIs:
- Cystitis – The UTI begins as an infection in the bladder.
- Urethritis – The UTI begins as an infection in the urethra.
Untreated UTIs can lead to a kidney infection.
What Are the Causes of UTI?
UTIs are common around the world. Studies show that 60% of women will have a UTI at least once in her lifetime, but how do you get a UTI?
It might be difficult to identify the exact cause of a UTI because many factors can contribute to it.
But, basically, UTI begins when bacteria enter the urinary tract. It usually comes from:
- Genitals, fingers, or other foreign objects. This may occur during sexual activities.
- The anal area. This usually occurs because of the proximity of the anus and the urethra (e.g. E.coli).
- Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). The bacteria from certain STDs can enter the urinary tract (e.g. chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes, etc.).
It’s important to understand that UTIs are not STDs. You don’t necessarily get a UTI by having sex, but unsafe sexual practices can lead to a UTI or worsen your pre-existing UTI.
What Are the Symptoms of UTI?
The common UTI symptoms are:
- Frequent and urgent need to urinate
- Urinating frequently but in small amounts
- Painful urination (often described as a burning sensation)
- Strong-smelling or foul-smelling urine
- Cloudy urine
- Blood in the urine (appears as red, brownish, or bright pink)
- Pus in the urine
- Pressure or cramps in the lower back, belly, or sides
When the UTI has progressed into a kidney infection, the symptoms may include:
- Pain in one side of your mid-back
The severity of these symptoms will vary from person to person.
Who Are at Risk for UTI?
There are certain factors that may increase your chances of getting UTIs. These risk factors include:
- History of UTIs
- Certain methods of birth control (e.g. diaphragms or spermicides)
- Kidney stones or other conditions that causes blockages in the urinary tract
- Sexual activity
- Use of catheters
- Recent urinary surgery or invasive urinary tract examinations
Apart from these risk factors, UTI is more common in women because:
- Women generally have shorter urethras making it easier for the bacteria to reach the bladder.
- Compared to men’s genitalia, a woman’s urethra opening (located in the vagina) is closer to the anus.
- Expansion of the uterus during pregnancy may lead to urination challenges that may cause an infection.
- Changes in estrogen levels during menopause can make the urinary tract more prone to infection.
When Should You See a Doctor?
If you’re experiencing UTI symptoms, it’s best to see your healthcare provider. The diagnostic procedure will usually involve:
- Detailed medical history
- Physical exam
Depending on your medical history and symptoms, your doctor may also recommend certain STD tests.
Follow these simple steps to get the best urine sample for your urinalysis:
- Wash your hands.
- Use antiseptic wipes on your genitals.
- Urinate for a few seconds.
- Use the sterile container provided to collect the urine midstream.
- Seal the container.
These steps help prevent contamination of the urine sample.
How Do You Treat UTI?
The standard course of UTI treatment usually involves antibiotics. It’s very important to follow your doctor’s prescription when taking antibiotics.
Your doctor’s prescription should indicate the specific type of medication you’ll need and how long you’ll need to take it.
Once you begin your antibiotics, it won’t take too long before you start feeling better. In most cases, symptoms begin to ease within a day or two of taking the antibiotics.
It’s important to stick to the prescription and finish your entire course of antibiotics. Otherwise, the infection may remain even if you are no longer experiencing any of the symptoms.
Ceasing the intake of antibiotics mid-prescription period may also result in drug resistance, which is when the bacteria do not respond to the medication anymore. Simply put, your body isn’t getting any better despite taking the specific medication.
Your doctors can also prescribe some over-the-counter pain medication to help manage some of the symptoms while you wait for the antibiotics to kick in.
Unless it’s a severe case, UTI can be treated in the comfort of your home without causing too much disruption in your daily life.
How Can You Prevent UTI?
UTI may be common, but there are some things you can do to prevent it:
- Hydrate regularly to dilute urine and encourage frequent urination.
- Urinate when you need to and don’t hold it in.
- Urinate before and after sex.
- Wash the area around your genitals and anus with water and soap regularly.
- Any object that touches the anus should be washed or replaced before making contact with genitals (e.g. sex toys, genitals, condoms, etc.).
- Women should wipe their vagina from front to back until it is clean and dry each time they urinate and have a bowel movement.
- Minimize the use of deodorant sprays, douches, or powders in the genital area.
- Avoid birth control methods that can contribute to bacterial growth (e.g. diaphragms, unlubricated condoms, spermicides, etc.).
- Consider taking certain supplements that can strengthen your immune system or prevent the growth of bacteria (e.g. probiotics, vitamin C, etc.).
One of the most popular UTI home remedies is cranberry juice. There are conflicting findings about its use to prevent or cure UTI, but it may help ease UTI symptoms for women who suffer from recurring UTIs.
Where Can You Get A UTI Treated?
You can seek a Urologist for Urinary Tract Infection treatment, or talk to your primary care physician to point you in the right direction. Our trained and experienced medical professionals at Midwest Urological Group can treat patients in Peoria, IL, and surrounding areas.
When it comes to dealing with UTI, early diagnosis and treatment is key. It’s important to see your healthcare provider as soon as you begin experiencing any of the symptoms to avoid more serious complications.
Once you complete your treatment, you should be back to your old self in no time!
If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment for UTI evaluation and treatment in Peoria, IL call Midwest Urological Group at (309) 692-9898.