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What is an urinary tract infection?

Urinary infections are the second most common type of infection in the human body, after the respiratory infections. They are usually caused by bacteria, but they can also be caused by viruses or fungi.

Urinary tract infections are divided into lower urinary tract infections when the urethra and the bladder are affected, or the upper urinary tract infections when the kidneys are affected.

What causes an urinary infection?

Urinary tract infections are usually caused by E. Coli, which is commonly found in the gastrointestinal tract.

It is known that urinary infections are more common among women than men. The reason this occurs is that the urethra is shorter in females than in males, which makes it easier for the bacteria to enter the urinary tract.

Diaphragms, spermicides, condoms can cause urinary infection. This is thought to be as the result of the irritation of the skin in the pelvic area, which makes it easier for the bacteria to enter the urethra.

Even sexual intercourse is a known factor that causes urinary tract infections. It is very important to urinate immediately after the intercourse, so this will reduce the amount of bacteria in the bladder. The bladder normally eliminates this bacteria within 24h.

Diabetes makes it harder for your body to fight health problems, so bacteria get multiplied and cause infections quicker if you suffer from diabetes.

Personal hygiene is also very important.

What are the symptoms of a urinary tract infection?

Symptoms of a urinary tract infection are:

  • Frequent urination
  • Incomplete emptiness of the bladder
  • Pain during urination
  • Changed urine color and sometimes even blood in the urine
  • Smelly urine
  • Pain in the pelvis and if the kidneys are affected pain in the lower back
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Generally ill feeling, etc.

Seek medical help if you have any of these symptoms.

How is a urinary tract infection diagnosed?

Urinary tract infections are diagnosed with lab analysis of the urine, urinoculture. Your doctor might also order an ultrasound of the bladder and kidneys, cystoscopy and intravenous pyelogram.

How is a urinary tract infection treated?

Urinary tract infections are very common in women. If left untreated, they can cause some serious damages.

Lower urinary tract infections usually require only oral antibiotics, while upper urinary tract infections require intravenous administration of antibiotics.

Drink a lot of fluids, water is always the best. Drink cranberry juice. It won't cure the infection, but it will help reduce the risk of recurrence, especially in women.

Eat healthy. Consume a lot of antioxidant-rich and nutrient-rich food. This will help your body in the fight against infections.

It is very important to take the entire course of medication prescribed by your doctor as urinary tract infections can easily become resistant if you don't take the medication as prescribed.

Do not drink alcohol while on antibiotics, because it weakens their effectiveness.

Take a good care of your personal hygiene. Avoid tampons, scented pads and deodorants as they are able to move your bodies natural protective barrier.

Always wipe from front to back.

Take a shower instead of a bath. Avoid swimming pools.

Wear cotton underwear.

Keep in mind that about one in five women who have suffered once from a urinary tract infection, will suffer again.
Some women can get couple of urinary infections in one year.

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