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If you’ve ever had UTI, you understand how painful and unpleasant they can be. However, you might want to take precautions to avoid acquiring a UTI in the first place.

The following tips can help you feel better, if you are dealing with UTI. But first,

What is UTI?

Before dealing with UTI we need to understand it better. This is an infection that happens in any part of your urinary system. The most common infection involves the lower urinary tract. These parts are the:

  • Kidneys
  • Uterus
  • Bladder
  • Urethra

A urinary tract infection (UTI) happens when microorganisms enter the urinary system and cause infection. Bacteria is almost always the cause of UTI, although some viruses, parasites, and fungi can infect the urinary tract as well.

Women are at higher risk of developing an UTI than men. This is because women have a short urethra. Another possible route is through the bloodstream.

“If a woman has fever, chills, flank pain, and kidney stones, she should drink a lot of fluid, but it’s imperative she sees a health care provider immediately for urine culture,” says Ms. Fick, a Mayo Clinic urogynecology physician assistant.

Look out for symptoms like:

  • pain when urinating
  • feeling pain on your lower back and centre of the pelvis
  • passing frequent small amount of urine
  • urine that appears cloudy
  • a strong persistent urge to urinate
  • strong smelling urine 

Your urine doesn’t contain bacteria; it’s the by-product of the filtration system in your kidneys. Your body removes excess water (removed from the blood) and waste products to create urine.

Urine moving through your urinary system isn’t contaminated, but bacteria can get into your urinary system from outside, causing the inflammation. (UTI)

Who gets urinary tract infections?

Anyone can get the infection. It is however more common in women. One out of every five women has it for life. This is because the tube that carries urine (urethra) is shorter in women and is located near the bowel. It is where E Coli bacteria is common. Consequences may occur if the bacteria spreads to your kidney. It is advisable to take caution early. 

Tips on dealing with UTI infections

When you notice some of the symptoms of UTI, start taking actions . Dr. Fick of Mayo Clinic advises against prescribing the medicines for yourself. It’s better to consult with your doctor first.

Meanwhile, there are some home remedies that can help manage the symptoms. These are:

(i) Hygiene

Always pee after sex

Make sure to always wipe from front to back. Doing this after urinating or after a bowel movement will help you prevent bacteria in the anal region spreading to your urethra.

You should also use good hygiene practices during your menstrual cycle to avoid infections. Changing pads and tampons frequently.

Scented condoms should be avoided since they promote bacterial development. Doing so will help prevent infections.

If you experience vaginal dryness during sex, it’s advisable to use a water-based lubricant. 

Switching to cotton underwear will help prevent moisture from being trapped around your urethra.

Check out this article on 12 general feminine hygiene tips every woman should know.

(ii) Drinking plenty of liquid (water)

Drinking lots of liquids helps in flushing bacteria from your urinary tract. If you drink at least 1.5 liters of water daily, you are less likely to get another UTI.

Garlic Water is known to have worked like magic. Crush and drink garlic 3 times a day for best results. You can also include it in your diet.

(ii) Take Vitamin C

Vitamin C improves immune system function and, by reducing urine pH, can kill germs. This potent antioxidant may help to alleviate UTI symptoms.

(iv) Drink cranberry juice without sugar.

Cranberry juice has been shown in studies to help treat UTI symptoms and lessen the frequency with which they occur.

(v) Changes in habits

Using deodorant or perfume in the genital area can irritate the urethra.

Live UTI free

Tests to diagnose the infection

  • Urinalysis: The test examines urine for red or white blood cells and bacteria. Depending on the number of cells found in your blood, it will indicate the infection 
  • Urine culture: This test helps determine the type of bacteria in your urine, which will help to identify the appropriate medication.

If the infection persists and you keep getting the infection repeatedly, your doctor may need to do more tests to examine your urinary tract. Some of the tests are:

  • Cystoscopy uses an instrument fitted with a lens and a cystoscope (lens) to see inside the urethra.
  • Ultrasound sound waves create an image of the internal organ. The test doesn’t need any penetration.
  • A CT scan is an X-ray type that takes place across the body.

Treatment

Treatments for bladder infections and other UTIs may include

  • Antibiotics: These are medicines that kill and fight infection. They are typically used to treat urinary tract infection. Your doctor will provide some drugs that will treat bacteria causing the infection, some of the medicines are 
  • Sulphonamide 
  • Doxycycline 
  • Amoxicillin is the most common prescribed drug.
  • Nitrofurantoin 

The most important thing is to follow the prescription for taking the medicine. DON’T stop taking the drugs because your symptoms have gone away and you are feeling better. If the infection is not treated completely, the infection will return. People with frequent UTIs are occasionally given low-dose antibiotics for a period of time to prevent the infection from coming back. This approach to treating frequent UTIs is because your body can develop a resistance to the antibiotic and you can get other types of infections, such as C. diff (clostridium difficile) colitis.

In post-menopausal women, the doctor may suggest or prescribe an  oestrogen-containing vaginal cream which will reduce the risk of UTI by changing the Ph. of the vagina. We hope these tips will help you in dealing with UTI.

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