Having a urinary tract infection (UTI) can feel brutal. The constant urge to urinate is uncomfortable and disruptive. To add insult to injury, having a burning sensation while peeing can make even the most mundane of acts feel like torture.
What can you do when experiencing a UTI? Is there anything you should avoid in order to make it heal quicker?
What Is a Urinary Tract Infection?
The urinary tract is a system composed of the bladder, kidneys, ureters, and the urethra. An infection to any of these components is called as a urinary tract infection.
Urinary Tract Infection Symptoms
Although a UTI can be asymptomatic in some people, those who experience symptoms go through a lot of discomforts, such as:
- Strong, constant need to urinate
- Foul-smelling urine
- Cloudy urine
In addition, depending on where in the tract the infection is present, the patient may experience extra symptoms.
UTI Symptoms In the Kidneys
If the infection is located in the kidneys, the signs will also include back pain, fever, nausea, and vomiting.
UTI Symptoms In the Bladder
If the infection is in the bladder (also known as cystitis), the person will experience pelvic pain, pressure on the lower abdomen, and either red or brown urine, which indicates the presence of blood.
UTI Symptoms In the Urethra
If the infection is in the urethra, the patient also experiences burning while urinating.
Causes of Urinary Tract Infections
UTIs are caused when bacteria enter the urinary tract. This could occur due to several reasons, such as wiping front to back after a bowel movement, having a sexually transmitted disease, or an increased frequency of sexual intercourse.
Additionally, certain lifestyle factors or underlying medical conditions can increase the risk of developing a UTI, as discussed below.
Urinary Tract Infection Risk Factors
While both men and women can experience a urinary tract infection, they are more common in women. The risk is increased if a woman is pregnant. Other factors that increase the likelihood of a UTI include:
- Kidney Stones
- Using a urinary catheter
- Poor personal hygiene
- Certain types of contraception
- Certain types of feminine hygiene products
Urinary Tract Infection Diagnosis & Treatment
A UTI can be diagnosed by conducting a urine sample. In most cases, the condition can be cleared by treating it for a couple of days (usually between two or three days). If it’s mild, over-the-counter pain relievers may suffice.
There are also simple home remedies to clear out the urinary tract, such as drinking a lot of water, increasing intake of Vitamin C, and taking a cranberry supplement. If you prefer juice to vitamins, make sure to purchase pure cranberry juice, since the alternative contains a high sugar content which can worsen the condition.
If the infection patient has developed cystitis or a kidney infection, the medical provider will prescribe antibiotics. In the most severe of cases, treatment could last up to several weeks.
Urinary Tract Infection Complications
The most common complication of suffering from a UTI is recurring urinary tract infections.
The most serious complications include permanent kidney damage and sepsis. If the patient is elderly, he or she may also experience an increased heart rate, difficulty breathing, brain inflammation, organ failure, or even death. Therefore, if you or a loved one is of advanced age, seek medical attention for a UTI immediately.
Urinary Tract Infection Prevention
There are several things a person can do to prevent contracting a urinary tract infection:
- Stay hydrated
- Urinate after sexual intercourse
- Avoid using spermicide
- Wear cotton underwear
- Wipe front to back
- Decrease caffeine intake
- Decrease alcohol intake
- Use menstrual cups, sanitary pads, or period-proof underwear
24-Hour Emergency Room Services in Colorado Springs and Texas
If you have a urinary tract infection, let us help you. If you have questions or need immediate treatment, your nearest Complete Care location is ready to help, no matter the time of day or night. We offer a variety of services to help you and your family in your time of need. No appointments are necessary.
Find the Complete Care location nearest you.