Urinary Tract Infection: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

A urinary tract infection (UTI) is a painful and annoying condition that can affect people of all ages. Women are more prone to UTIs than men, with statistics indicating that women experience them about thirty times more frequently than men. This article will explore the leading causes of these infections, how to prevent them, the accompanying symptoms, and the best ways to treat them.

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Omooma
Published on:Jan 11th 2024 |Updated on:Mar 10th 2024
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What is Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)?

UTI is one of the most common infections that affect humans. In most cases, it is caused by bacteria that grow in the urinary system, which includes the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. Bacteria can infect any of these organs, and in some cases, the cause of the infection may be a virus or fungi.

Causes and Risk Factors

  • Bacterial transfer from the anus to the urethra emphasizes the importance of front-to-back wiping for women to avoid the transfer of bacteria from feces to the urinary tract.
  • Weakened immune system due to chronic diseases such as diabetes, multiple sclerosis, or kidney stones.

Women are more susceptible to UTIs due to factors such as: 

  • A shorter urethra located near the vagina and anus, increasing the likelihood of bacterial transfer.
  • Pressure on the bladder during intercourse can also contribute to UTIs. Therefore, doctors recommend peeing after having sex to reduce this pressure.
  • Certain birth control methods, like non-lubricated condoms, may increase the risk of UTIs in women.
  • Urinary tract infections are more common during pregnancy.
  • Decreased Estrogen levels during menopause alter vaginal bacteria levels, increasing the likelihood of UTIs in women of this age group.

Preventing Urinary Tract Infections

  • Ensure an adequate daily water intake, ranging from 6 to 8 cups.
  • Wear cotton underwear for breathability.
  • Opt for loose and comfortable clothing, avoiding tight underwear or jeans that can create a moist environment favoring bacterial growth.
  • Avoid holding urine; urinate multiple times throughout the day.
  • Maintain personal hygiene, using water to clean the sensitive areas and ensuring thorough drying, with front-to-back wiping for females.
  • Avoid using vaginal douches and wet wipes for vaginal cleaning.
  • Consult a gynecologist about the possibility of localized or vaginal estrogen therapy for women during menopause.

Symptoms

  • Lower back pain and side pain.
  • Chills.
  • Darkening of urine color.
  • Foul-smelling, strong urine odor.
  • Fever.
  • General fatigue and weakness.
  • Pelvic pain in women.
  • Burning sensation during urination.
  • Inability to fully empty the bladder.
  • Nausea and vomiting.

Diagnosis

If you or any family member experiences these symptoms, it is crucial to consult a doctor immediately. The physician will conduct a clinical examination, inquire about the medical history and symptoms, and request laboratory tests to identify the cause of the infection and prescribe appropriate treatment. In cases of recurrent UTIs, additional tests like ultrasound or CT scans may be recommended to rule out more serious conditions such as bladder cancer.

Treatment of Urinary Tract Infections

  • Treatment depends on the cause of the infection. If bacteria are the culprits, antibiotics will be prescribed, and it is essential to complete the prescribed course even after symptoms subside. Adequate water intake is also crucial to flush out the infection.
  • Cranberry juice or supplements are recommended for prevention and treatment due to their active ingredient's ability to combat E. coli, a major cause of UTIs, especially in women.
  • If the infection is viral or fungal, the doctor will prescribe appropriate antiviral or antifungal medication, and adherence to the prescribed treatment is vital for successful recovery.
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Omooma is the first Online platform offering classes in Arabic dedicated to mothers and mothers-to-be. In addition to content covering many relevant topics, women’s health, pregnancy, fertility, child’s health, and parenting. Omooma’s articles are written by medical writers, based on extensive research, and reviewed by a panel of experts who are part of the largest team of experts available in the region in all fields related to the journey of motherhood.

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