Urinary Tract Infections UTIs: Symptoms, Prevention and Treatment

As women, we deal with many bodily changes and discomforts throughout our lives, from cramps to menopause. Urinary tract infections, also known as UTIs, are also a prominent part of many women's lives and they can be incredibly painful and annoying.

It has been estimated that 40% of women will have a UTI in their lifetime, and many women will experience multiple cases. In contrast, only 12% of men develop a UTI. Women are naturally more prone to UTIs because they have a shorter urethra, meaning harmful bacteria is able to reach the bladder easier.

A urinary tract infection affects all the parts of the body that urine passes through before being eliminated from the body (kidneys, bladder, urethra and ureters). In order to understand how UTIs affect your body (and ultimately how to prevent it), you must first know the purpose of each of these body parts:

  • Bladder – the organ that collects and stores urine

  • Kidneys – one or two organs (depending on whether you have donated a kidney) responsible for removing excess water from the blood and releasing it in the form of urine

  • Ureters – the body part that drains the urine from each kidney into the bladder.

  • Urethra – the small tube that connects the bladder to the outside of the body, allowing you to urinate.

Continue reading to learn about the symptoms, possible prevention and treatment of these painful infections, or talk to your well women care physician.

UTI Prevention

Sometimes you may experience a UTI even when you take all precautions necessary to avoid them. However, these tips can help reduce your risk of contracting a UTI:

  • Drink plenty of water. This helps you urinate more frequently and eliminates bad bacteria from your urinary tract.

  • Avoid feminine hygiene products that could cause irritation. Deodorants, sprays, powder and douches can irritate the urethra. (Read about why you should never douche.)

  • Always wipe from front to back. This helps prevent anal bacteria from reaching the vaginal area.

  • Physicians recommend that you empty your bladder after intercourse to eliminate potential bacteria.

  • Avoid non-breathable, tight clothing. This can cause moisture build-up and create a possible UTI.

UTI Symptoms

Below are the most common symptoms a person may experience with a UTI. Some people may experience all of these symptoms, while others may only have one or none.

  • A burning sensation when you urinate.

  • Inability to urinate, but you feel like you need to empty your bladder.

  • Pressure or pain in your abdomen or lower back.

  • Urine that smells strange or has a cloudy, dark appearance.

  • Some people actually get a fever with a UTI, which generally means the infection has reached the kidneys.

UTI Treatment

If you suspect that you have a UTI, see your doctor immediately. Most likely you will be prescribed an antibiotic to eliminate the bad bacteria from your body.Make certain to finish all of the medication even if you start feeling better.

Some doctors also suggest your drink lots of water and cranberry juice. If you are in a tremendous amount of pain, the doctor may prescribe pain medicine as well as recommend you use a heating pad to help alleviate the pain.

If you suspect you have a UTI or any other health issue, please don’t hesitate to contact the compassionate and knowledgeable well woman care doctors at All About Women in Gainesville and Lake City immediately for a checkup.

We are here for you and will help you along every step of your wellness journey!

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