According to Dr. Mark Allen, a Plano, Texas urologist, many people will suffer from a urinary tract infection, or a UTI, at some point in their life. It’s one of the most common reasons why teenagers visit a doctor in a given year. If you have not suffered from this type of infection then count yourself among the blessed few. Urinary tract infections are among the most common infections found in adults and are most commonly caused by bacteria. Seeking a cure for a UTI once symptoms appear is necessary so that the infection does not turn in to a larger problem.
The urethra is part of the urinary tract and is the body part in men and women that eliminates liquid waste (urine) from our bodies. Because the urethra is located in the genitals of both men and women, it often comes into contact with fluids that can harbor bacteria. The bacterium that causes the majority of urinary tract infections is E. Coli. E. Coli is most commonly passed through the bowel, but can come into contact with the urethra during sex, or if a woman does not clean herself properly after using the restroom (wiping from the front to the back). Other common causes of urinary tract infections are condom use, diaphragm use, and certain contraceptive pills.
Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) Symptoms
Occasionally a UTI will not be accompanied by symptoms, but when symptoms of a UTI present themselves they are similar to the following:
- A strong, persistent urge to urinate
- A burning sensation when urinating
- The feeling of being unable to empty your bladder
- Passing frequent, small amounts of urine
- Urine that appears cloudy
- Urine that appears bright pink or cola colored — a sign of blood in the urine
- Strong-smelling urine
- Pelvic pain, in women
- Rectal pain, in men
Every time an adult has a UTI, they are at an increased risk of having another and with every recurring UTI the risk for another goes up. The most common reason why an adult may suffer from recurring UTI infections is that they do not follow the full course of antibiotics prescribed by their doctor. Other reasons may be related to bad hygiene, frequent sex, not drinking enough water, or a change in diet.
Occasionally, frequent urinary tract infections are part of a bigger issue. If you are suffering from frequent recurring UTI infections and ongoing symptoms of a UTI, you need to see your doctor. At times a UTI is unaccompanied by symptoms. When this happens the bacterium which causes the infection of the urethra has time to spread to the bladder, and then onto the kidneys. Infections of the bladder and the kidneys are more severe and require a different type of medication. If you are being treated for a UTI but it recurs time and again, you need to speak with your doctor about cystoscopy to observe the bladder and kidneys and eliminate the concern of a bigger issue. Another cause of recurrent infections is a urologic abnormality. If the urethra is obstructed by anything such as a catheter, kidney stone, growth etc, UTI is extremely common and may be a result of the obstruction.
Symptoms associated with an infection of the kidneys and/or bladder will be more severe than symptoms of a UTI. They will include:
- Upper back and side (flank) pain
- High fever
- Shaking and chills
- Pelvic pressure
- Lower abdomen discomfort
- Frequent, painful urination
- Blood in urine
- Burning with urination
How to Avoid a Urinary Tract Infection
If you have never suffered from a urinary tract infection, or if you have and want to prevent it from reoccurring, the following tips have proven to lessen the possibility of infection:
- Urinating shortly following sexual activity (Men and Women)
- Properly wiping after using the restroom (from the front to the back)
- Prompt removal of diaphragm or condom after sexual activity
- Drink plenty of fluids
- Wearing cotton underwear and avoiding materials that do not allow the genitals to breath
If you feel like you may be suffering from a urinary tract infection you may try a number of home remedies, but a rule of thumb is to see your doctor the moment you feel pain, discomfort, or have concerns. The cure for a UTI is often an antibiotic. In order for this cure for a UTI to be effective, the medicine should be taken according to the prescription and not stopped halfway through treatment.