Urinary Tract Infection

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Photo by Kyle Broad on Unsplash

A woman has a 40 to 60 percent chance of getting a urinary tract infection (UTI) at some point in her life. That is quite high. I got mine at the age of 9. Just after my 9th birthday, I fell very ill with really high fever. I remember that, because my parents had planned a big party for me the weekend after my birthday. I lay in bed all dressed up in my new birthday dress, while my friends enjoyed cake and played games. On the bright side I got lots of birthday presents. I missed school for a while, and played with all the toys and board games, so all in all, perhaps that UTI wasn't so bad.

Why are UTIs more common in women?

UTIs are 8 times more likely in women than in men. The reason is the position and size of the urethra. The urethra in women is very small making it easier for pathogens to get in to the bladder. The urethra is also very close to both the vagina and the anus and the bacteria from these regions can easily enter the urethra.

Symptoms

The symptoms include increased frequency and urgency of urination, and a burning sensation while peeing. The urine itself may be bloody, or cloudy with a strong odor. Other symptoms include, pelvic pain, fatigue and fever.

Treatment

Depending on the cause of the UTI, it is treated with either antibiotic, or antiviral or anti-fungal medication. Lower tract bacterial UTIs can be easily treated with oral antibiotics while upper tract UTIs may require antibiotics that are administered intravenously.

In some cases after a UTI is treated, it recurs, usually due to reinfection by the same bacteria. This is called a recurrent UTI (RUTI). According to the previous link, RUTIs are common among otherwise healthy young women with as many as 36% having a recurrence within a year. In case of RUTI or chronic UTI, taking antibiotics so often is unpleasant. So this site suggests diet and lifestyle changes, that may help reduce the recurrence or discomfort of RUTIs.

Left untreated, UTIs can spread up the urinary tract in to the kidneys. It can also get in to the blood, causing sepsis.

Causes and risks

This website gives details on the causes and risk factors for UTIs which include, uncontrolled diabetes, dehydration, holding pee for too long, constipation, changing birth control methods, improper use of feminine hygiene products.

Sex is a common cause of UTIs, as it can result in a transfer of pathogens from the vagina or anus in to the urethra.

However washing genitals before and after sex, as was advised by medical professionals in the past, only increases the risk of UTIs by messing with the vaginal bacterial flora. Now doctors recommend peeing within half an hour of having sex to reduce the chances of a UTI.

I am thrilled to be participating in the A to Z blogging challenge 2018.

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Tags: AtoZ Challenge, health, hygiene, safety, women