Urinary tract infection is a type of infection in which the urinary tract gets infected with bacteria or fungi, especially yeast. Bacteria or yeast move into the tract through the urethra and start colonizing inside the tract. Moreover, If the infection is limited to the urinary bladder it is called cystitis, and if the infection spreads to the kidneys, is called nephritis.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Urinary Tract Infection?
- Frequent Urination (Need to pee again and again)
- Unable to pass Urine: A person with an active Urinary tract infection will feel hesitancy in passing urine /It will be dribbling and passing in the form of droplets.
- Pelvic pain and heaviness: As infection causes inflammation and pain. So a person with a urinary infection will always have Burning Urination and pelvic heaviness.
- A feeling of urination despite emptying the bladder.
- Fever and chills (mostly in kidney infections)
- Low back pain
- Blood in urine (in severe cystitis)
- Foul smelly urine
- Urine cloudy or dark yellow in color
- Vaginal itch and dryness in yeast infection.
- Urethral Redness
What are the Causes of UTI?
Urinary tract infection has the following causes
Poor Personal Hygiene:
Improper hygiene, especially after toilet use or sex, causes UTIs.
Use of Public Toilets:
During long travels, using public toilets can increase the risk of contracting urinary tract infections.
Using Public Swimming Pools:
It is common for people to contract urinary tract infections when they swim in public pools. Although most pool water is treated with chemicals like chlorine, many swimmers urinate in the pool. Therefore, if one person has a UTI, others may also become infected. To prevent infections, it is important to thoroughly wash your genital area after swimming in a public pool.
Unsafe Sexual Activity:
Engaging in unsafe sexual activities can increase the risk of developing urinary tract infections. If one partner is experiencing symptoms of a urinary infection, it is best to avoid sexual intercourse until the infection is treated. During sexual activity, the bacteria in the genital area can be pushed towards the urethra due to friction, which can lead to infection. It is recommended to wash the perineum after sexual intercourse to remove any thick secretions that may contribute to bacterial growth. By doing so, you can reduce the risk of developing a urinary tract infection.
Men with benign prostate hypertrophy or prostate cancer cause Urinary tract infections frequently because an enlarged prostate blocks the flow of urine so, the stasis of urine in the urinary tract causes bacterial growth.
Children and Older People:
Children on toilet training or on diapers and older people with many skin folds in the genital area and poor hygiene develop more UTIs.
Bedridden Patients with Indwelling Catheter:
Bedridden patients with chronic diseases having indwelling urinary catheters developed around 80% of urinary infections. The reason behind this is the stasis of urine in the catheter for longer hours and poor hygiene of premium and also when the catheter comes in contact with feces. In medical terminologies, this type of infection is called CAUTI BUNDLES. (Catheter-associated Urinary Tract Infections)
Patient with Low Immunity:
Patients with low immunity such as cancer patients receiving chemotherapy are at greater risk of developing urinary tract infections. Such patients are more vulnerable to catching infections due to compromised immunity.
Diabetic patients with uncontrolled sugar levels:
Diabetic patients have a high risk of developing urinary infections due to high sugar levels in urine.
Home Remedies of Urinary Tract Infection:
Following are some tips to follow at home to improve symptoms of urinary tract infections.
Drink Plenty of Fluids:
Drinking more and more fluids flush out the bacteria from the urinary tract and prevents colonization of bacteria.
Vitamin C is acidic in nature. However, eating fruits and drinks containing vitamin C makes urine acidic and kills bacteria.
Use of Probiotics: (food containing probiotics)
Probiotics are supplements containing good bacteria, that naturally exist in our body and help to protect us from harmful bacteria that cause diseases. When the levels of good bacteria decrease in our body, it becomes easier for harmful bacteria to grow and cause infections. By taking probiotics, we can increase the number of good bacteria and help our body fight off infections more effectively.
Use Cranberry Juice:
Although the actual action of cranberry juice is unclear, some studies suggest that cranberry juice is acidic in nature and kills bacteria. While some studies show cranberry juice makes bacteria harder to stick to the walls of the urinary tract, this causes the shedding of bacteria from the urinary tract so in this way it lowers the burden of bacteria and treats infections.
Improve Personal Hygiene: Personal hygiene is very necessary in the treatment and prevention of infection especially wearing clean undergarments and washing off the genital area after using the toilet and sexual activity.
Check your Blood Sugars: Diabetic Patients especially those with uncontrolled sugar levels are at high risk of developing urinary tract infections. So, keep checking your sugar levels and avoid urinary tract infections.
Contact your health care provider:
However, above all home remedies are to reduce the symptoms and prevent further growth, The actual treatment for urinary tract infection is the use of antibiotics to kill the bacteria identified on the basis of the results of urine culture and sensitivity tests. Must consult your health care provider, if you feel the above symptoms especially when you have a fever with chills.
What are the Complications of Urinary Tract Infection?
Urinary tract infection can cause severe complications if not treated on time. It usually because following complications
Permanent Kidney Damage: Severe and untreated urinary tract infection can lead to permanent kidney damage due to sepsis and continued swelling in nephrons
Low Birth Weight Babies: Reoccurrence of Urinary tract infections in pregnancy and not treated on time can lead to low birth babies.
Severe sepsis can lead to life-threatening situations.
Narrowed Urethra in Men: The Urethra becomes narrowed in men due to repeated or prolonged inflammation due to infection. Moreover, the narrowed urethra leads to urinary obstruction and urinary incontinence.
Urinary tract infections should never be ignored. While there are many simple home remedies that can help manage their symptoms, it’s essential to seek proper treatment from a healthcare provider. Delaying treatment can lead to irreversible damage, making it all the more important to take urinary tract infections seriously and manage them promptly.