UTI is an abbreviation for Urinary Tract Infection. It is an infection that can affect any component of the urinary system, including the kidneys, bladder, ureters (the tubes that connect the kidneys to the bladder), and urethra (the tube that drains urine from the bladder). The lower urinary system, which contains the bladder and urethra, is the most usually affected by UTIs.
UTIs are primarily caused by bacteria, the most common of which is Escherichia coli (E. coli). These bacteria can enter the urinary tract via the urethra and grow, causing illness. UTIs can produce symptoms such as frequent urination, urinating with a burning feeling, murky or bloody urine, and a strong desire to urinate.
How can you know that you have UTI?
The symptoms of a UTI vary depending on which portion of the urinary system is infected, however the following are common:
- Urinary pain or a burning sensation: This is a typical symptom of this infection and is often one of the first indicators.
- Urination: You may feel the need to urinate more frequently than normal.
- Urgency: You may experience a strong and sudden desire to urinate.
- Cloudy, bloody, or strong-smelling urine: Changes in the appearance or odor of urine can be a sign of a UTI.
- Pain or discomfort in the lower abdomen or back: Some patients who have UTIs suffer pain or discomfort in the lower abdomen or back.
- Fatigue or shakiness: This infection can produce fatigue or a general feeling of being sick in some circumstances.
What causes UTI?
UTIs are primarily caused by bacteria entering and proliferating in the urinary system. The bacterium Escherichia coli (E. coli), which is generally found in the gastrointestinal system, is the most prevalent cause of these infections. The following are some of the most common causes and risk factors for UTIs:
- Bacterial Entry: Bacteria, most commonly E. coli, can enter the urinary tract and migrate upward through the urethra. This might occur as a result of insufficient wiping after a bowel movement, sexual activity, or poor hygiene.
- Female Anatomy: Women are more prone to UTIs than males because their urethras are shorter, allowing bacteria to enter the bladder more easily.
- Sexual activity can introduce bacteria into the urinary tract, resulting in a urinary tract infection. This is sometimes known as “honeymoon cystitis.”
- Urinary Catheters: Users of urinary catheters are more likely to develop these infections because the catheter might introduce bacteria into the urinary system.
- Obstruction: Anything that obstructs the flow of urine, such as kidney stones or an enlarged prostate in men, can increase the risk of these urinary infections.
- Diabetes: High blood sugar levels can make bacteria in the urinary system grow more easily, increasing the risk of infection.
- Pregnancy: Urinary tract changes during pregnancy can render women more susceptible to urinary tract infections.
- Weakened Immune System: Immune-suppressive conditions or drugs, such as HIV/AIDS or chemotherapy, might increase the incidence of UTIs.
- Dehydration: Drinking insufficient water can cause urine flow to decrease and bacteria to grow in the urinary system.
- Menopause: Changes in the female genital and urinary tract after menopause can increase the risk of these urinary infections.
Is there any link between PCOS & UTI?
PCOS and urinary tract infections are two separate medical illnesses that affect different regions of the body, yet there can be indirect links between them. Here’s some information about how they might be related:
- Immune system weakness: Some PCOS sufferers may have undiagnosed medical issues that compromise their immune systems, making them more vulnerable to infections like UTIs. It may be more difficult for the body to fight against diseases if the immune system is weak.
- Lifestyle Factors: Obesity and insulin resistance are frequently linked to PCOS. The risk of UTIs may rise as a result of several conditions. Obesity may cause poor hygiene habits or make it more difficult to maintain healthy urinary tract function, both of which raise the risk of UTIs.
- Medication: The urinary system may be affected by several drugs used to treat the symptoms of PCOS, such as oral contraceptives or drugs to control menstrual cycles. Changes in urine pH or hormone levels may occasionally make urinary tract infections more likely.
- Hormonal Changes: Insulin resistance and high levels of androgens (male hormones) are two aspects of PCOS that are associated with hormonal abnormalities. The urinary system may be indirectly impacted by these hormonal changes, although a direct connection between PCOS and UTIs has not been proven.
How one can prevent UTI?
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) can be avoided through a variety of lifestyle and hygiene habits. These urinary infections are primarily caused by bacteria, most commonly Escherichia coli (E. coli), entering and proliferating in the urinary system. Here are some precautions you may take to lower your risk of UTIs:
- Keep Hydrated: Drinking lots of water helps your urinary tract be free of bacteria. If you’re active or living in a hot climate, aim to consume at least 8 glasses of water each day.
- Urinate frequently: Do not hold your urine for long periods of time. Urinating whenever you feel the need aids in the removal of microorganisms from your urinary system.
- Wipe front to back: Always wipe from front to back after using the toilet to prevent bacteria from the anal area from spreading to the urethra.
- Maintain Good Hygiene: Keep your genital area clean and avoid using harsh soaps, douches, or feminine hygiene products, which might upset the natural balance of microorganisms.
- Urinate Before and After Sexual Activity: Urinating before and after sexual activity will help flush out any bacteria that may have entered the urethra during sex.
- Select the Appropriate Birth Control: Certain kinds of birth control, such as diaphragms or spermicides, can increase the risk of UTIs. If you have recurring UTIs, talk to your doctor about your choices.
- Wear Breathable Underwear: Cotton underwear allows air to circulate and keeps the vaginal area dry, which can aid bacteria flourish.
- Avoid Irritants: Avoid potential irritants such as tight-fitting jeans, thong underwear, and excessive use of genital powders or creams.
- Maintain Immune Health: Having a robust immune system allows your body to fight infections more efficiently. Eat a well-balanced diet, exercise regularly, minimize stress, and get adequate sleep.
- Don’t Hold Urine Too Long: Delaying urination when you feel the need to go can allow bacteria to develop in your urinary tract.
- Consider Probiotics: According to some research, consuming probiotics may help maintain a healthy balance of microorganisms in the urinary tract.
- Avoid Antibiotic Overuse: Antibiotic overuse can disturb the balance of microorganisms in your body, making you more prone to urinary imfecitons in the long run. Antibiotics should only be taken if prescribed by a doctor.
Consult a healthcare physician if you get frequent UTIs. Depending on your unique situation, they may offer extra preventive measures or drugs, such as low-dose antibiotics or cranberry supplements. To properly treat recurring UTIs, it is critical to seek professional help.