UTI or Urinary tract infection is infection of the urinary tract or bladder. Women are more likely to have this due to their anatomy and this condition is quite common during pregnancy due to hormonal changes.
What cause UTI?
UTI is caused by bacteria which may enter the urethra and then may travel to bladder and in extreme cases kidneys. Bacteria multiply within the body parts where urine pools and this causes irritation and pain.
What are the symptoms of UTI?
In many cases there may not be any symptoms at all and you may not know that you have urine infection till your doctor runs a urine test. In other cases, some common symptoms bladder infection are :
- Pain or discomfort when passing urine.
- Urge to urinate often.
- Pain in lower abdomen.
- Foul odour in urine.
- Blood or pus in urine.
- Urine looks brown or cloudy
Does UTI affect only women?
UTI can affect anyone but women are usually more likely to catch it because the anatomy due to which bacteria can easily travel to urethra and up the urinary tract from there. Most sexually active women catch UTI atleast once in their lifetime.
Are pregnant women more susceptible to UTI?
UTI is common in pregnant women and upto 10% of women have UTI during pregnancy. Due to hormonal changes and enlargement of uterus which presses the bladder leading to accumulation of urine in bladder. This forms the perfect breeding ground for bacteria, which leads to infection.
How is UTI diagnosed?
UTI is diagnosed using urine test and urine culture. It can confirm if you have infection-causing bacteria in urine.
How is UTI treated?
UTI is easily treated using antibiotics. Your doctor will give a course of antibiotics for 3-5 days. You will usually feel relief within 2-3 days but it is important to complete the course to ensure there is no residual bacteria which may bring back the infection.
What if UTI is left untreated?
UTI can become serious if left untreated. Bacteria residing in bladder may move up through ureters to kidneys. Kidney infection can lead to serious implications like pre-term labour, low-birthweight baby. Symptoms of kidney infection include chills, high fever and vomiting other than common symptoms.
How can I prevent UTI?
UTI can be prevented to certain extent by maintain good hygiene and following some other steps:
- Drink plenty of water and other fluids. Water flushes out any bacteria that may be present in urinary tract.
- Avoid too much sugar.
- After using toilet, wipe yourself from front to back to avoid chances of bacteria from feces traveling to urethra.
- Wash well between legs with mild soap and water but avoid using scented products.
- Use bathroom whenever you feel the urge to go and empty your bladder completely.
- Wear cotton underwear and change it every day.
- Do not share your towel with anyone.