Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) can sometimes come as a surprise. It all starts suddenly, and before you know it, you might be dealing with burning pee sensations, frequent urination, bleeding, and painful peeing.
Understandably, it’s not a welcome situation for anyone. However, because of a lack of understanding, we often make a big deal out of it. Basic knowledge of UTI can help you to deal with the situation more effectively.
Health discusses an expert-opinion based discussion on UTIs, their causes, and possible ways to tackle them. Let’s find out more.
UTIs Can Develop through Bacterial Invasion, Mostly E Coli
Understanding UTIs is quite a simple affair. According to Patricia A. Wallace, a gynecologist and urologist at Providence Mission Hospital, Southern California, UTI develop through bacteria. These bacteria enter the urethra from the anal and vaginal areas and set up a colony there. Generally, they reside on the bladder surface.
So, these invading bacteria can ruin the fun for the healthy bacteria already present in the bladder. Hence, it can start a urinary tract problem.
In technical terms, Escherichia coli is the bacterial group responsible for most UTIs. E Coli is generally harmless when inside your bowel, but it can cause severe problems in the urinary tract.
The University of California concluded that E Coli is responsible for nearly 90% of UTIs. However, other bacteria like streptococci, proteus mirabilis, klebsiella, etc., are also responsible for many UTIs. At times, the fungus can be a culprit too.
UTI in the Upper Tract – How Does that Happen?
If you leave a UTI untreated for too long, the bacteria eventually lead up to the upper UTI. When the bacteria spend sufficient time in the bladder, they decide to move up to the kidneys. In comparison to a normal UTI, the upper UTI is quite alarming and requires immediate medical attention.
Otherwise, it can lead to kidney damage or possibly a life-threatening situation called Sepsis.
Upper UTI can cause painful urination, bloody or cloudy urine. Also, the symptoms include chills, fever, back pain, side or groin pain, nausea, and vomiting, etc.
Is UTI Different for Men and Women?
UTIs can be equally damaging to men. However, the ratio of infected women is substantially more significant as compared to men. UTIs occur 30 times more in women as compared to men.
According to Dr. Jennifer A. Linehan, a urologist at Saint John’s Cancer Institute in Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California, it’s mainly because of the anatomy that women get more UTIs than men.
She added that women’s urethra is considerably shorter as compared to men. In women, the urethra is about 1.5 inches long, while men can have up to 8-inches long urethra. Hence, there is a considerably longer distance for the bacteria to travel.
So, before they can get to the bladder, they are likely to be flushed out through the pee. As a result, they don’t get enough chances to develop a colony inside the tract.
Moreover, the urethral opening in women is very close to the vagina. In men, the opening is located on the tip of the penis, which is considerably distant from the anus. Since the anus and the tip of the penis are less likely to come in contact, the bacterial transfer virtually never happens.
As a result, men may get UTIs, but it’s not as common as in women.
Causes of UTIs
Given that bacteria are one of the causes of UTIs, there are other ways to get bacterial infections too. Here is a quick look.
Sex is one of the common causes of UTI. According to Dr. Wallace, sex is a common UTI cause, especially in young women. He added that it is possible to insert poop particles or stool contamination through your vagina during sex.
Therefore, it is an excellent practice to pee right after sex. It helps in getting rid of any harmful substances that might have transferred during sex.
How do You Wipe
This may sound ridiculous but how you wipe is also a reason for getting the infections. If you wipe back to front, you are literally driving the bacteria to their favorite place. Dr. Wallace suggests wiping from front to back to prevent UTIs.
Birth Control Pills
Birth control pills tend to slow spermicides and pee flow. Hence, it causes skin irritation which leads to UTI development. The research came from the National Institutes of Health, and it suggests that birth control can provide a hospitable environment for bacterial growth.
Don’t Hold Your Pee
Holding pee can cause bacterial infection as it provides friendly conditions for the bacteria to grow and wreak havoc. Dr. Linehan suggests that you need to empty the bladder immediately, especially after being exposed to them.
If not, the bacteria can quickly multiply and turn into tissue. So, waiting too long for the bathroom can end up in UTI development. Moreover, it also allows already present bacteria to turn into infections.
Kidney stones are another favorite place for bacteria to set up new colonies. Therefore, patients suffering from kidney stones may have to deal with the additional problems of UTIs.
According to Dr. Linehan, antibiotics can be a safe remedy for such bacteria, but it doesn’t eliminate the chances of bacteria from setting up the colonies again.
In fact, kidney stones are a safe harbor as the bacteria can hide from the antibiotics and resurface once the infection is gone.
Get Rid of the Bathing Suit
Once you’re out of the shower, don’t go about wearing the bathing suit. Wet conditions provide the right environment for the bacteria to develop into an infection. Likewise, if your underwear is damp, change in immediately to prevent bacterial infections.
Keeping a dry anal and vaginal area is a good way to prevent UTI development.
UTIs can occur due to many reasons and in many ways. However, it is important to treat the symptoms on time and not let them develop into a bigger problem.
You may need an antibiotic course, but that’s okay. In case you are facing UTI symptoms, it is best to consult your physician right away.