Urinary Tract Infection or UTI is very common in women. This is a bacterial infection of the urinary tract. The common symptoms include frequent urination, burning sensation and pain in the lower abdomen. Know more about UTI, its causes and its prevention.
One of the very common and niggling health conditions that afflict many women in their reproductive years is Urinary Tract Infection or UTI. This is a bacterial infection of the urinary tract, which includes the urethra, but can also affect the bladder and kidneys. Right from the onset of puberty to the post-menopausal period, most women experience it some time or the other.Pain ,
While the infection as such is not serious, it can be so in pregnant women. There is an increased risk of kidney infection, pyelonephritis in pregnant women with UTI. This is a far serious condition, and if neglected or untreated, can even lead to kidney failure. The incidence of infection of the kidney increases in the third trimester of pregnancy. Catheterization (a process of draining urine by inserting a tube into the bladder) often done during childbirth can trigger off an infection. An infection during pregnancy may result in complications such as premature birth, low birth weight
or even death of the foetus. Therefore, a regular urine test is
recommended during pregnancy to eliminate the risk of urinary infection.
The most common cause of UTI is a bacterium called Esherichia coli or better known as E.coli,
which resides in the colon. As the urethra is short and close to the
anus, the chances of the bacteria traveling there and deeper inwards
are very high. The bacteria multiply in the urinary tract and if
neglected can give rise to bladder infection, which is called cystitis. There are other causative bacteria, chlamydia and mycoplasma,
which is transmitted through sexual intercourse and travels from the
vagina to urethra. In this case, both partners have to be medically
treated to prevent recurrence.
Often, a mild infection will not even be noticed as UTI can be
asymptomatic, but for someone who is prone to recurrent infections, the
signs are prominent. There is:
Feeling of heaviness of bladder even after passing urine.
A burning sensation while passing urine.
Frequent urination, but the quantity of urine passed is not much.
Pain in the lower abdomen and lower back.
A cloudy appearance and a strong odour to the urine.
While a course of antibiotics
is enough to tackle the infection, there are a few precautions you can
take to minimise its occurrence. These are:
Drink plenty of water and include fluids in your diet to flush out the urinary tract of bacteria.
Never resist the urge to urinate.
Keep the genitals in good hygiene - clean and dry, especially before and after a sexual intercourse.
It is a good idea to urinate after a sexual intercourse to flush out the bacteria.
Cotton undergarments are better than synthetic as they allow the skin to breathe and discourage moisture.
Avoid douches or scented toiletries, which can irritate the urethra.
Always clean the genital area front to back to prevent organisms
from the anal region traversing to the urinary tract. Also, showers are
more effective than dunking baths.
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