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UTI Infection In Women: 8 Common Questions Answered!

UTI infection questions

Did you know about 50% of women experience a urinary tract infection (UTI) compared to 12% for men[1]? Approximately, 60% of all women experience at least one UTI within their lifetime and roughly 20–30% of women suffer from repeated infections[2]. UTI in women is a common bacterial infection. Several factors can put you at risk of UTI which includes sexual activity, vaginal hygiene, and hormonal problems such as diabetes. While most women are aware of UTI infection, there are many questions that need to be answered right from why do women get UTI to knowing if home treatment for UTI is a good option.

Here are some of the common questions on UTI infection answered for every woman who wishes to know in detail about the infection.

1. How does a woman get a urinary tract infection?

Although the urinary tract is a sterile environment, in a woman it acts as one of the most susceptible sites for bacterial infections. This is because the urethra is shorter in women as compared to men. It is also close to the anus, which makes it easy for the bacteria to enter the urinary tract and cause an infection. Additionally, changes in the vaginal pH can also trigger bacterial growth, which in turn can lead a UTI infection in women.

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2. Can a man pass a UTI to a woman?

The chances of getting a urinary tract infection from a man depend on the cause of the infection. This is because, during sexual activity, the urinary tract may be colonized by bacteria that move from the bowel or vagina. Moreover, it can make the symptoms worse by irritating the inflamed tissues.

3. How long does a UTI last untreated?

In most cases, UTI infection can subside within a week or two post-treatment. However, if left untreated, it can last to several months. Moreover, there is a high chance that the infection might spread to other parts of the body such as the kidneys, which can lead to kidney infection. Also, in rare cases, it can lead to sepsis, a life-threatening infection of the blood which can lead to severe complications.

4. What are the symptoms of UTI?

Urinary tract infections usually do not cause any signs and symptoms until late in its course. In some cases, the symptoms of UTI infection are often ignored or overlooked, especially in older women as symptoms caused due to old age. However, there are certain symptoms which every woman needs to be aware of and book an appointment with a gynecologist if the symptoms fail to improve in a day or two with home treatment. These include burning sensation during urination, frequent or intense urge to urinate even though little or nothing seems to come out and pain or pressure in the back or lower abdomen and rise in body temperature.

5. Do I need to see a doctor for a UTI?

As known, in most cases, a urinary tract infection does not cause any symptoms, which makes it difficult to diagnose. However, if you are experiencing any symptoms such as a persistent urge to urinate, burning sensation when urination, pain in the pelvic region, changes in urine color, consistency or smell, then do consult your gynecologist at the earliest. Your doctor might perform a physical examination and ask clinical history followed by an internal examination to know about your condition. He can even order a few tests to check for bacterial infection. Do consult a doctor if you experience any symptoms rather than self-medication.

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6. Can you get rid of UTI infection without antibiotics?

Antibiotics are the most commonly prescribed treatment for UTIs. Hence, it is advised to consult your doctor to know the right dose and type of antibiotic to treat the condition, Additionally, you can follow certain natural remedies which can help you to relieve the symptoms of UTI. These include:

-Drink a lot of water as it helps to flush the toxins and bacteria from the body

-Use hot water bags because it can help to soothe the pain, if not alleviate it completely

-Include probiotics in a diet as the microbial flora(good bacteria) in it helps to prevent the increase of microorganisms that cause illness.

7. Can probiotics help treat urinary tract infections?

One of the common causes of UTI is an imbalance in the normal bacterial flora in the intestine. Probiotics which contain good bacteria are used to help repopulate the normal flora in the GI tract. Probiotics are thought to aid the GI tract or vagina to resist the entry of pathogens and regulate the intestinal flora to treat UTI. Moreover, it also enhances the immune system, and increase the population of Lactobacillus that modulate local pH, which helps to keep the vagina healthy.

8. How do you stop a UTI when you feel it coming?

You can prevent UTI infection by following simple tips to maintain overall vaginal hygiene and health. Here are a few tips that can help:

– Maintain vaginal hygiene by washing the vagina with water and mild soap. Avoid using douches or any scented products to keep the vagina clean.

– Don’t hold your pee as the longer the urine stays in the bladder, the higher are the chances of bacterial overgrowth.

– Make sure you empty your bladder after sex as it can flush out any bacteria that could have migrated to the bladder during intercourse.

– Change your workout clothes right after you are done as excessive sweat can increase the risk of bacteria growth.

– If you are prone to UTI, it is best to avoid spermicides as it not only introduces bacteria into your vagina but also alter your vaginal pH.

If you have any more queries on UTI infection in women, then do let us know in the comments section below and we will get it answered for you. Share this article with every woman you know to spread awareness about UTI.

References:

1. Mansour A, Hariri E, Shelh S, Irani R, Mroueh M. Efficient and cost-effective alternative treatment for recurrent urinary tract infections and interstitial cystitis in women: a two-case report. Case Rep Med. 2014;2014:698758.

2. Rahman SR, Ahmed MF, Begum A. Occurrence of urinary tract infection in adolescent and adult women of shanty town in Dhaka City, Bangladesh. Ethiop J Health Sci. 2014 Apr;24(2):145-52.

3. Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections in Women: Diagnosis and Management. American Family Physician.

4. Minardi D, d’Anzeo G, Cantoro D, Conti A, Muzzonigro G. Urinary tract infections in women: etiology and treatment options. Int J Gen Med. 2011;4:333-43.

5. Flores-Mireles AL, Walker JN, Caparon M, Hultgren SJ. Urinary tract infections: epidemiology, mechanisms of infection and treatment options. Nat Rev Microbiol. 2015 May;13(5):269-84.

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