Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
A urinary tract infection (UTI) is a common bacteria (E. coli) infection of the urinary system, which includes the kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra. The lower urinary tract refers to just the bladder and the urethra, and an infection can develop in either of these areas.
These infections occur much more frequently in women than in men, and can cause intense pain. In men, bacteria gets into the urinary tract through the urethra, a tube that drains urine from the bladder through the penis. UTIs are more common in women than in men because their urethra is shorter and the bacteria need to travel a shorter distance to reach their bladder.
Symptoms of a urinary tract infection include:
- Burning with urination
- Strong, constant urge to urinate
- Blood in the urine
- Back pain
If you are experiencing symptoms of a urinary tract infection, see your doctor right away. If left untreated, this condition can lead to kidney infections and cause permanent damage to the kidneys. A urinary tract infection can usually be treated with antibiotics.
VIDEO SERIES | URINARY TRACT INFECTION (UTI)
Approximately 40% of women and 12% of men will experience at least one symptomatic urinary tract infection (UTI) during their lifetime. Responsible for more than 7 million visits to physicians’ offices per year, UTIs are treatable and possibly preventable if certain steps are followed.
In this educational video, Dr. Russell Freid discusses the possible causes and treatment options for Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs).
How to Prevent a Urinary Tract Infection
Drinking a minimum of eight cups of water helps you flush out your urinary tract. Be sure to drink plenty of water daily to avoid an increased risk of developing a UTI.
Choose a Shower Over a Bath
Taking a bath every once in a while can be relaxing. However, taking a shower prevents bacteria from entering the urethra, which can cause a UTI.
Avoid Scented Hygiene Products
Scented feminine hygiene products can irritate the urethra. Instead of choosing a scented tampon or feminine hygiene spray, opt for an unscented product to decrease the risk of irritation.
Don’t Hold It In
When you need to urinate, do it. Women who hold in urine are more likely to develop a UTI because bacteria is more likely to develop the longer you hold it in.
Take Vitamin C Supplements
Vitamin C can help neutralize the bacteria in urine, which may reduce the chance of getting a UTI. In addition to taking vitamin C supplements, drinking cranberry juice is also helpful in both lowering the chance of getting a UTI and speeding up recovery from a UTI.