Type UTI on any search engine and the first thing you see is a link to track your PAN card. Quite laughable, isn’t it? But the sad reality is that commercial life is now the core of one’s key to wealth and prosperity. In a developing world, with potential for an advanced robotic environment, we spare hardly any time for problems that agonize a person and internally damages oneself. There are certain issues that young girls should deal with at an early age. Taking good care of your private parts is a must, irrespective of the gender! Taking a look at some of the grave dangers, it’s important to keep sanitation and hygiene in mind. Many people don’t know the dangers of UTI, and that in itself is a drawback for a developing country.
UTI or Urinary Tract Infections typically occur when bacteria enter the urinary tract through the urethra and begin to multiply in the bladder. Although the urinary system is designed to keep out such microscopic invaders, these defences sometimes fail. When that happens, bacteria may take hold and grow into a full-blown infection in the urinary tract. The most common UTIs occur mainly in women and affect the bladder and urethra; with cystitis (infection of the bladder) and urethritis (infection of the urethra), being the common ones.
Causes and Symptoms of UTI
At some point, women do experience a urinary tract infection. Thanks to our anatomy, women have more than 50% chance of contracting this infection.
- Problems with urine-Women often experience a strong, persistent urge to urinate and a burning sensation while urinating. A UTI can make you feel like you have a full bladder, but only dribbles come out when you actually take trips to the washroom.
- Colour changes in the urine- You tend to experience red, bright pink or cola-coloured urine as a sign of blood in it. Tremendous pain in the pelvic region around the pubic bone area, as well as cloudy, dark, bloody urine with a strange smell, are indications of trouble.
- Bodily problems– Women tend to experience pain or pressure in the lower abdomen and back area. There are symptoms of fever, tiresome routines and shakiness. With these signs, it may be an indication that the infection may have reached the kidneys.
- Urethra Tract– Women have a shorter urethra than men. Hence, the bacterium is more likely to reach the bladder or kidneys and cause an infection in women. In some cases, conditions like kidney stones block the urinary tract and can cause UTIs. Conditions like an enlarged prostate gland in men and constipation in children could be a causal factor too.
- Washing conditions– A key reason we’re often told to wipe ourselves from the front to the back after using the toilet is that the urethra is located relatively close to the anus. Bacteria from the large intestine such as E.coli can easily enter the urethra from the anus. Once that happens, it travels up the bladder and cause infections like cystitis and UTIs. If not treated, it does affect the kidneys as well.
- A weakened immune system due to type 2 Diabetes, chemotherapy or HIV could cause UTIs.
- Using urinary catheters– a tube used in your bladder that drains urine- can increase infections.
- Sexual intercourse can sometimes introduce bacteria into the urinary tract. However, urinating before and after having sex can help prevent their occurrence. Avoid having sex for some time because you can’t pass on the UTI, but it may be very uncomfortable.
- Women who use diaphragms for birth control may be at higher risk for UTIs, as well as women who use spermicidal agents.
- In the postmenopausal stage, the likelihood of having a UTI increases due to changes in the pH of the vagina which alters the balance of bacteria and yeast and paves way for them into the urethra.
Most UTIs clear up on their own, but if the symptoms are very uncomfortable or last longer than 5 days, medical help is then the best solution. Pregnant or diabetic women with a UTI should immediately consult medical advice.
- Consult your local pharmacy for immediate relief with Sodium Citrate sachets.
- Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration. Fluids will help get the antibiotics to the infected area faster and also help remove bacteria.
- Paracetamol can be used if feeling feverish and have a rising temperature.
- Consult a doctor if the initial treatments fail to work and if the infection is unresolved. They will prescribe you a broad spectrum antibiotic like amoxicillin. Check your allergies before consuming any antibiotics.
- Prescribed medication will help treat UTI thoroughly and it is important to finish the entire treatment even if you start to feel slightly better at an early stage of treatment.
Steps to Prevent UTIs
- Drink plenty of water and release yourself by making regular trips to the washroom with good intervals. By drinking plenty of fluids, your body, in a way, gets a stimulant to flush out all the harmful bacteria.
- Don’t use perfumed bubble bath, soap or talcum powder.
- Don’t hold your urine in if you feel the urge.
- Don’t wear tight, synthetic underwear, such as nylon.
- Don’t wear tight jeans or trousers.
- Don’t use condoms or diaphragms with spermicidal lube, try non-spermicidal lube or a different type of contraception.
A healthy lifestyle is all we’ve ever wished for. But achieving it requires a lot of care and guidance. Very often, UTI gets overlooked because of the lack of education, proper methods of hygiene and lack of knowledge for prevention techniques. Educating one another forms the basis of Women Empowerment and the will to do so helps to boost confident, healthy and hygienic human beings!