What Is Urinary Tract Infection?
The urinary tract is a very important system in your body. It comprises of kidneys, ureters, urinary bladder and urethra. There are tubes that connect the kidneys to the urinary bladder and these tubes are called the urinary tubes. When germs or pathogenic organisms like fungi, bacteria or parasites enter into the urinary tract system, it will cause an infection called the urinary tract infection. There are specific terms for the infections caused on the specific organs and parts of the urinary tract. Some of them are as follows:
- Cystitis, which is a bladder infection
- Pyelonephritis which is a kidney infection
- Urethritis which is urethral infection
- Ureter infection
Urinary tract infection is a very common disease and it is seen to offer more in females than in males. A person suffering from urinary tract infection might suffer from a burning sensation while urinating to organ damage or even death depending on the type of infection, severity of the infection and the organ or the area where the infection is prevalent. The urinary tract infection cannot be transmitted from one person to the other. But, there is a general argument that having sexual intercourse can sometimes cause urinary tract infection. So, it is better to clean your genitals thoroughly before a love making session. A bladder infection is not that serious if treated properly and the right way. Most of the urinary tract infections would be related to bladder. If you do not provide the necessary care to your bladder, then there is every chance for the infection to spread to the kidneys and this is a serious infection which can also cause permanent damage.
Causes For Urinary Tract Infection
The most common cause of urinary tract infection is the E. Coli bacterial strains that normally live in your large intestines and are also found in your stool. The infection can occasionally be caused by fungi or some parasites as well.
- The germs enter into your body through the urethra and this is the tube that helps in carrying out the urine in your bladder to the outside of your body through your penis or vagina.
- The germs inside the urethra have the tendency to travel to the bladder or the kidneys and cause infections to kidneys and bladder.
- As women have a shorter urethra than men, they are susceptible to bladder or kidney infections and the germs will be able to easily move up to the bladders.
Urinary Tract Infection Symptoms
Symptoms In Men
Some of the most common urinary tract symptoms that you will see commonly in men are:
- Burning sensation while urinating
- Urine is a bit cloudy
- Desire to urinate frequently, but in small amounts
- Strong unpleasant odor of the urine
- Dark urine or sometimes bloody urine
- Rectal pain, which means that you might be suffering from kidney infection
- Back pain, a symptom of kidney infection
- Penile pain while urine discharge
- Abdominal and testicular pain
Symptoms In Women
The following are the common symptoms that you will come across in women suffering from urinary tract infection:
- Urgency to urinate frequently
- Urinating in small quantities with frequent intervals
- Cloudy, dark or bloody urine
- Strong unpleasant odor of urine that you urinate
- Pelvic pain
- Fever and chills
- Back pain or side pain
- Discharge from vagina and bloating
Symptoms In Children
- Burning sensation while urinating
- Bloody, cloudy urine
- Fever and vomiting
- Temptation to frequently urinate though in small amounts
- Poor feeding
- Bed wetting
- Jaundice and diarrhea
Urinary Tract Infection Diagnosis And Treatment
A doctor or a physician will ask for a sample of urine to see if there are germs in your urinary tract system that can cause bladder infections. If the test conducted in your urine shows traces of bladder infection, then extra testing will be done to find why you have suffered from this infection. Antibiotics are the most common medicines that doctors will prescribe for you if you are found to suffer from bladder infection. The treatments for urinary tract infections differ from one person to another and depend on a lot of factors like:
- Medical condition of the patient
- Type of pathogens responsible for the infection
- Severity of the infection
- The parts of the urinary system that is affected by the infection
- Vulnerability of the pathogens to treatments.
Some people might just need to take certain oral antibiotics and drink plenty of water to cleanse their bladder to get rid of the infection in their urinary tract system. There are other people who might have to undergo intravenous antibiotics as well as admission to a hospital to get rid of the infections affecting their urinary tract system.
There are quite a lot of prevention tips that you can make use of to prevent urinary tract infection.
- Drinking plenty of water and other liquids daily will help to urinate frequently and this will help in flushing out the bacteria in the urinary tract.
- Women need to immediately urinate after sexual intercourse.
- Never hold back the urine and urinate as soon as you feel the urge to urinate.
- Women need to change their sanitary pads often during heavy bleeding days.
- Men should clean the tip of their uncircumcised penis regularly.
- Try to avoid constipation.
Home Remedies For Urinary Tract Infection
The first thing you have to follow when you are suffering from urinary tract infection or UTI is to drink lots of water. The ideal quantity will be 8- 10 glass of water per day. When you drink plenty of water you urinate frequently and this will help to reduce the concentration of bacteria in the urinary bladder and the tract. The bacteria get flushed out of your system along with urine.
You can prevent urinary tract infection or nip the problem at the starting stage using baking soda. Add 1 teaspoon of baking soda into a glass of water and drink it twice a day. The baking soda neutralizes the acidity in the urine of the infected people. Once the acid- base balance of urine gets corrected, it will help in the fast recovery of UTI.
This one of the most effective home remedies for urinary tract infection. Studies have shown that drinking cranberry juice regularly is one of the best ways to prevent UTI. You can drink half a glass of cranberry juice every day to protect you from urinary tract infections. If you are already suffering from infection, you will have to consume at least three to four glasses of cranberry juice a day. This will prevent damage to the kidneys caused by the infection. The proanthocyanidins present in cranberries prevent the growth of bacteria in the urinary tract and urethra. The cranberry juice also has an antibiotic effect. It is necessary that you take unsweetened cranberry juice to get better and faster results.
You can either consume pineapple as fruit or you can take pineapple juice to cure UTI. Pine apple has anti- inflammatory properties as it contains an enzyme called Bromelain. This will help to reduce the symptoms of urinary tract infection. It is better to consume fresh pineapple than the canned ones. The canned fruits may contain preservatives.
Blueberries have anti-bacterial properties which help to fight the urinary infection causing bacteria. You can add them to your breakfast or you can take the fresh juices of blueberries twice a day to get quick results. Do not add any sweeteners to the juice. Sugar promotes the growth of the bacteria. The antioxidants present in blueberries also prevent the infections of the body.
If you want to get relief from the symptoms of UTI, you can try hot water compressions. Use the hot water bags or bottles to give the compression on the lower abdomen. The heat will improve the blood circulation in the lower abdomen area and reduces inflammations. This will reduce the pain associated with UTI.
Avoiding Irritant Foods
It is better to avoid foods that will irritate your bladder. Chocolates, dairy products like cheese, spicy food and some processed food can worsen UTI. It is better to avoid caffeinated drinks, alcohol and soft drinks when you are suffering from a UTI. These foods can aggravate the condition and can reduce the effect of other home remedies taken by you.
Apple Cider Vinegar
This natural remedy contains many enzymes and potassium which prevents the growth of bacteria. Apple cider vinegar acts as an antibiotic and fight the bacteria causing the infection. You can add 2-3 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar and a teaspoon of honey to a glass of water and drink it at least thrice a day to get faster relief from UTI.
• When you are suffering from UTI you have to increase the intake of vitamin C containing food items.
• Vitamin C helps in maintaining the acid-base balance of the urine and restricts the growth of bacteria.
• You can include citrus fruits like lemon, orange, tomato, guava, kiwi fruit etc in your diet.
• It is better to avoid vitamin C supplements with added sugar when you are having the infection.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil helps in reducing the UTI as it has anti- bacterial effect. You cannot consume tea tree oil.
• You can add ten drops of tea tree oil to the bathing water and can use this to wash the genital areas.
• You can use a mixture of equal amounts of tea tree oil, sandalwood oil and juniper oil to rub on the lower abdomen area to reduce the pain associated with the infection.
Drinking barley water helps to reduce the infection. Boil 2-3 glasses of water with a teaspoonful of barley powder. Cool it and drink it 4-5 times a day. Barley has diuretic properties which helps you to pass urine several times a day. Along with urine the bacteria will be removed from the body.
This herb helps to fight infections as it contains chemicals which have antiseptic properties. This remedy is not suitable for people with kidney and liver problems or for women who are pregnant or nursing.
Maintaining Personal Hygiene
Personal hygiene is necessary to prevent the infections in women and to get faster relief from infections. After urinating, a woman should wipe from front to back so that the bacteria from the anus is not directed to the urinary tract. Women should make it a practice to urinate after the sexual activity and the genital and anal areas should be kept clean. Do not use any perfumes near the genital area which may destroy the useful bacteria present here. Another way to avoid infection is to use sanitary napkins instead of tampons. The tampons can cause infections and they can also worsen the present infections.
Use Cotton Undergarments
Using undergarments made of nonabsorbent materials makes it difficult to get rid of the urinary tract infection. Along with trying the various home remedies for urinary tract infection, you have to change into cotton underwear and pantyhose. It is better to avoid the use of tight fitting jeans or shorts when you are suffering from a UTI. Nonabsorbent materials and tight fitting outfits cause the retention of sweat and moisture in the genital areas. This will promote the growth of bacteria in the genital area.