Drome Digest

Urinary Tract Infections

Urinary tract infections ( UTIs) are among the most common infections, affecting millions of people each year. They occur when bacteria enter the urinary system, which consists of the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. While UTIs are treatable, they can cause significant discomfort and may lead to more serious health issues if not addressed promptly. Understanding how to prevent and manage UTIs is crucial for maintaining good urinary health.

What Causes UTIs?

The primary cause of UTIs is the presence of pathogenic bacteria, most commonly Escherichia coli (E. coli), which normally live in the bowel. These bacteria can enter the urinary tract through the urethra and multiply in the bladder. Factors that can increase the risk of UTIs include sexual activity, certain types of contraception, menopause, and anything that blocks the flow of urine, such as kidney stones.

Risk factors

UTIs are common in women. Many women experience more than one UTI during their lifetimes.

Risk factors for UTIs that are specific to women include:

  • Female anatomy. Women have a shorter urethra than men do. As a result, there’s less distance for bacteria to travel to reach the bladder.
  • Sexual activity. Being sexually active tends to lead to more UTIs. 
  • Certain types of birth control. Using diaphragms for birth control may increase the risk of UTIs. 
  • Menopause. After menopause, a decline in circulating estrogen causes changes in the urinary tract. The changes can increase the risk of UTIs.


Other risk factors for UTIs include:

  • Urinary tract problems. Babies born with problems with their urinary tracts may have trouble urinating. Urine can back up in the urethra, which can cause UTIs.
  • Blockages in the urinary tract. Kidney stones or an enlarged prostate can trap urine in the bladder. As a result, risk of UTIs is higher.
  • A suppressed immune system. Diabetes and other diseases can impair the immune system — the body’s defense against germs. This can increase the risk of UTIs.
  • Catheter use. People who can’t urinate on their own often must use a tube, called a catheter, to urinate. Using a catheter increases the risk of UTIs. 
  • A recent urinary procedure. Urinary surgery or an examination of urinary tract that involves medical instruments can both increase the risk of developing a UTI.

Symptoms of UTIs

Symptoms of a UTI can vary but typically include:

  • A burning sensation when urinating
  • Frequent or intense urges to urinate, even when little comes out
  • Cloudy foul smelling urine
  • Pain or pressure in the lower abdomen
  • Blood in urine
  • Fever or chills 

Precautions to Prevent UTIs

Preventive measures can significantly reduce the risk of developing UTIs:

  • Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of fluids, especially water, to help dilute your urine and ensure that you urinate more frequently, allowing bacteria to be flushed from your urinary tract before an infection can begin.
  • Practice Good Hygiene: For women, wiping from front to back after using the toilet can prevent bacteria from the anal region from spreading to the vagina and urethra.
  • Urinate After Sexual Activity: Both men and women should urinate soon after intercourse to help flush away bacteria that may have entered the urethra.
  • Avoid Irritating Feminine Products: Using deodorant sprays or other feminine products in the genital area can irritate the urethra. Choose unscented products and gentle cleansers.
  • Consider Your Birth Control: Women who use diaphragms for birth control may want to discuss other options with their healthcare provider since these products can increase the risk of UTIs.

Diagnosing UTIs

The  following tests are done to diagnose UTI

Urine Analysis: To check for white blood cells, red blood cells or bacteria. 

Urine Culture: This test tells  what bacteria are causing the infection.

Ultrasound: To look at internal organs-kidneys, urinary bladder.

Cystoscopy: To look inside the bladder through the urethra. A cystoscope is a thin instrument with a lens and a light at the end.

Treatment for UTIs

If you suspect you have a UTI, consult your healthcare provider. Typical treatments include:

  • Antibiotics: These are the standard treatment for UTIs and are usually taken for 5 to 7 days. It’s crucial to complete the full course of antibiotics prescribed, even if symptoms improve, to ensure that the infection is fully eradicated.
  • Pain Relief: Over-the-counter pain relievers can reduce bladder pain and discomfort associated with UTIs.


UTIs are common but manageable with proper care and preventive measures. Staying hydrated, practicing good hygiene, and recognizing the symptoms early are key to preventing and effectively treating urinary tract infections. 

#Sourcedfrom Mayo clinic,Cleveland Clinic


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