Sep 11, 2023
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are more prevalent in women. Given their shorter urethras, the risk of UTIs is more in women. However, UTIs can occur in men too.
According to Medical News Today, UTIs affect a 3percent of men globally. Additionally, the risk of a urinary infection for men over 50 is high. In the USA alone, 4 million doctor visits happen because of UTIs in men and women.
This article educates about urinary tract infection, causes, symptoms and prevention measures.
The urethra is a tube in the excretory system of humans. It is responsible for carrying the urine and excreting it. When bacteria enter this tube (urethra), it causes an infection termed a urinary tract infection.
The human urinary system is naturally defensive from external bacteria. It can fight and protect itself up to a certain level. However, when the natural defence mechanism of the urinary system fails, it can lead to the growth of bacteria which cause UTIs.
The primary cause of UTI is Escherichia coli. It is a naturally present bacteria in the human body around the rectum, vagina, and anus. However, this can lead to UTIs in men when the bacteria enter the urethra from the anus or external sources.
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Depending on the part of the urinary system that is infected, there are two types of UTIs:
The lifestyle causes of UTIs are:
Furthermore, the most common causes of urinary tract infections include:
The female urethra is shorter and closer to the inner urinary parts. It increases the risk of UTIs in women. Similarly, any abnormalities in the male urinary anatomy can demand surgical intervention to clear UTIs.
Fluctuations in hormones, notably after menopause, can increase the risk of UTI. When estrogen levels reduce, the female urinary system becomes more susceptible to infections.
The risk of urinary infections increases with the number of sexual partners and or anal sex. However, the chances of spreading UTI from a woman to a man are rare. The cause of UTI in men after sexual intercourse might be due to the bacteria already present in the body, but not because of sex with infected women.
Diaphragms can cause UTIs in women, while contraceptive spermicide can trigger UTIs in men.
Disorders such as diabetes that affect the immune system can decrease the body’s natural defensive mechanism and cause urinary infections.
Additionally, UTIs can occur due to:
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Depending on the infection severity, the symptoms of UTI may vary from one individual to another. Here are commonly sighted symptoms of UTI:
When the infection advances and spreads to the kidneys and upper urinary tract, fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, and back pain are also visible.
UTIs are treated effectively with antibiotics. If left untreated, UTIs can pose the following risks:
Doctors diagnose UTIs through physical examination and laboratory tests of urine. In cases where prostate enlargement may be a possible cause, doctors may perform a digital rectal examination to feel for the enlarged prostate.
While UTIs can happen due to various medical conditions, lifestyle care can prevent them to a large extent.
Consume more water and healthy fluids such as coconut water, buttermilk, and fresh fruit juices. Reduce consumption of tea and coffee as they may irritate the bladder.
Urinating and cleaning the genital area with plenty of plain water before and after sex minimizes the risk of sexually prone UTIs.
Fermented foods are rich in lactobacillus bacteria that protect the urinary tract from harmful bacteria. Include foods such as curd, yogurt, idli, dosa, dhokla, kefir, sauerkraut, or tempeh in your diet to prevent UTIs. Additionally, you can also use probiotic supplements under a doctor’s guidance.
The chemicals and fragrances in vaginal deodorants can cause an imbalance in the pH level in the area around it. It can create an environment that supports harmful bacteria.
If your doctor finds that the current birth control practices trigger UTIs, you can check for other convenient options.
Holding on to urine can increase the harmful bacteria in the bladder. Empty the bladder as and when you feel like urinating.
While using toilet paper to clean genitals after using the washroom, wipe from front to back. It prevents the exposure of the urinary tract to harmful E.coli that is present in the anus part.
Urinary tract infections are common in certain stages of life – pregnancy, menopause, and post-surgeries. With lifestyle changes, early detection, and treatment, it is possible to lead a life free from the side effects of UTIs.
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Sep 11, 2023
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