How to recognize UTI causes and the symptoms of a UTI is an important part of maintaining good health. UTIs can be both annoying and potentially dangerous. Recognizing the warning signs is essential for prevention and treatment. As we will find out, microbes are the main culprits of UTIs.
Bacteria: One Of The Main UTI Causes
Microbes, like bacteria, weaken the body’s immune system. In a UTI, Microbes take over the urinary tract, leading to an infection. These infections affect the bladder, kidneys, and the tract that runs through them. A UTI is one of the most common types of infection in the world. Over 8 million people visit the doctor every year to treat this condition. It’s essential that we learn how to recognize the symptoms of a UTI and the UTI causes before the infection gets out of hand.
One important point is that the urinary tract consists of two parts – the upper and lower tracts. The upper tract is where the kidneys are located while the bladder and urethra are in the lower tract. Knowing which area is infected is important when it comes to diagnosing a UTI. Infections in the upper tract are more serious because they can cause damage to the kidneys.
A Few Facts about UTI
Here are a few facts that you need to know about UTIs. The first thing is that women are at the biggest risk for contracting this infection. Women have a 50% chance of getting a urinary tract infection at least once in their life. This infection causes you to feel a strong urge to urinate but when you do, it is painful.
The only way that you can diagnose a UTI with full accuracy is to have your urine tested with a UTI test. But that does not mean you cannot start taking certain measures at the first signs of this infection. Even experiencing a slight symptom should be taken seriously. Start by using some UTI home remedies to keep the infection at bay.
UTI In Men
Urinary Tract Infections in Men are Rare
According to this study, the rate in which men contract a urinary tract infection is extremely low. The problem is that when men do happen to contract a UTI, their prostate is also at risk of infection.
In a lot of cases, men will get a kidney infection when they experience UTI symptoms so they need to be very careful. If you feel that you have a kidney infection, please seek professional help.
What Causes Urinary Tract Infection?
A urinary tract infection can occur in the top or bottom urinary tract. In most cases, the bacteria that leads to infection is E. coli. Since this bacteria is found in the digestive system and anus, it should come as no surprise that it can sometimes make its way into the urinary tract.
As stated earlier, women are more likely to get a UTI than men. But there is one myth that is not true. Pregnant women are not at higher risk than a non-pregnant woman. But if you do get a kidney infection while pregnant, then it will spread to the other areas of your urinary tract at a faster rate. A UTI during pregnancy is highly dangerous and it should be treated immediately. This is the one case when you must get antibiotics into your system as quickly as possible.
Common Risk Factors and UTI Causes
Here are some of the most common risk factors that are associated with a UTI:
· Sexual Intercourse: This is a big cause of UTIs. It moves bacteria around. That is why urinating after sex is so important. It helps flush out bacteria. The risk is even greater for women who have frequent sexual encounters with different partners.
· Incorrect wiping direction (for females) can be a big cause of UTIs. If you wipe from back to front this can drag the bacteria E.coli from the anus to the vagina causing a UTI. Remember always to wipe front to back.
· Tight underwear or clothing can also lead to a UTI. The vaginal area needs to breathe in order for it to get enough air and stay dry. Tight clothing or underwear can impede the airflow and cause moisture. Moisture and sweat creates an environment that is friendly for bacteria to grow.
· Dehydration can contribute to UTIs. This is because you will not be urinating as often if you are dehydrated. The more you drink water the more you will urinate and flush out harmful bacteria.
Other Risk Factors And UTI Causes
· Diabetic patients are more likely to contract a UTI because their natural defenses are lower than those of healthy individuals.
· Poor hygiene. This one should be obvious. It goes along with improper wiping.
· Not emptying the bladder. Most people tend to stop urinating before their bladder is empty. Take a few extra moments to make sure you completely empty it. Bacteria can start to grow in the urine left in the bladder.
· Patients who have a urinary catheter are at a higher risk for UTI; they will need to take extra precautions.
· Blocked flow of urine can cause a UTI. That’s why an infection is so common with kidney stones.
· Anytime there is a procedure done that involves the urinary tract, you will be at higher risk.
How to Recognize Symptoms of a UTI
The symptoms of a urinary tract infection are going to depend on the area that has been infected. If you suspect you have a UTI and are experiencing any of the symptoms below, test yourself. Use UTI test strips to quickly find out if you are positive for a UTI infection.
Some of the most common symptoms of a UTI include:
· a strong urge to constantly urinate
· frequent urination
· urine that smells awful
· cloudy and/or bloody urine
· Painful burning while urinating
· Abnormal discharge from the genital area
· Back pain and/or intense abdominal pains. By this point, the infection has already spread to the point where home remedies are probably not going to work. If you get a fever, then seek professional help immediately.
UTIs in Different Areas Of The Urinary Tract
UTIs can occur in different areas of the urinary tract. They have different names depending on the area that is infected.
· Cystitis infects the bladder.
· Urethritis infects the urethra.
· Pyelonephritis infects the kidneys.
Each of these are treated in much the same way, but the symptoms might be slightly different. For instance, it might feel like your lower back hurts with a kidney infection. Eventually, this infection will spread to your entire urinary tract if it’s not treated.
Now let’s look at some of the different types of UTIs more closely.
Types of UTIs
This is a fancy word for a bladder infection with symptoms that include a low grade fever and cramping in the lower abdomen. As with all UTIs, this will be accompanied by a painful, burning sensation when you pee.
A bacterial infection of the urethra is the cause of urethritis. This results in inflammation of the urethra. The urethra is the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body. Pain with urination and a frequent urge to urinate are the most common symptom of urethritis. This can usually be treated with antibiotics.
This is a sudden kidney infection that hits without any signs leading up to it. You will initially start to experience back pain, mental changes, and extreme fatigue. Shaking and fever may also accompany the other symptoms. Acute pyelonephritis is a severe condition that must be treated immediately as it can lead to death. Go see a doctor immediately if you are experiencing these symptoms.
In most cases, a UTI is not going to lead to serious problems. If you start taking preventative measures as soon as you experience the first sign, you will likely be in good shape. You are probably going to stop it before it becomes bad enough to require antibiotics. Here are some helpful and fast home remedies you can use to stop the UTI in its tracks.
If the UTI is affecting the kidneys, then medical assistance is needed. Long-term problems can occur in kidney infections if they are left untreated or if they are a reoccurring issue. In fact, bacteria from a kidney infection can enter the bloodstream and lead to a condition known as septicemia, which is deadly. In the case of a kidney infection, you should seek professional help as soon as possible.
UTI Causes Prevention
I highly recommend taking these steps to reduce the risk of developing a urinary tract infection. Here are a few tips that you should follow:
· Drink plenty of water every day.
· Never hold it when you have to urinate. If you can’t hold it, use depends.
· Avoid excessive soft drinks and caffeine. These irritate the bladder.
. Urinate after sex.
. Practice proper hygiene.
. Limit your acidic food intake and eat more of an alkaline diet. Eat more leafy, green vegetables. This will increase your urine pH and make it more alkaline. Creating an alkaline environment in the body discourages bacterial growth and other diseases.
Treatment of UTI Causes
It’s important to be able to recognize UTI causes and symptoms of a UTI because the sooner you can identify the problem, the quicker you can start treating it. As I said earlier, you can treat it yourself if you catch it early enough. The symptoms and causes we’ve already discussed are warning signs that will signal when you are at a high risk of contracting a UTI. If you start to experience these warnings signs, then you should follow these tips to ensure that the problem doesn’t get worse.
· Drink excessive water to flush out the urinary tract. Make sure you urinate regularly. This will flush bacterium out of your tract.
· Enjoy at least one glass of 100% natural cranberry juice (not cranberry juice cocktail) every day. Alternatively, you can take cranberry pills.
· Eat foods with probiotics like yogurt or take supplements.
· Follow an alkaline diet and eat lots of leafy, green vegetables
UTIs Can Be Uncomplicated or Complicated
Uncomplicated UTIs occur in a healthy individual who would not normally be at risk, therefore, it can be treated easily within just a few days.
Complicated UTIs are much more difficult to treat since patients are usually weakened by other issues. They take longer to treat and usually require more medication. This is also the most dangerous condition. If the symptoms get severe, it is important to seek medical attention. Doctors will generally put patients on antibiotics or antimicrobials because bacteria is what causes a UTI. The exact medication and length is dependent on the symptoms.
When To Seek Medical Help
The bottom line is that individuals who are already at risk for UTIs are going to develop more severe symptoms. They need to seek medical attention at the first signs of an infection. Healthy individuals who start to contract symptoms should start home treatments quickly. This will allow the body to repair the damage before it becomes severe enough to merit a doctor visit.
Elena Daisley is a licensed Clinical Laboratory Scientist (MT, ASCP certified) with over 10 years of experience in the medical field. She holds bachelor’s degrees in both Biology and Laboratory Science from the University of Central Florida. Elena enjoys helping others on their journey to healthier living.