If you’re a woman, no matter how old you are, you most likely have been or will be the victim of annoying (and sometimes painful) urinary tract infections.
According to statistics from the National Kidney Foundation, UTI’s are the reason for over 10 million people going to the doctor every year – oh, and one in five women will experience an urinary tract infection during their lifetime.
With statistics like that, it’s extremely important that you can identify the symptoms so you can receive the proper treatment and avoid complications that could affect your kidneys.
What is a urinary tract infection?
When bacteria enter the urinary system (the bladder) and multiplies, you get a UTI. Although most of these infections only affect the bladder, if left untreated, the bacteria can travel all the way to the kidneys.
If the infection has not been treated properly, the bacteria infects the kidneys causing a condition called pyelonephritis. This type of infection can be dangerous and can result in fevers and back pain. Healthlinealso points out that severe cases can be life-threatening, and that pregnant women are more susceptible.
What are the causes of urinary tract infections?
Although not all urinary tract infections are caused by the same bacteria, approximately 80 to 90 percent are caused by bacteria that live in the intestines, according to Medicine Net.
According to WebMD, symptoms include
A burning sensation when urinating.
Increased urgency to urinate, even when only a few drops or a minimum amount come out.
Pain or pressure in the lower abdomen or back.
Dark, cloudy or bloody urine.
Fatigue or tremors.
Fever or chills (this is a sign that the infection has reached the kidneys).
What to do if you have any of these symptoms?
The first thing you should do is go to the doctor. In most cases, UTI’s are treated with antibiotics. Your doctor will determine the best treatment for your condition based on your urinalysis.
How to avoid this type of infections?
Women are more likely to have urinary tract infections because the female urethra is much shorter than males. The bacteria e. Coli, which lives in the intestines can be easily transferred to the urethra, resulting in infection (as reported by WebMD).
According to WebMD do this to avoid infection
Empty your bladder frequently as soon as you feel the need to go; don’t rush, and be sure you’ve emptied your bladder completely.
Clean from the front to the back.
Make sure you drink plenty of water to help flush out bacteria.
Take a shower instead of taking a bath.
Use the bathroom after being intimate.
When choosing your underwear, it’s better to use cotton instead of nylon. Avoid tight clothes that can trap moisture.
Some studies suggest that drinking a glass of cranberry juice a day is beneficial and helps prevent UTI’s. Cranberries combat the proliferation of e. Coli (the bacteria that causes most UTIs), so maybe incorporating that into your diet can help.
This article originally appeared on familias.com and has been adapted and translated with permission.