Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) are one of the most common types of infection and account for around 8.1 million visits to a doctor every year. More commonly affecting women — over 60% will have them in their lifetime — UTIs can affect the kidneys, urethra and bladder. UTIs can cause mild pain and discomfort, but if gone untreated the infection can spread to your kidneys where more serious consequences are possible. UTIs typically occur when bacteria (most likely E.coli) enter the urinary tract through the urethra and begin to multiply in the bladder.
Symptoms of an UTI:
- Strong and frequent urge to urinate
- Cloudy, bloody, or foul-smelling urine
- Pain or a burning sensation when urinating
- Nausea and vomiting
- Muscle aches and abdominal pains
- Pelvic pain
Treatment for an UTI:
Because UTIs are commonly caused by bacteria, they are most often treated with antibiotics. Diagnosis will usually be made after asking about the symptoms and testing a urine sample. The type of medication and length of treatment will depend on the symptoms, but most treatment lasts three to seven days. All of the antibiotic prescribed should always be completed for UTIs to make sure that the infection is fully clear, as UTI symptoms can disappear before the infection has completely gone. Drinking lots of fluids and frequently urinating are recommended to help flush out the bacteria.
Prevention of UTIs:
- Drink plenty of water – it helps to flush out bacteria.
- Empty your bladder soon after intercourse to help rid of bacteria.
- Wipe from front to back. This helps prevent bacteria in the anal region from spreading to the vagina and urethra.