When bacteria enters the urinary tract through the urethra and multiply in the bladder, a urinary tract infection (UTI) occurs.
This infection can affect any part of the urinary system: kidneys, bladder and urethra. Most infections involve the lower urinary tract: the bladder and the urethra. Our physiological make up normally keeps bacteria out of the urethra, but sometimes the best defense fails. If the bacteria take hold, you have a full-blown urinary tract infection.
The female anatomy places women at a greater risk of developing a UTI than men. These infections can be painful and bothersome.
If you experience any of the below symptoms, it’s important to see your doctor as soon as possible.
• A burning feeling when urinating
• An intense urge to urinate, and only a small amount of urine comes out
• Pain or pressure in your back or lower abdomen
• Cloudy, dark, bloody or strange-smelling urine
• Feeling tired or shaky
• Fever or chills (a sign the infection may have reached your kidneys)
Here are a few tips that can reduce your chances of developing a UTI.
• Don’t “hold it.” Urinate when you feel the urge.
• Urinate after having sex.
• Don’t use products that aggravate the urethra, like deodorant sprays or scented products.
• Flush bacteria by drinking eight glasses of water each day.
• Add acidic juices like prune, plum and cranberry to your diet.
• Avoid coffee, black tea and alcohol. They can irritate the bladder.
Other conditions that increase the risk of a UTI are pregnancy, multiple sclerosis, and kidney stones. Also, women with diabetes may be at a higher risk of a UTI because of their compromised immune systems.
If you get frequent UTIs, have trouble getting rid of a UTI or are unsure if it is a UTI, visit any of our providers. We’re here for you!