Causes of Urinary Tract Infections: It is estimated that as many as 50% of women will have a UTI (Urinary Tract Infection) at some point in their lives. That’s approximately 160 million women worldwide! Let’s take a moment to process that statistic again… 160 million.
Not only are UTIs extremely common, they are also no joke. If left untreated, a UTI can cause serious complications including kidney infections, dehydration, and in extreme cases even death.
Even scarier is the fact that there is no known way to prevent them from happening. However, there are ways to reduce your risk of contracting one should you ever find yourself at risk. In this blog post we’ll dive into the 8 most common causes of Urinary Tract Infections.
What is a UTI (Urinary tract infection)?
An infection of the urinary tract is referred to as a urinary tract infection. Normally, bacteria are not present in your urine (germs). A byproduct of our kidneys’ filtration function is urine.
Urine is produced when waste materials and extra water are eliminated from your circulation by the kidneys. Urine typically passes through your urinary system uncontaminated.
However, bacteria from the outside of the body can enter the urinary system and cause issues including infection and inflammation. Urinary tract infection, that is (UTI).
Types of UTIs
Your urinary tract can be infected in a lot of different areas. Depending on where it is, each type has a different name.
This may result in a fever, chills, nauseousness, vomiting, and upper back or side pain.
You can experience frequent urination or discomfort when you urinate. Along with lower stomach pain, you may also experience murky or red urine.
When you urinate, this may result in a discharge and burning.
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Symptoms of UTI
Urinary tract infections can cause the lining of the urinary tract to become red and irritated (inflammation), which can cause the following symptoms:
- Pain in abdomen, in the side (flank), or pelvic area.
- Pressures in the pelvic area, a lower pelvis, urgency to urinate (urgency), and incontinence (urine leakage).
- Blood in the Urine and Pain during urination (dysuria).
- The need to urinate at night.
- Cloudy urine and strong or foul-smelling urine (Abrams 1999).
- A urinary tract infection causes the urinary tract lining to become irritated and red (inflammation), which can lead to the following symptoms: pain in the abdomen, pelvic area, and flank.
Causes of Urinary Tract Infections
The urinary tract is a delicate organ that is vulnerable to infection. The urinary system includes the kidneys, ureters, urinary bladder, urethra, and ureters, which transport urine to be expelled. A UTI occurs when bacteria enter the urinary tract through the urethra and begin to multiply in the urinary bladder.
These defenses may fail, allowing microscopic invaders to invade the urinary system. When this happens, bacteria may set up residence and create a serious infection in the urinary system.
Despite the fact that women are at the greatest risk for UTIs, the condition can affect men as well. Fibrosis, which is the formation of fibrous tissue, is a common condition that can develop in response to chronic UTIs.
Although Escherichia coli (E. coli) is a common bacterium in the GI tract, this type of UTI typically results from it. Other bacteria, on the other hand, may cause it. A bladder infection (cystitis) may arise from sexual intercourse, but it does not necessarily signal that you are sexually active.
Women are particularly susceptible to cystitis since their urethra is near the anus and their urethral orifice is near the bladder. It may be caused when GI bacteria disperse from the anus to the urethra. It is to be noted that a herpes STD, gonorrhea, chlamydia, and mycoplasma, which are frequently transmitted sexually, can also cause urethritis.
Risk factors for UTIs
Urinary tract infections are common in females, and many females experience more than one infection during their lifetime. In addition to the more common risk factors for UTIs in females, the following risk factors can impact UTI risk:
Women who are sexually active have a higher risk of UTIs than women who are not sexually active. A new partner also increases the risk of UTI.
Certain types of contraception:
Diaphragms are used for birth control, as well as spermicidal agents.
The shorter urethra in a woman’s body compared to a man’s body reduces the distance that bacteria must travel to reach the bladder.
Urinary tract abnormalities:
Babies with urinary tract malformations that do not allow urine to leave the body or cause urine to back up in the urethra are more likely to develop UTIs.
Postmenopause, a decline in circulating estrogen causes changes in the urinary tract that make you more susceptible to infection.
Others Factors are:
- Kidney Stones or an enlarged prostate can trap urine in the bladder and increase the risk of UTIs.
- An impaired immune system due to diabetes or other illnesses that impair the immune system—the body’s defense against bacteria—may also increase the risk of UTIs.
- People who cannot urinate on their own and must use a catheter to urinate have an increased risk of UTIs. This includes patients in the hospital, people with neurological problems that make it difficult to control their urination, and people who are paralyzed.
Treatment for UTIs
Urinary tract infections can be treated with antibiotics. Antibiotics are used to kill bacteria and fight infections in general. Your healthcare provider will select the antibiotic that is most effective against the specific bacteria causing your infection. Some of the most common antibiotics include:
- Sulfonamides (sulfa drugs).
- Trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole (Bactrim).
- Quinolones, including ciprofloxacin (Cipro).
Your healthcare provider’s directions must be followed carefully when taking the medication. It’s crucial that you don’t stop taking antibiotics once you start feeling better and your symptoms go away.
If the infection is not treated completely with the full course of antibiotics, it may return. You may be given antibiotics to take at the first sign of symptoms if you have a history of frequent urinary tract infections.
Other patients may be given antibiotics to take every day, every other day, or after having sex to prevent the infection. Ask your healthcare provider what the optimal treatment option is if you’ve had frequent UTIs in the past.
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How can I prevent UTIs?
A urinary tract infection (UTI) is usually preventable by making changes in lifestyle. Follow these tips:
- Some women have an elevated risk of UTIs if they use a diaphragm for birth control. Your health care provider can offer you with another form of contraception.
- Using a water-based lubricant during sex: If you have vaginal dryness during intercourse, use a water-based lubricant. To avoid spermicide, you may wish to avoid using spermicides if you suffer from frequent UTIs.
- To avoid wearing tight-fitting clothes, you may wear cotton underwear instead. Wearing cotton underwear keeps additional moisture from getting trapped around the urethra.
- When you add plenty of water to your daily routine, you’ll get rid of extra bacteria from your urinary tract. Drinking at least six to eight glasses of water is recommended.
- UTIs can frequently be prevented by practicing good personal hygiene. This is especially crucial for women. Because the urethra in women is considerably shorter than it is in men, it’s much easier for E. coli bacteria to move from the rectum to the urinary tract. After a bowel movement, always wipe from front to back to avoid the chance of an infection. This procedure can also help prevent UTIs in women by employing good hygiene practices throughout their menstrual cycle. Changing pads and tampons frequently, as well as avoiding feminine deodorants, can also help.
- Your urine is a waste product that helps eliminate bacteria from your body. When you urinate, you expel waste from your body each time you urinate. Drinking water frequently helps prevent UTIs, especially if you’ve had them before. Thoroughly urinate before and after sex to prevent irritating your bladder. Avoiding alcohol, citrus fruits, caffeinated foods, and spicy foods may help prevent UTIs. Because of the nature of their work, healthcare providers don’t recommend douching. Before having intercourse, you can wash your genitals with lukewarm water.
A healthcare provider may recommend an estrogen-filled vaginal cream for some post-menopausal females to alter the pH of the vagina and prevent UTIs.
Ask your healthcare provider if you have lots of UTIs and have already gone through menopause if you want to prevent them. UTI supplements are also available over-the-counter.
These are sometimes used to prevent UTIs in people who frequently experience them. Before starting any supplements, talk to your healthcare provider and find out if they would be a good fit for you.
When should you consult a doctor?
You may or may not be knowing real causes of urinary tract infections, so it is always advisable to contact your healthcare provider if you have symptoms of a urinary tract infection or if your symptoms are getting worse.