Urinary Tract Infection
What is a urinary tract infection?
Urinary tract infection is a term used to refer to any infection of the urinary tract. The lower urinary tract consists of the bladder, which collects urine, and the urethra, the short canal through which the urine is voided. The most common lower urinary tract infection occurs in the bladder when bacteria enter it through the urethra. This is referred to as cystitis. A urinary tract infection can cause pain and discomfort, and could become a serious problem if not properly treated.
Cystitis occurs most frequently in women. In fact, it is estimated that one in every four will experience a urinary tract infection during her lifetime. A women tends to be susceptible to these infections simply because of her anatomy.
When you get an infection, some of these symptoms may occur:
- A constant desire to urinate even within seconds or minutes after having done so.
- A feeling of straining towards the end of urinating.
- A feeling of incomplete emptying of the bladder.
- Considerable pain or burning during urination.
- A need to get up several times during the night to urinate.
- A poor urinary stream.
- A feeling of not being able to urinate because of pressure or pain in the pelvic area.
- Lower back pain, fever and weakness are sometimes felt.
Treatment of urinary tract infections
Urinary tract infections have a tendency to recur if not adequately treated the first time, so it is very important to clear up the infection as fast and as thoroughly as possible with antibiotics.
Take the drugs your doctor prescribes and you will find the symptoms rapidly disappear. However, do not stop taking the medication. It will be several days before the infection is completely wiped out. So follow the course of treatment your doctor recommends.
Seven ways to help avoid or prevent a recurrence
- Proper hygiene Daily washing of the genital area is very important.
- Careful toilet habits A women should always wipe from front to back, to avoid contamination around the urethra area
- Frequent urination This protects against bladder damage and flushes away bacteria.
- Drink plenty of fluids
- Soft cotton briefs are recommended, Tight pantyhose, underwear or slacks prevent circulation of air.
- Sexual activity is a prime cause of cystitis. Washing before intercourse and urinating before and afterwards, can help prevent infection and flush out bacteria.
- Take the medication as prescribed.