Diseases & Conditions Physical Health

TMI? No, UTI—Urinary Tract Infections!

Conversations revolving around problems in the nether region are often awkward and seen as taboo. Be that as it may, infections do happen. Whether or not the conversation is uncomfortable, it is important to be well-informed, especially considering that these fairly simple-to-treat ailments can lead to a worse condition if left untreated. Some of these that are especially common in females are urinary tract infections (UTIs).

So, what’s a UTI? UTIs, which both sexes can get, are caused by bacteria that has accumulated in the urinary tract. Most commonly, bacteria travel up the urethra and infect the bladder, resulting in a burning or aching sensation during urination. There are several other symptoms, such as frequent urges to urinate, cloudy urine, cramps, and sometimes fevers.

There is a common misconception that only sex can lead to UTIs. While sex does increase the likelihood of contracting a UTI, these infections can also be caused by urinary retention (not going to the bathroom when you have to), diabetes, and basically anything that could cause germs to enter the urethra. There is no shame in having a UTI, as the American Medical Association ranks the infection as the second most common disorder in America. It is estimated that 35% of women will have a UTI before they are thirty.

If you do get a UTI, then, you will most likely be given antibiotics. In fact, if you call the Tang Center advice nurse in the morning, they can often find a same-day appointment for you or, if the symptoms sound right, even prescribe antibiotics over the phone. While most antibiotics can treat UTIs quickly, it is crucial to finish the full prescription, as UTIs can reoccur and be harder to treat. In fact, some get chronic UTIs, which can take months to treat. However, the vast majority of UTIs go away fast. It is still vital to treat UTIs as soon as possible, as infection can spread to the kidneys and cause serious problems. It is also important to remember not to drink while on antibiotics, as this can cause side effects such as nausea and vomiting.

To reduce your chances of contracting UTIs, always go to the bathroom as soon as you feel the need to, especially before and after sex. It is recommended to try to urinate at least every four hours during the day, and women who do not have higher rates of infection. Drinking lots of water and cranberry juice helps flush the body of germs and keep urine diluted. If you feel dry during sex, use lube, as stress on tissues can also lead to infection. Lastly, ladies should always remember to wipe from front to back after going to the bathroom, as this may prevent the spread of germs into the urethra. Nevertheless, most women will have at least one UTI in their lifetime, so don’t feel embarrassed if it happens to you. Just make sure to get it treated as soon as possible!

Article by Theresa Strenio

Feature Image Source: Healthline