The warning signs were all there. Burning feeling each time I peed: check. Feeling the urge to go 17 times an hour: check. Pressure in the pelvis: check. A quick perusal of WebMD and I was convinced that I had a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI). I didn’t make an appointment with my doctor because had more important things to do, like watch House of Cards on Netflix. On advise from fellow UTI sufferers from around the internet I swapped out my beloved diet Dr Pepper for cranberry juice, and waited for the infection to pass. Four days later I was in the Emergency Department with a 103 degree fever and back pain so severe I could barely move. It took me one sleepless night in the hospital and a course of IV antibiotics to learn my lesson. UTIs require prompt attention, or the consequences could be dire.
What is a UTI?
The keenest deducers may have already guessed that a UTI is an infection in the Urinary Tract. Significantly more common in women than in men, UTIs are caused when bacteria enter the urinary tract through the urethra, travel up to the bladder and, as I quickly discovered, to the kidneys.
Symptoms of UTIs range from unpleasant to completely debilitating. They include:
- Burning sensation during urination
- Persistent urge to urinate
- Cloudy or foul smelling urine
- Back pain
- Nausea and vomiting
Sometimes called honeymoon cystitis, frequent sexual intercourse, or sex with a new partner is a common cause of UTIs in women. Getting’ busy is far from the only cause of UTIs, though. Everybody, including those who aren’t sexually active, should be on the lookout for these symptoms, and be prepared to take action.
How are UTIs treated?
When caught early, UTIs are easily treated with a short course of antibiotics. Once the infection travels farther up the urinary tract and reaches the kidneys, a more heavy- duty course of antibiotics will likely be required.
There are also plenty of home remedies for UTIs, the most well known of which is drinking cranberry juice, which is though to be beneficial for the kidneys. Blueberries, which come from the same family as cranberries can be used for their bacteria fighting powers as well. Avoiding alcohol and caffeine will limit stress of the bladder.
How can I prevent a UTI?
Happily, there are some things you can do to prevent getting at UTI.
- Drink plenty of water. This helps to flush bacteria out of your urinary tract.
- When you need to go, go! Holding urine in your bladder allows the bacteria to multiply, increasing the likelihood that it will spread through your system.
- Ladies, make sure you go pee within 15 minutes of having sex. This will push out any germs that were introduced into the urethra.
- Avoid soaking in the bathtub for too long. While the occasional bubble bath is fine, don’t make a habit of taking baths instead of showers.
Urinary Tract Infections are easy to deal with if they are caught early enough. If you feel that you have the symptoms of this infection don’t just hope it will do away on its own.
Brusch, J. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1958794-overview
Smith, M. W. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/urinary-tract-infections-in-teens-and-adults-topic-overview