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The Dreaded U.T.I. – Treatment and Prevention

Written by S.O.

Posted on February 15, 2016 at 10:11 pm


Prevalence

Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) are among the most common conditions treated by doctors. According to Liberator Medical, “UTI infections occur when tiny organisms, usually bacteria from the digestive tract, adhere to the opening of the urethra and begin to reproduce.”

UTIs are responsible for 8.3 million doctor’s visits a year in the United States, with 6.6 million of those cases being women. Women are at greater risk for contracting UTIs because of shorter urethras, which allow more bacteria to enter the bladder than men’s do. Approximately half of all women will experience at least one UTI over the course of their lifetimes, and a whopping 1 in 4 will experience recurrent UTIs, but there are some things we can do to cut down on the frequency of UTIs.

Symptoms

Symptoms of a UTI include a burning sensation or discomfort upon urination, bloody or cloudy urine, false pee-alarms (feeling like you have to urinate, but then being unable to fully do so), redness or irritation around the area, or in more serious cases fever and severe back pain, indicating that the infection has spread internally.

Potential Complications

While some UTIs resolve themselves, most cases require antibiotic treatment to rid the bladder of harmful bacteria. It is important to visit your doctor when you notice UTI symptoms, as UTIs can actually lead to dangerous complications if left unchecked such as sepsis, a potentially deadly infection. UTIs can also spread to your kidneys causing a host of new problems including acute kidney infections or even permanent damage.

Preventative Measures

While it remains a contentious topic within the scientific community, many doctors recommend consuming cranberries on a regular basis if you are prone to UTIs because of their plentiful antioxidants. There are cranberry extract pills available to those who don’t like cranberries or cranberry juice.

Doctors recommend staying well hydrated to help continually flush out any toxins or unwanted bacteria that could potentially lead to UTIs. Other preventative measures include urinating directly after sex – don’t wait until after the post-coital cuddle session to pee, your partner won’t mind waiting a few minutes for those cuddles if it means a healthier you. It isn’t a bad idea to rinse the area after sex to eliminate any bacteria that may be lingering from the bedroom activities.

It is also recommend to wipe yourself front to back after using the washroom to prevent harmful E. coli bacteria from entering the urethra. A couple steps further in UTI prevention would be to avoid using harsh soaps, laundry detergent or perfumed products in that area which is very sensitive, as well as ensuring not to wear material that irritates your skin.

UTIs in Men

While they are more common in women, men account for about 20% of UTI doctor’s visits. Uncircumcised men are at greater risk of developing UTIs, as bacteria collects in the extra folds of skin. There are other factors that put some men at a grater risk of contracting a UTI such as: men with an obstruction such as a kidney stone which hinders the flow of urine, those with enlarged prostate glands, or men with catheters for unrelated medical conditions.

Some men don’t display the typical symptoms of a UTI, making it more difficult to diagnose and treat. Although, generally speaking many of the symptoms, complications and antibiotic treatments are the same for men as they are for women.

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