Basically, urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection of the urinary system which includes the kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra. Usually, a UTI affects the lower urinary tract which is the bladder and urethra.
Whether you’re a woman or a man, here’re important facts about UTI that you should know :
- Women are at higher risk of developing a UTI because of the female anatomy. A woman’s urethra is shorter than a man’s which means that the distance for the bacteria to travel to the bladder is shorter.
- Symptoms of a UTI include:
- A strong urge to urinate
- Burning sensation while urinating
- Cloudy urine
- Red, pink or brown coloured urine (possible sign of blood in the urine)
- Pelvic pain especially in women around the area of the pubic bone
- Cystitis (infection of the bladder) can be caused by sexual intercourse. Women who use spermicide or diaphragms as birth control are at a higher risk. Keeping your genital and anal area clean before and after sex may lower your risk of UTI. Staying hydrated and urinating after sex is also advisable to prevent UTIs.
- Urethritis (infection of the urethra) can be caused by gastrointestinal bacteria spread from the anus to the urethra. Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) like herpes, gonorrhoea and chlamydia can also cause urethritis. Wipe from front to back to prevent the gastrointestinal bacteria travelling from the anus to the urethra. Vet your sexual partners and always practice safe sex with a condom because it is the only form of contraceptive that can prevent STIs.
- Another cause of UTI is menopause because of a drop in oestrogen. This causes changes in the urinary tract which could increase a woman’s risk of infection.
Preventing Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
To prevent UTI, it’s important to stay hydrated. To calculate your ideal intake of water, use this formula:
0.035 X (weight in kilogram) = water intake in litre
For example: For a 55kg person, they’ll need 0.035 x 55 = 1.925 litres of water a day.
Note: Increase your intake especially if you exercise, live in a hot and humid country or is exposed to air conditioning for long periods of time.
At the first sign of discomfort, or if you see any discolouration of your urine that isn’t related to foods you’ve eaten (asparagus or dragon fruit) see a doctor immediately. It’s better to be safe than sorry!
Check with your neighbourhood pharmacist or doctor for further tips on how to prevent UTIs such as possible supplements to take.