The urinary system in your body consists of the urethra, ureters, kidney, and bladder. The urinary system is what filters blood and produces urine, which helps rid the body of extra fluids and waste. Contaminated urine can cause a urinary tract infection, or UTI. To help you better understand urinary tract infections, here are three things you should know.
1. Know the Risk Factors for Urinary Tract Infections
Women are more susceptible to urinary tract infections than men. This is due to the fact that women have a shorter urethra, which means it's closer to the anus. The anus is a place in the body where a lot of bacteria grows. When this bacteria enters the urinary tract, it can result in an infection.
Women with the following risk factors have an increased chance of getting urinary tract infections:
- Being sexually active.
- Using certain types of birth control.
- Wiping from back to front.
Pregnant women, and those who have hit menopause, also have a higher risk of getting a urinary tract infection. For men, an enlarged prostate and having unprotected anal sex increase their risk for urinary tract infections.
2. Know the Symptoms of Urinary Tract Infections
One of the most common symptoms associated with urinary tract infections is a burning sensation while going to the bathroom. Frequent urination, having a strong urge to urinate, and passing cloudy or bright pink urine are other symptoms of urinary tract infections. Some women experience pelvic pain while men might feel pain in their lower abdomen.
If the urinary tract infection is not treated right away, the infection could spread to other parts of the urinary tract, such as the kidneys or bladder. When these organs are affected, symptoms of a urinary tract infection might include chills, fever, back pain, and blood in the urine.
3. Know About Urinary Tract Infection Treatment
Drinking plenty of water is one of the best ways to prevent a urinary tract infection. Adequate amounts of water help to flush bacteria out of the urinary tract. Urinating before and after sexual intercourse can also help to stave off a urinary tract infection.
If you do happen to get a UTI, seek urinary tract infection treatment right away. Your doctor will most likely prescribe an antibiotic to treat the infection. Some people believe that drinking cranberry juice is also an effective urinary tract infection treatment. While cranberry juice might help prevent UTIs or treat a very mild case, it's always best to see your doctor if you suspect you have a urinary tract infection.
For more information on UTI treatment, contact a doctor near you.