The symptoms are varied: Burning sensation when urinating, frequent trips to the bathroom with only minimal results, cloudy or strong-smelling urine or even pink or ‘cola colored’ urine. But the results are the same: You feel awful – and you are pretty sure you have a Urinary Track Infect.1
If you are having UTI symptoms you should call your OBGYN as soon as possible.
Although UTI’s are common you don’t want to let them go – first of all you will be super uncomfortable. Second, while most UTI’s are in the lower urinary tracks and cause mostly discomfort – if the UTI travels up the track into the kidneys you will be in a lot of pain and quite ill. Seeing you OBGYN quickly will save you a lot of suffering and possible help avoid a trip to the hospital.
There are three primary types of UTI’s which effect different parts of the urinary track.
Urethritis -irritation and infection of the tube which carries urine from the bladder out of the body1. “Urethritis may be caused by bacteria or a virus. The same bacteria that cause urinary tract infections (E. coli) and some sexually transmitted diseases (chlamydia, gonorrhea)can lead to urethritis. Viral causes of urethritis include herpes simplex virus and cytomegalovirus”, according to the US Public Library of Medicine.2
Cystitis – This is an infection of the Bladder usually caused by bacteria commonly found in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Women are at greater risk of cystitis because of the short distance from the urethra to the anus and the urethral opening to the bladder.3
Pyelonephritis – Kidney infection (pyelonephritis) is a specific type of urinary tract infection (UTI) that generally begins in your urethra or bladder and travels up into your kidneys. This type of kidney infection requires prompt medical attention. If not treated properly, a kidney infection can permanently damage your kidneys or the bacteria can spread to your bloodstream and cause a life-threatening infection.4
Generally doctors will prescribe antibiotics for treatment of a UTI – the type and length of treatment depends on the type of infection and the severity. If cases of Kidney infection sometimes inpatient treatment at the hospital will be needed.
Prevention: There are a few things you can do to help protect yourself from UTIs. 5
Drink plenty of fluids, especially water. Drinking helps dilute your urine and ensures that you’ll clear your bladder more frequently. This flushes bacteria from your system quickly and helps prevent infection.
Wipe from front to back. This helps keep bacterial from the GI track from getting into the urethra and causing infection.
Urinating before and after sex is also helpful in preventing UTIs. Again, this helps flush away any bacterial which might try to travel up the urethra.
You should also avoid potentially irritating feminine products. Douches, feminine deodorant sprays and powered can cause irritation and increase bacteria leading to infection.
While there is no clinical proof – many people still get some temporary relief by drinking cranberry juice. The acids in the juice are suspected of helping reduce bacterial in the bladder and help relieve symptoms – however seeing a medical professional as soon as possible is always best.