Urinary Tract Infection Guide - Causes, Symptoms, Treatments & Prevention

By the team at Speedoc,
October 15, 2021

When you’ve got to go, you’ve got to go. But if it happens frequently and burns, we could be looking at something different - a Urinary Tract Infection.

If you’ve ever experienced UTI, as it is commonly referred to, you’ll know it can be not just painful but also an inconvenience for the patient. The constant trips to the bathroom can tamper with your daily activities.

We may think that an infection of the urinary tract is exclusive to only women but it happens to men too. UTIs are, however, 14 times more common in women than men due to the fact that the urethra is shorter in women. Contamination of the urethra from the vagina and rectum is, therefore, easier in women.

Although UTIs are less common in men, the incidents are typically more complicated as they could be related to prostate enlargement, kidney stones, diabetes, faecal incontinence, long stretches of immobility, and other conditions.

Signs And Symptoms of Urinary Tract Infection

If you’re consuming a large amount of water throughout the day or when the weather is chilly, it could result in frequent trips to the bathroom. However, if they're accompanied by the following symptoms, it's likely a urinary tract infection.

  • Frequent need to use the bathroom

  • A burning sensation or discomfort when urinating

  • Pain or tenderness below your stomach area

  • Sudden bedwetting incidences

  • Cloudy urine or urine with an odd odour

  • Blood in the urine

  • Fever

  • Nausea

  • Upper back pain or soreness on the sides

Potential Causes of Urinary Tract Infection

Most cases and causes for urinary tract infections are not serious. They occur when bacteria enter the body through the urinary tract and begin to multiply in the bladder.

This causes the infection and although the urinary system is naturally designed to keep bacteria from causing these infections, they sometimes fail due to a wide variety of reasons.

And these are the reasons we need to nip the problem in the bud.

The most common causes for UTIs are:

  • Cystitis - Scientifically known as Escherichia coli or E. coli, the infection is caused by the multiplication of a type of bacteria commonly found in the gastrointestinal tract. Although sexual intercourse is one of the main reasons for bladder infection, one does NOT have to be sexually active to develop it.

  • Urethritis - As mentioned, women are more at risk when it comes to developing UTI because of how we are built anatomically. Urethritis occurs when gastrointestinal bacteria spread from the anus to the urethra.

  • Sexually transmittable diseases and infections - When your body is exposed to sexually transmittable diseases like herpes, gonorrhoea, chlamydia, and mycoplasma, it can bring about UTI.

  • A previous instance of Urinary Tract Infection - If the body has not learned how to deal with or eliminate the bacterial infection on its own, there is a chance of the infection happening again.

  • Changes in the vaginal flora due to medication, general well-being, menopause, or use of spermicides

  • Pregnancy

  • Age

  • Structural issues with the urinary tract such as enlarged prostate

  • Poor hygiene

What Do I Do When I Have a Urinary Tract Infection?

The first thing you should do when experiencing UTI is to consult your doctor. If your frequent trips to the bathroom are stopping you from visiting the clinic, Speedoc is ready to help you with our video consultation and medicine delivery services.

Depending on the seriousness of the infection, your doctor may prescribe you antibiotics and advise you to schedule an appointment for further tests or evaluation if required.

Naturally, if you get better after the round of antibiotics, you're good to go!

Antibiotics are often prescribed as a treatment for urinary tract infection but they can cause some side effects like rashes, dizziness, nausea, diarrhoea, or yeast infection. If the infection can be linked or traced to sexually transmittable diseases, you may need to perform further tests to determine the real cause of the illness to find the best treatment for it.

When is UTI serious?

Although usually easily dealt with, the primary concern for people who experience UTI is when it is associated with other untreated infections that could have spread from the bladder to other neighbouring organs.

One example would be when the bacteria cause infection in either one or both the kidneys and hampering their function. In people who already have issues with their kidneys, this could be a problem.

There is also a tiny chance of the infection entering the bloodstream and spreading to other organs.

Prevention of Urinary Tract Infection

The fastest way to get rid of UTI symptoms is to talk to your doctor and get a prescription for antibiotics. There are, however, steps you can take to reduce the risk of future infections.

  • Stay hydrated throughout the day. Drinking plenty of water may make your trips to the bathroom even more frequent but it dilutes your urine and helps flush out bacteria from the urinary tract. The frequent flushing of potential contaminants eases off the infection and reduces the risk of immediate re-infection.

  • After visiting the bathroom, wipe from front to back. It prevents the spreading of contaminants to the urethra and vagina.

  • Although most feminine products have their claims, be mindful of products, especially powders and douches, that contain high levels of fragrance, scents, and aroma compounds that can irritate the sensitive genital area and urethra.

  • Emptying your bladder right after intercourse helps flush out bacteria before your skin and body can react to potential bacteria.

  • Consumption of cranberry juice is not a conclusive solution or preventive measure for urinary tract infection but it is not likely to be harmful. It boosts vitamin intake to fight infections and introduces fluid into your system. A type of tannin, Proanthocyanidins, found in cranberries is believed to inhibit the growth of E. coli.

  • Changing birth control method to water-based lubricants. Diaphragms, unlubricated or spermicide-treated condoms can contribute to bacterial growth so, if you experience frequent infections, maybe it is time to rethink your birth control method. Consult your doctor about your options if you're unsure.

Speak To A Doctor For UTI

Consulting your doctor is the fastest way to arrest underlying causes of urinary tract infections. Our trained doctors can provide you with the answers you’re looking for and arrange for medication to be delivered right to your doorstep.

Give us a call at +65 6909 7799, email us at clinic.sg@speedoc.com, or download the Speedoc app to get connected to a doctor online today!