When you have got to go, you have got to go. But if you are going too frequent, with pain and very little urine, we could be looking at something different – a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI).
If you have experienced a UTI, as it is commonly referred to, you would know that it is not only painful but also a great inconvenience. The constant trips to the bathroom can interrupt your daily activities or even your sleep.
A urinary tract infection (UTI) refers to an infection in any part of the urinary system, which is made up of the kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra. In most cases of UTI, the infection occurs in the lower urinary tract where the bladder and urethra are located.
UTI can occur in both men and women, although women are 14 times more likely to contract a UTI due to their shorter urethra. At about 2-4cm, bacteria travels a shorter distance to reach and infect the bladder.
A UTI is often characterised by frequent trips to the bathroom and a burning sensation every time you urinate. Besides these signs, you may also experience
The most common causes for UTI are:
Other factors that increase your likelihood of contracting UTI include previous infections, pregnancy, changes in the vaginal flora (which could be due to medication, menopausal, or the use of spermicides, or other chemicals over the genitals) and structural issues with the urinary tract like an enlarged prostate or a prolapsed uterus.
More general factors include age and poor hygiene.
While UTI alone can be easily treated, a bigger concern is when the infection is associated with other untreated infections that could have spread from the bladder to neighbouring organs. There is also a tiny possibility of the infection entering the bloodstream and infecting organs further away from the primary site of infection.
Although less common, when UTI occurs in men, it tends to be more complex as the infection could be related to more complicated conditions such as enlarged prostate, kidney stones, diabetes, incontinence and more.
The first step to recovering from a UTI is to seek treatment for it.
Depending on the severity of the infection, our Speedoc doctors may prescribe a round of specific antibiotics. Antibiotics are often prescribed in the first line of treatment but they can cause side effects like rashes, dizziness, nausea, diarrhoea or yeast infection. There will be a urine test taken to determine the exact bacteria that is infecting the urine, and so guide the type of antibiotics prescribed.
If antibiotics alone are good to do the job, then you are good to go. If the infection can be linked or traced to sexually transmittable diseases, more tests will be ordered to determine the real cause of the illness to find the best treatment for it and to reduce the symptoms felt.
Of course, prevention is better than cure. Here are some tips to help you avoid a UTI:
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