Infection: Under strain
Even though our urinary system is naturally designed to keep germs and bacteria away, the natural defences of the system weaken at times, allowing germs to enter and multiply, causing an infection. Our urine only flushes waste out of our body and doesn't have any bacteria of its own. These germs or bacteria are actually present in our large intestines as well as in the stool and once they enter the urethra, the travel all the way to the bladder and cause infection.
UTIs are a very common phenomenon in our part of the world and can occur anywhere in the urinary tract but they usually crop up in the bladder and the urethra. It is unwise to take UTIs non-seriously as the infection can cause permanent damage to the kidneys. Pregnant women having UTIs can give birth to low weight babies or even premature infants. People with diabetes, sickle-cell disease, or kidney stones are most vulnerable to UTIs. High blood pressure can also be a consequence of infection in children.
Being the second most common infection in the world, UTI affects all genders and age groups but women specifically. Since women possess a shorter urethra as compared to men, it is quite convenient for harmful germs to reach the bladder faster and more often. Moreover, poor hygiene, old age, food allergies, holding urine back for long periods of time, certain types of contraceptives, all make one vulnerable to UTIs.
Uupon discovering initial signs, the first step towards treatment is consulting a good doctor If the infection is in the kidney then an upper back and side pain, high fever, shivers and chills, nausea and vomiting may occur. In a bladder infection — usually caused by Escherichia coli or E. coli bacteria commonly found in the gastrointestinal tract — one feels excessive pelvic pressure, lower abdominal discomfort, frequent painful urination in small amounts and light fever. If the infection is in the urethra, one may experience a burning sensation while urinating.
In infants or children who are two to three years old, it is difficult to trace UTI symptoms as kids that young can't express their feelings or bodily discomfort. The child could be feverish, irritated and disinterested in food, but if fever continues for more than a day without signs of a cold or flu, he or she may have an infection.
To diagnose a UTI, your doctor will take a sample of your urine to test it for germs or red blood cells and prescribe drugs such as antibiotics if the infection is in its initial stage. The duration of the treatment and the nature of drugs prescribed depend upon the severity of infection. However, as the old adage goes, prevention is better than cure. The effective ways to prevent UTIs in all age groups and genders is to drink lots and lots of water to dilute urine and flush out bacteria and to not hold urine for a long period of time.
A study has suggested that UTI occurrence is reduced by 50 per cent for six months if one drinks berry juice, especially cranberry, and increases vitamin C intake to fight the growth of bacteria while green tea also has anti-infection properties. For women, when using the washroom, always remember to wipe front to back instead of going the other way, as it prevents bacteria from spreading towards the urethra and keep you clean and dry. It is also wise to avoid using deodorant sprays or other cosmetic products near the area and to shower instead of soaking in bath tubs, as they excessively increase the chances of infection causing bacteria to enter our bladder.