Urine Infections - what are they and how are they treated?
Imagine going for a bathroom break just after your third period at school - except it’s your fifth visit to the bathroom that morning. The urge to constantly go to the bathroom is so strong but the problem is every time you visit the bathroom only a small amount of urine comes out and there’s a burning sensation. What does this mean chomas?
If you experienced this, you might have Urinary Tract Infection (UTI). There are three main types of Urinary Tract Infection mainly involving the bladder, urethra or kidneys. These three structures are where urine passes before leaving your body.
Bacteria can cause an infection in the urethra, pronounced yur-ih-thra, (a short tube that delivers urine from the bladder to the outside of your body) and may result in urethritis, which is the bacteria that only infects the urethra (pronounced yur-ih-threye-tis). This type of UTI may occur when bacteria is spread from the anus to the urethra. The urethra is so close to the vagina, Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) such as chlamydia, gonorrhoea, mycoplasma and herpes can also cause urethritis. One of the reasons why young women are more easily exposed to UTIs might be due to the fact that the urethra found in women is shorter than in men and the opening lies closer to the vagina and the rectum, where the bacteria are more likely to be.
Bladder infection is called cystitis, pronounced sis-tie-tis, where the bladder is inflamed by bacteria, and is the most common type of UTI. Bladder infection causes mostly uneasiness or discomfort but can be quickly and easily treated. Getting treatment quickly for bladder infection is vital because it can avoid the more serious UTI – kidney infection.
Pyelonephritis (pronounced pie-low-nih-fry-tis) is a type of UTI. If there is no proper treatment, this type of kidney infection may lead to sepsis (the presence of harmful bacteria and toxins in the body through infection of a wound), high blood pressure and kidney failure - where waste (which comes in the form of urine) in your body will not be removed and may infect your bloodstream and cause you to be admitted to the hospital because your kidneys aren’t functioning anymore.
What causes UTI?
Bacteria is the main cause and can get into your urethra, kidney or bladder when…
- you have sex. The bacteria in the vaginal area may be pushed into the urethra and end up in the urine which is found in the bladder. That’s why the bladder is a good environment for the bacteria to grow. This may explain why some young ladies get UTI after being sexually active. You can’t catch a UTI from someone else.
- a young woman wipes her vaginal area from back to front after a bowel movement. Bacteria may be easily introduced into her bladder in that way, contaminating the urethral opening.
- the person has a Sexually Transmitted Illness (STI). STIs may cause UTI-like signs, like experiencing pain while urinating. This is because the urethra or vagina is inflamed and this can be associated with STIs such as chlamydia. If left untreated, these STIs can lead to long-term complications. If no condom is used, the person will be infected with STIs.
Signs and symptoms of UTI
- pain or burning sensation while urinating
- frequent urination
- pain above the pubic bone
- pain in the lower abdomen
- mild fever
- foul-smelling urine
If you suspect that you might have an infection then visit your nearest clinic, chomas. Taking action as soon as possible is important to ensure the infection doesn’t spread.
Can the infection recur?
The infection can recur through re-infection and relapse. Re-infection means that different types of bacteria have taken up space. Don’t worry, this is treatable with some type of antibiotic. Relapsing is when the treatment failed to work, so the initial bacteria will return. So make sure you get the correct treatment.
Can I prevent UTIs?
There are a number of ways to decrease the risk of infection.
- Ladies, after urination and/or bowel movements, wipe from front to back with toilet paper. This will help avoid spreading of the bacteria from the vaginal/rectal area to the urethra.
- Avoid holding urine for too long by going for frequent visit to the bathroom. The longer you hold your urine, the higher the chance of your bladder being a breeding environment for bacteria to grow, which can lead to infections.
- During your period, change your pads and tampons regularly.
- Avoid lengthy exposure to moisture in the genital area by not wearing wet swimsuits or nylon underwear. Try wearing cotton underwear.
- Take plain showers or baths and try and avoid bubble baths as they can cause irritation in your vaginal area.
- Avoid feminine hygiene products as they can irritate the urethra.
- Drink lots of water because this will keep your bladder active (by causing frequent visits to the bathroom) and lessen your chance of infection.
- After protected sex, gently wash the genital area to remove any bacteria.
Remember that although urinary tract infections are uncomfortable and often painful, they are very common and easily treated. The sooner you contact your doctor, the sooner you'll be able to get rid of the problem.
Did you find this article helpful? Yes No