Negligence towards untreated UTI symptoms can have damaging affects on one.Each year,over 8 million people visit the doctor due to complications related to the Urinary Tract Infection (UTI). (1)
Isn’t it then important to know what this condition is and how it can affect you? Moreover, are you at risk of suffering from a UTI?
In this article, we will explore such questions and give you a detailed idea about UTIs.
1. What is UTI?
Urinary Tract Infection is a common infection that is caused by a bacterial infection or germ deposits in the urinary tract of an individual.
The urinary tract comprises 4 organs:
The germs and bacteria generally enter the urinary tract from outside via the urethra. Most of them are found in the bladder.
So, this condition is also sometimes referred to as Bladder Infection.
Women are 8 times more at risk of getting a UTI than men. Since they have shorter urethra compared to men, thus their increased risk.
Also, around 50-60% of women tend to experience UTI at least once in their lifetime. (2)
In men, UTI can also occur in their prostate gland in addition to all other organs. Symptoms and treatment for both men and women remain largely the same.
RECOMMENDED READING: How To Prevent UTI Effectively?
2. Causes and other underlying factors
Usually, UTIs are caused by the bacteria,E. Coli, found in the gastrointestinal tract.
This bacteria leaves the body through the anus and enters the urethra. From there, the bacteria travel to the bladder and multiply.
The main causes and risk factors behind UTIs are as follows:
- Poor genital hygiene
- Exposing the genitals to harsh chemicals
- Sexual activity, especially with a new partner
- Poor hydration
- Kidney stones blocking the urinary passage
- Hormonal changes during or after menopause
- Low immunity due to conditions like diabetes
- Using products like diaphragms or catheters
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If you want to know whether you have a UTI, notice if you have any of these classic UTI symptoms:
- Frequent urge to urinate
- Passing urine in small quantities
- Foul-smelling urine
- The cloudy or reddish-brown color of urine
- Burning sensation while urinating
- Frequent trips to the bathroom during the night
- Pain in the lower abdomen
- Pain on the sides of the lower back or pelvic area
- Fever and chills
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In many cases, people may not be able to notice any symptoms at all.
Notably, many people notice many complicated UTI symptoms too.
4. What are the side effects of untreated UTI?
Often people ignore the symptoms of the UTI thinking that they will go away on their own. They may be right some of the times, but on most occasions,UTI symptoms if not treatedlead to undesirable consequences. Some of them are:
This is a condition where the bacteria travels up to the kidneys after passing through the urethra, bladder, and ureters.
The bacteria causes infection, kidney damage, and high blood pressure. It is common to experience pain in the lower abdominals, sides, and lower back with this condition.
Aged people, children, and people with kidney diseases are at a higher risk of developing this condition.
One of the common side effects of untreated utiis Sepsis. Here, the body’s immune system tries to burn the UTI but ends up causing inflammation in the urinary tract, especially the kidneys.
The condition can be fatal. As per studies, 30-40% of patients with sepsis lose their lives to it. (3)
People with sepsis may experience high blood pressure, organ failure, burns, chills, rapid heartbeat, confusion, etc. People with urological comorbidities, especially if they use catheters are at high risk for sepsis.
When the urethra starts to shrink in its size, it is called urethral stricture or urethral narrowing. The patient may experience spraying of urine, incomplete emptying of the bladder, pain while urinating, etc.
UTIs cause this condition often. It is more common in men. Unsafe sex, poor genital hygiene, enlarged prostate, inserting medical devices through the urethral opening, etc may lead to this condition.
Untreated uti in womencan be dangerous, especially if they are planning a pregnancy. The symptoms can affect the fetus.
This may lead to premature birth or an underweight child.
UTI symptoms if not treatedmay keep coming back in many women. As per studies, 27% of women who suffered from a UTI, had it a second time.(4)
The symptoms may repeat themselves in a few months if proper treatment is not done in time.
5. How to Cure UTI?
It is best to get medical attention to cure UTI. We are sharing below medical cures as well as home remedies for UTI.
Antibiotics:The most preferred way of treating UTIs is antibiotics. They usually work within 1-2 days. Largely, oral consumption works well, but patients with severe UTI along with comorbidities may require hospital care.
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Estrogen Therapy: Topical application or injection of the hormone, estrogen in the vaginal area may help balance the pH level of the area. This can help reduce the infection.
Cranberry: Cranberry juice for UTI has many benefits. It has Vitamin C, antioxidants, and fibre. So, it prevents the bacteria from sticking to the walls of the urinary tract.
You may consume it as unsweetened juice, dried fruit, or supplement capsules. (5)
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Probiotic foods: Certain probiotic foods like yogurt and certain kinds of cheese help lower the pH level of the urine.
This creates unfavorable environments for the bacteria to thrive. (6)
6. Preventive measures
If you are at risk of developing a UTI, are already suffering from it, or have a past record of having a UTI, you may want to be careful.
How to prevent UTI effectively? Some of the preventive measures like the following can help you.
- Drink plenty of fluids regularly. This will help you flush out the UTI through the urine. (7)
- Urinate after having sex. This will help you get rid of the bacterial accumulation through sex if any. It is also one of the ways you can prevent uti after sex.
- Wipe your public area from front to back. In this way, you avoid carrying the germs through your towel into your urethra. (7)
- Clean genitals with showers as you get a thorough clean-up as compared to a bath.
- Do not use chemical feminine products. Items like douches, sprays, and powders can irritate the vaginal area and the urethra.
Have more queries about Urinary Tract Infection? Use our guides to the following topics for support:
UTIs can be very common, and many men and most women get it at least once in their lifetime. The UTI symptoms may be mild to severe, and sometimes inexistent.
Often, the UTI goes away with simple remedies like maintaining good hygiene and drinking plenty of water.
But, sometimesuntreated UTI symptoms can lead to severe health conditions. So, it is important to take note if you notice a symptom of a UTI, and consult a doctor as early as possible.