The female reproductive system is incredibly complicated. Since it is tied to many other systems, the female reproductive system can become even more challenging to understand. One thing you should understand about it is how to prevent and manage urinary tract infections (UTIs).
Even though UTIs are common, affecting an estimated 50 to 60 percent of women at least once in their lifetime, most people do not fully understand the signs, dangers, and treatment options associated with them.
With the help of this guide and your doctor, you will understand UTIs to ensure your infections are diagnosed and treated in an efficient and effective way.
1. UTIs Stem From Bacteria
Bacteria causes urinary tract infections, but you may wonder how bacteria enter your urinary system. In most cases, bacteria enter the system through the urethra, spreading to other areas of the urinary tract system.
Even though the urinary system is designed to flush waste out, bacteria may linger and grow, infecting the urethra and bladder.
UTIs do stem from bacteria that grows, but certain factors can increase your risk of developing this uncomfortable infection.
Women are more likely to develop a UTI over men since a female's urethra is shorter. This shorter distance equals a shorter distance that bacteria need to travel through.
If you are sexually active, you will have a greater risk of developing a urinary tract infection. This higher risk is due to the contact with the vaginal area, which is located close to the urethra's opening.
2. Signs Are Similar, but Not the Same for All Women
Your body is different from the body of another woman, so you cannot expect to experience the same symptoms of an infection.
Of course, pain is the most common symptom of a UTI. This pain may resemble a burning or stinging when you urinate. You may also experience uncomfortable pressure in the urinary tract, bladder, or abdomen.
The pressure may also increase feelings of having to urinate. You may attempt to urinate multiple times without actually urinating.
The color of your urine may change if you have an infection, as well. If your urine is cloudy, brown, or red in color, you most likely have a UTI or bladder infection. Your urine may also have a strong odor.
Even though the urinary system is dealing with the infection, your body's immune system will attempt to fight it off, causing you to have a fever of 101 degrees or higher.
3. Treatment Does Not Necessarily Have to Involve Antibiotics
Most doctors will prescribe antibiotics to treat a urinary tract infection. Fortunately, this medication is usually effective. While surprising to learn, some bacteria are resistant to antibiotics, making treatment a lot less effective.
Over time, the bacteria will begin to grow even further, spreading throughout your urinary system and bladder. It may even spread into your blood, resulting in sepsis, a serious infection that is lifethreatening.
If you do not see any improvement after a few days of taking the antibiotics, consult your doctor again to find the best option for treating the infection.
If you suffer from chronic UTIs, your body may build up a resistance to antibiotics. Flushing out the bacteria naturally by drinking plenty of water, urinating whenever you feel the urge, and drinking cranberry juice may help.
4. Prevention Is Possible
Lastly, note that prevention is your best option for fighting UTIs. Preventing these infections will basically involve the same, plus more, solutions for naturally flushing out your urinary tract.
Most doctors recommend to urinate at least once every 4 to 6 hours. However, if you are prone to UTIs, urinate more frequently. It is also helpful to urinate after sexual intercourse, too. This will help flush away any bacteria that lingers in the vaginal and urethral opening.
UTIs may seem small, but these infections can make a big impact on your health and wellness. To learn more about urinary tract infections or for testing and treatment, contact ApexCare today.