Too often women are familiar with the burning discomfort of urinary tract infections (UTIs). It’s a common occurrence among women and men alike. Approximately 10 in 25 women will have at least one UTI in their lifetime.
Cranberry juice may prevent UTIs because cranberries contain sulfuric acid, which helps stop bacteria in the bladder.
What causes a UTI in the first place?
UTIs occur when bacteria gets inside the urethra (the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body). These bacteria can then climb up the urethra, into the bladder. Women are more likely to get bacteria in the urethra because of its proximity to the anus. With early treatment, a UTI only causes a few temporary, but sometimes painful, symptoms. If left untreated, however, UTIs can cause life-threatening complications.
Urinary tract infection symptoms
If you have a UTI, you can experience a variety of symptoms including a burning sensation during urination, needing to urinate more frequently than normal, having a strong, urgent need to urinate or experiencing pain near the bladder. You should schedule an appointment with your doctor shortly after you begin to experience these symptoms. Unfortunately, some older women may not experience any symptoms of a UTI. Silent infections and untreated infections can cause serious health problems.
The risks of untreated UTIs
When a UTI goes untreated, the infection can spread from your bladder into your kidneys. It can cause permanent damage to your kidneys. If you are pregnant, an untreated UTIs can cause premature birth or low birth weight. If the UTI spreads from the kidneys into the bloodstream, the bacteria can reach almost any part of your body. You may experience a life-threatening complication called sepsis.
A simple treatment for UTIs
When you receive early treatment for a UTI, you’ll only need to take antibiotic pills for a week or so. This simple, inexpensive treatment can relieve pain and keep the infection from spreading. However, if the infection travels to the kidneys or bloodstream, you may need care in a hospital to completely stop the infection.
Prevention of urinary tract infections
There are steps you take that will help reduce your chances of getting a urinary tract infection. You should:
- Stay hydrated, drinking more water will help considerably.
- Empty your bladder after you have sex.
- Avoid using deodorant sprays, scented wipes, douches or other possibly irritating feminine products.
- Wipe from front to back every time you use the restroom.
If you are worried you may have a UTI or experience frequent UTIs, contact us today to schedule an appointment with an OB/GYN to understand your treatment options.