When you have got to go, you have got to go. But if you are going unusually frequently, we could be looking at something different – a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI).
A urinary tract infection (UTI) refers to an infection in any part of the urinary system, which is made up of the kidneys, ureters bladder, and urethra. In most cases of UTI, the infection occurs in the lower urinary tract where the bladder and urethra are located.
UTI can occur to both men and women, although women are 14 times more likely to contract a UTI due to their shorter urethra. At about 4cm, bacteria travels a shorter distance to reach and infect the bladder.
A UTI is often characterised by frequent trips to the bathroom and a burning sensation every time you urinate. Besides these signs, you may also experience:
The most common cause of UTI is bacteria. As the urinary system is naturally able to protect against bacteria, most cases of infections are not serious. However, the defence can fail for a variety of reasons:
Escherichia coli, or E. coli, is a bacterium that causes infection in the gastrointestinal tract. The bacterium can spread from the anus to the urethra.
Women are anatomically built with a shorter urethra. As a result, the bacteria that enters the urinary tract travels a shorter distance to reach the bladder where infection occurs.
Sexually Transmitted Infections
Sexually transmittable diseases, such as herpes, gonorrhoea, chlamydia, and mycoplasma, can result in UTI.
Other factors that increase your likelihood of contracting UTI include a previous infection, pregnancy, changes in the vaginal flora, which could be due to medication, menopausal, or the use of spermicides, and structural issues with the urinary tract like an enlarged prostate.
More general factors include age and poor hygiene.
While UTI alone can be easily treated, a bigger concern is when the infection is associated with other untreated infections that could have spread from the bladder to neighbouring organs. There is also a tiny possibility of the infection entering the bloodstream and infecting organs further away from the primary site of infection.
Although less common, when UTI occurs in men, it tends to be more complex as the infection could be related to more complicated conditions such as enlarged prostate, kidney stones, diabetes, incontinence, and more.
The first step to recovering from a UTI is to seek treatment for it.
Depending on the severity of the infection, our doctors may prescribe a round of antibiotics. Antibiotics are often prescribed in the first line of treatment but they can cause side effects like rashes, dizziness, nausea, diarrhoea, or yeast infection.
If antibiotics alone are good, you will recover easily. Otherwise, you may have to undergo further tests or evaluation. If the infection can be linked or traced to sexually transmittable diseases, more tests will be ordered to determine the real cause of the illness to find the best treatment for it.
Of course, prevention is better than cure. Here are some tips to help you avoid a UTI:
If your frequent trips to the bathroom are stopping you from visiting the clinic, Speedoc is ready to help you with our video consultation and medicine delivery services.
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