What is a Urinary Tract Infection?
A urinary tract infection is an infection of the urinary tract and is commonly referred to as a toilet infection. Women are at greater risk of developing a urinary tract infection than men but it does occur frequently in men too. Urinary tract infections are also very common in children, the elderly and those with abnormalities of the urinary tract. A urinary tract infection limited to your bladder can be painful and annoying. However, serious consequences can occur if a urinary tract infection spreads to your kidneys.
Symptoms may include:
Urinary tract infections do not always cause signs and symptoms, but when they do they can include:
- A strong, persistent urge to urinate.
- A burning sensation when urinating.
- Passing frequent, small amounts of urine.
- Urine that appears cloudy.
- Urine that appears bright pink or coca-cola colored — a sign of blood in the urine.
- Strong-smelling or Foul smelling urine.
- Pelvic pain, in women.
- Rectal pain, in men.
- Upper back and side (flank) pain.
- High Fever.
- Shaking and chills.
- Confusion and irrational behaviour in the elderly.
Urinary tract infections typically occur when bacteria enter the urinary tract through the urethra and begin to multiply in the bladder. Although the urinary system is designed to keep out such microscopic invaders, the defences sometimes fail. When that happens, bacteria may take hold and grow into a full-blown infection in the urinary tract.
· You can take steps to reduce your chance of getting a urinary tract infection.
· Drink plenty of fluids to allow for frequent urination to flush the bacteria from the bladder. Non sugary fluids like water are advised as sugar will only help the bacteria to flourish.
· Drinking cranberry juice has been found to prevent urinary tract infections
· If you do not urinate for a long period of time, the bacteria have time to multiply. Frequent urinating may reduce the risk in those who are prone to urinary tract infection so avoid holding-in urine for long periods of time.
· When changing your baby’s diaper always remember to wipe from front to back to prevent introduction of bacteria from the anal canal.
· Always keep your toilets clean.
· Personal hygiene is the most important factor in preventing a urinary tract infection, so always remember this the next time you need to use a public rest room.
See your doctor when you have any of the symptoms listed above as this may suggest that you have
contracted a urinary tract infection.
Antibiotics are the typical treatment for a urinary tract infection and your doctor will prescribe the
antibiotics best suited to cure the specific type of urinary tract infection you may have.