UTI(Urinary Tract Infection): Symptoms, Treatment And Medication

urinary tract infection

UTI: Treatment and Medication

A urinary tract infection is an infection in any part of the urinary system; this includes the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. It is an infection from microbes, that are too small to be seen without a microscope. Most UTIs are a result of bacteria, but some may be caused by fungi and in rare cases, viruses.

Most infections take place in the lower urinary tract, which is the bladder and the urethra. Women are more susceptible to developing a UTI than men. The infection can remain in the bladder and cause pain and irritation. Serious consequences may occur if the infection spreads to the kidneys.

Symptoms of UTI

Urinary tract infections may not always show symptoms. When they do, they depend on what part of the urinary system is infected. Signs of a lower tract UTI include:

  • Increased urgency in urination
  • Bloody urine
  • Cloudy urine
  • Urine that looks like cola or tea
  • Urine with a strong odor
  • Increased frequency of urination without passing much urine
  • Burning while urinating
  • Pelvic pain in women
  • Rectal pain in men

Infection in the upper tracts affects the kidneys. These can become life-threatening if the bacteria move into the blood from the infected kidney. This condition, termed urosepsis, can cause really low levels of blood pressure, shock, and in the worst cases, death.

Some symptoms of upper urinary tract UTI could be:

  • Chills
  • Nausea
  • Pain and tenderness in the upper back and sides
  • Vomiting
  • Fever

Causes of UTI

When bacteria enter the urinary tract through the urethra and begin to multiply in the bladder, urinary tract infections take place. Typically, the urinary system is designed and equipped to keep such microscopic invaders out of bounds, but at times these defenses fail to work.

With the defenses waning, bacteria may enter and grow into a full-blown infection in the urinary tract. Here are some ways it can be caused:

Infection of the Bladder (Cystitis):

Cystitis is usually caused by Escherichia coli, or E choli, a type of bacteria commonly found in the gastrointestinal tract (GI). There might be cases where other bacteria are responsible for the infection.

A person does not need to be sexually active to develop cystitis, but sexual intercourse may sometimes be the cause. All women are at risk of cystitis because of their anatomy. In females, the distance between the urethra to the anus and the urethral opening to the bladder is short.

Infection of the Urethra (Urethritis):

This type of UTI occurs when the GI bacteria spread from the anus to the urethra. Additionally, since the female urethra is close to the vagina, sexually transmitted infections like herpes, chlamydia, mycoplasma, and gonorrhea can cause urethritis.

Treatments for UTI at Home

Home remedies would not be enough to completely cure UTIs, but they can help the medication work better, and reduce the risks of urinary tract infections. Some of them are:

Drinking Plenty of Fluids:

Drinking a lot of fluids, especially water, should be the priority. Hydration status has been linked to the risk of urinary tract infection. Drinking water aids in diluting the urine and ensuring that the person would urinate frequently.

This would allow the bacteria to be flushed out from the urinary tract before it can grow into an infection. To stay hydrated and to meet all fluid needs, it is best to drink water throughout the day, and always when thirsty.

Drinking Unsweetened Cranberry Juice:

One of the most well-known natural remedies for urinary tract infections includes drinking unsweetened cranberry juice. Cranberries work by preventing bacteria from sticking to or staying in the urinary tract, thus preventing the growth of infection.

Consuming 8 ounces of unsweetened cranberry juice every day may work in lowering the episodes of UTI in women who are prone to developing the infection more often. It is important to note that the benefits would not apply if sweetened commercial brands of cranberry juice are consumed. 

Increasing Vitamin C Intake:

There is some evidence that shows the positive effects of increasing vitamin C intake to protect against urinary tract infections. It works by increasing the acidity of urine, which would kill off the bacteria lurking in the urinary tract to cause an infection.

Fruits and vegetables are especially high in Vitamin C and are the best way to increase the compound’s intake. Oranges, grapefruit, red peppers, and kiwis all contain the complete recommended amount of Vitamin C per day in just a single serving.

Practicing Healthy Habits:

Preventing urinary tract infections start with following a few good bathroom and hygiene practices. For example, wiping should be done from front to back. Doing so after urinating and a bowel movement would prevent bacteria in the anal region from spreading to the vagina and urethra.

Urine should not be held in for too long. This risks the build-up of bacteria, resulting in infection soon after. Emptying the bladder after sexual intercourse can also reduce the danger of UTIs by preventing the spread of bacteria.

Additionally, people who are at high risk of UTIs should avoid using spermicide, as it is linked to an increase in infections. After any sexual act, it is recommended to drink a full glass of water to flush out the bacteria.

Medication for UTIs

Some several over-the-counter products and medications help reduce the symptoms of urinary tract infections. Some of them are:

AZO Test Strips:

Test strips help in determining the presence of a bladder infection. These are similar to what doctors would use on patients. On testing positive, consultation with the doctor for prescription antibiotics would be necessary.

AZO Urinary Pain Relief Tablets:

Much like pain-killers, the active ingredient in these tablets is phenazopyridine hydrochloride. It works to reduce urinary pain and has an analgesic effect. The tablets may turn urine bright orange. 

AZO Urinary Tract Defence:

These pills contain methenamine, which aids in slowing down the growth of bacteria in the urinary tract. It is not strong enough to eradicate the infection but can slow down the growth of bacteria until proper treatment is available.

Cystex with Cranberry:

Ingredients in this product, such as d-mannose and cranberry concentrate, prevent the bacteria from adhering to the walls of the urinary tract.

Ibuprofen:

The bladder becomes inflamed due to the inset of a urinary tract infection. It causes pain, discomfort, and a frequent urgency to urinate. Ibuprofen’s anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties help in controlling these sensations.

saveNatural Supplements:

Natural supplements readily obtainable over the counter may decrease the risk of a UTI. A few supplements with positive results on infections are:

  • D-mannose
  • Garlic extract
  • Bearberry leaf
  • Cranberry extract

Conclusion

Urinary tract infections are a common occurrence, which can disrupt daily life. Following healthy habits and supplementing the diet with UTI-fighting ingredients are the best ways to lower the risk of contracting this infection. However, chronic UTIs would need proper treatment from a healthcare provider.