Urinary tract infections (UTIs): What are they and how are they treated?
It is rare to avoid urethritis and urinary tract infections throughout your entire life. Even though they are not serious, health-threatening infections, you should not ignore them. If you do not start UTI treatment early, it can affect the successful functioning of other organs such as the kidneys. These infections are typically caused by Escherichia coli bacteria, which can be found in the bladder wall and sometimes inside the bladder. This can lead to inflammation.
UTI treatment is required when you experience one of the following symptoms:
- Itchiness or similar unpleasant sensations in the urethra;
- An increased urge to urinate, followed with feeling no satisfaction after urinating;
- Blood in the urine;
- Unusual, cloudy discharge from the vagina or urethra;
- Pain during sexual intercourse;
- Foul-smelling urine;
- Dark-coloured urine.
A doctor will firstly focus on eliminating this infection. It is imperative to find out which type of bacteria caused the infection and to prescribe treatment in line with this. An infection is usually treated with antibiotics. It can also spread from sexual partners, so it is necessary to test their health as well.
The main causes of UTIs:
- The most common cause is Coli bacteria that have travelled from the digestive system into the bladder and urethra. The inflammation is rarely caused by other bacteria.
- UTIs in rare cases are caused by protozoa, fungi, viruses or microbacteria. In such cases, it is recommended that the patient starts a different kind of UTI treatment.
- In extremely rare cases, the infection may be caused by noninfectious agents.
It is recommended that you drink a lot of water and eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables to avoid such an infection or recover from it more quickly. It is also advised that you avoid alcohol, coffee and carbonated drinks. A strong immune system can protect against such infections.
Treatment and healthcare:
- Women are typically prescribed a 3-day course of antibiotics, while men are prescribed a 7-day course. In cases of pregnancy or complications, it is recommended to prolong the antibiotic treatment. Symptoms should disappear within 3 to 5 days, but it is essential to complete the course of antibiotics even if you are feeling better.
- Consumption of liquids, especially water. Although this cannot replace primary treatment, doing this is also important. Doctors recommend cranberry juice all year round to avoid UTIs, because it contains a large amount of vitamin C.
- Painkillers and a hot-water bottle. This UTI treatmen should not only reduce inflammation, but also help you to deal with discomfort. If you wish to reduce the pain without medication, please discuss this with your doctor.
- It is advisable to maintain the highest hygiene standards even after getting ill to avoid complications. After urination or defecation, it is imperative to wipe backwards, not forwards.
It is also important to avoid catching a cold, exposing your feet to the cold or sitting on cold surfaces. In some cases, the inflammation may be contracted after swimming in water that contains chlorine. In this event, it is recommended that you avoid this risk. You should also discuss this with your doctor, who will help find the cause of the infection and advise you on how to protect yourself in the future.