You must have heard of UTIs at the gynac’s while going for your usual checkup, but what is a UTI? According to Cleveland Clinic, a UTI or urinary tract infection is an infection of the urinary system, which can infect the bladder, ureters, urethra and even kidneys. A UTI can happen to anyone, but if you identify as a woman, your chances are slightly higher. About 50-60% of women experience UTI or UTI-like symptoms in their lifetime whereas about 10-12% of men suffer from UTI. Now that we know the basics of UTI, let's see how to get rid of a UTI in 24 hours or how to treat a UTI at home.
- Symptoms of UTI that you cannot ignore
- Causes of UTIs
- Types of UTIs and its symptoms
- How to prevent UTIs
- How to prevent UTI re-infection
Symptoms of UTI that you cannot ignore
If you are unsure what is a UTI infection and if you have it, look out for these common tell-tale signs:
- A burning sensation down there while peeing.
- The constant urge to urinate, even if nothing comes out.
- The changed colour of your pee. It may be cloudy, dark or just smells strange.
- Feeling tired more often.
- Slight pain in your lower abdomen.
- Slight fever or chills throughout the body. Do not ignore this, as it may indicate that the infection has reached your kidneys.
Now, let's talk about the causes of UTIs.
Causes of UTIs
Cleaning the wrong way
A tip that gynaecologists swear by is always washing your vagina after peeing and wiping it from the front to the back, not the other way around. This is because the urethra (the tube from which we pee) is close to our anus and may infect it. How? Cleveland Clinic explains that E.coli, a type of bacteria from the large intestine, can sometimes make its way from the anus to the urethra. That's not all, from there it can travel all the way to the bladder and infect it. And if it isn't treated at this stage, it ends up infecting the kidneys.
Women have shorter urethras than men, making it easier for the bacteria to reach their bladders. The shape of their urinary tracts also makes it easier to get infected.
Another way to get UTI is via unprotected sex. Always use a condom, especially if you wish to avoid UTIs and STIs.
Did you know that if you have diabetes, you have a higher chance of contracting a UTI due to a weak immune system? Make sure you get yourself regularly tested.
Types of UTIs and its symptoms
As mentioned above, UTIs can infect three parts of the body; kidneys, urethra and bladder. Each type has a different name, based on where the infection is.
Pyelonephritis: This happens when the infection reaches your kidneys, and the symptoms include - fevers, nausea, sudden chills, vomiting and prominent pain in your back.
Cystitis: This is when your bladder is infected, and the symptoms are peeing a lot, a burning sensation while peeing, your lower back hurting a little, and cloudy or bloody urine.
Urethritis: As the name suggests, this type of UTI affects your urethra. This can cause more vaginal discharge and also a burning sensation while you pee.
Note: A simple way to detect that you may have a urine infection is when it burns while urinating or the colour of urine appears to be dark or cloudy.
UTIs can affect your health and mood in the long run if not treated early. So if you see any of these symptoms, consult your doctor immediately.
How to prevent UTIs
If you haven't had the chance to experience a UTI, consider yourself lucky. And If you wish to stay that way, then bookmark these easy ways to treat UTIs.
- When using a public washroom, do not sit on the toilet (the western style one). Either balance yourself in the air and pee or control it till you're back home.
- Always keep a sanitizing spray handy. Every day, we share the toilet with many people in the office and it's better to disinfect the toilet before sitting on it.
- Always wash your vagina with water after urinating. Use the VWash Plus Expert Intimate Hygiene Liquid Wash once daily to keep the area clean and the pH balanced to reduce the chances of UTIs. We aren’t the only ones to love this product for its benefits - 9 out of 10 users feel that it helps reduce vaginal infections.
What to do if you get a UTI?
- If you do end up getting diagnosed with it, one of the most common ways to treat UTIs is to take antibiotics. Consult your physician for a prescription.
- But if you want to know how to treat a UTI at home, do not shy away from drinking as much water as you can. Drink twice as you normally do to flush out the toxins and the bacteria from your body.
- Take an at-home urine test, just to be sure before hitting panic mode. It can also help you decide if you need to visit a doctor or not. If it is a simple case, you can continue with your hygienic routine like washing your genitals with the chemical-free VWash.
- Mayo Clinic suggests drinking cranberry juice as it can also help prevent and treat UTIs in some cases. The red cranberry contains a tannin that helps prevent E.coli bacteria. There's not much research on this, but some patients swear by this home remedy.
If you have more than three cases of UTI in a year, then you have Chronic UTI and need to visit your doctor for a treatment plan.
Do not stop the treatment prescribed by the doctor even if you see absolutely no signs of UTI as it may result in re-infection. Here are some other ways to combat it.
How to prevent UTI re-infection
- Make sure you empty that bladder as soon as you feel the need to pee.
- Stay away from baths and pools and choose to shower instead.
- Stay away from 'scented' products that promise to make your vagina smell like a florist's shop. We like our vagina to smell like one. Thank you very much!
- Always pee after sex, especially if you do not use protection.
Wear cotton panties and keep your vagina dry by wearing a panty liner. But do change it at least 2-3 times in a day, especially if you're close to your periods (heavy discharge and all).
FAQs on what is UTI
Q. What is the number one main cause of UTIs?
The most common cause of a UTI is getting an infection in your urinary tract. The bacteria that is mostly responsible is E.coli.
Q. Can a UTI go away on its own?
If the infection is not too serious, it can indeed go away on its own. Some research suggests that 42% of simple UTI cases do not need any medical treatment.
Q. How can I get rid of UTI fast?
Along with taking antibiotics prescribed by your doctor, you can try some home remedies to quickly cure UTI. Apply a heat pack, drink lots of water, wear loose and cotton clothes and drink cranberry juice.
Now that you know everything there is to know like what is a UTI and how to treat it, we hope that you are more careful in the future and never get one.
Written by Lopa K on Oct 28, 2022