Urinary Tract Infections: The Basics

Urinary tract infections affect between 8 and 10 million people worldwide. Symptoms of the disease may be mild or severe. In fact, many who suffer from a urinary tract infection do not seek medical attention. They either do not recognise that the disease exists, or they choose to treat the infection with home remedies. Although most infections are mild and do not pose a severe health threat, they may become dangerous. It occurs when the infection spreads to the kidneys. In this case, the condition may become life-threatening.

What is a Urinary Tract Infection?

An infection occurs when parts of the urinary tract become inflamed or contaminated. The urinary tract consists of the bladder, urethra, kidneys, and ureters. The kidneys are intended to flush the bloodstream of waste. This waste becomes urine and leaves the body through the urethra. Occasionally, bacterium creeps into the opening of the urethra. When this occurs, an infection will likely develop. The severity of the infection depends on the bacterium, and where it spreads inside the urinary tract. There are three types of urinary tract infections.

Cystitis: Bladder infection

Urethritis Urethra infection

Pylenonephritis: Kidney infection

Kidney infections are a serious condition and require immediate medical treatment.

Causes of Urinary Tract Infections

Bacterium from the anus is the primary cause of urinary tract infections. Thus, it is vital for women to clean themselves front to back. It prevents minute faecal particles from entering the urethra. Additional causes include:

  • Sexual intercourse
  • Wearing tight jeans
  • Bicycling
  • Uses scented perfume soaps, powders, and cleansers in the genital area
  • Spicy foods
  • Drinking excessive carbonated beverages and alcohol

Symptoms of a Urinary Tract Infection

  • Back or side pain
  • Blood in urine
  • Cloudy or yellow urine
  • Frequent urination
  • Painful urination
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Pelvic Pain

How to Treat a Urinary Tract Infection?

The treatment of most urinary tract infections is prescribed antibiotics. Mild urinary tract infections may be treated at home by:

  • Drinking plenty of water and juices (blueberry and cranberry juices)
  • Urinating frequently
  • Avoiding sexual intercourse
  • Taking ibuprofen or aspirin for pain
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