The burning sensation you feel while peeing is a sign of a UTI. Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) are extremely common, especially in women. A woman’s urethra is also close to the vagina and the anus. Both of those have bacteria that can cause a UTI. More than half of all women will get a UTI at some point in their lives.
In conversation with TC46, Obstetrician & Gynecologist Dr Sushma Tomar of Fortis Hospital, Mumbai shares 8 key things to be aware of about UTIs.
1. A UTI can affect both men and women
A Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) is an infection in any part of your urinary system:
Most infections involve the lower urinary tract — the bladder and the urethra. Yes, UTI can affect both men and women.
2. Changes in urination is the most common symptom of a UTI
The patients come with symptoms of:
- Frequency of urine
- Burning during urine
- Pain during urination
- Fever with rigour abdominal pain in lumbar region or pelvic region
- Nausea and vomiting
- Bleeding with urine
- Dark coloured urine
3. Women has smaller urethras, making them more susceptible to an infection
Men mostly get an infection at older age along with the prostate. Younger men can develop this infection along with stone or due to inadequate water intake or after intercourse if the woman has Vulvovaginitis. Women are prone to have UTI because their urethra is smaller, so infection goes in the urinary bladder.
4. Maintaining hygiene is key to avoiding a UTI
Among women, after every menses, if they do not maintain personal hygiene, they may get repeated UTI. Wiping the toilet seat is important especially if you are using a public toilet. Intercourse can also cause UTI if one is not taking proper hygiene care. If one of the partners is having an infection, using a condom is a must. Post intercourse hygiene is also important.
In both men and women, UTI risk factors include:
- A weakened immune system
- Urinary tract abnormalities
- Blockages in the urinary tract, such as kidney stones or an enlarged prostate
- Catheter use
- Urinary surgery
5. There are 2 types of UTIs and their causes are different
There are two types of UTI:
- Cystitis, a urinary bladder infection
- Pyelonephritis, a kidney infection
6. A major change in urination is a sign that you need to visit your doctor
Urinary tract infections don’t always cause signs and symptoms, but when they do they may 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 red, bright pink or cola-coloured — a sign of blood in the urine
- Strong-smelling urine
- Pelvic pain, in women — especially in the centre of the pelvis and around the area of the pubic bone
7. Kidney infection is a possible risk associated with UTIs
Complications of a UTI may include recurrent infections, especially in women who experience two or more UTIs in a six-month period or four or more within a year. The other complication is that UTI can cause acute or chronic kidney infection (Pyelonephritis) due to an untreated UTI.
8. UTIs are preventable with basic care
- Wipe your genitals front to back, especially after urination
- Drink at least 3 litres of water per day
- Avoid holding your pee
- Urinate before and after sex
- Include probiotics in your diet