What Leads To UTI In Women (Mainly In India)?

The majority of Urinary Tract Infections (UTI) develop due to the bacteria Escherichia coli (E.coli). This is a bacteria commonly found in the digestive system. The anatomy of the female body is such that it increases the likelihood of developing a UTI. The bacteria E.Coli lives in the large intestine in the body. As the urethra of women is shorter than that of a man, it allows the bacteria to enter the urethra from the large intestine. This is the reason women are asked to wipe from front to back after going to the toilet. The kidneys are likely to get affected and also the bacteria can travel from the urethra to the kidneys.

Factors That Lead To UTI

Some of the factors that can put you at risk of getting a UTI are-

  • Menopause
  • Suffering from kidney stones
  • Suffered from a previous UTI
  • Obstructions or blockages in the urinary tract
  • Ignorance about symptoms of diabetes
  • Pregnancy
  • Abnormal development of structures since birth
  • Weak immunity system
  • Use of birth control pills, antibiotics or corticosteroids
  • Vaginal intercourse
  • Douching
  • Spermicides cause skin irritations which make the bacteria to invade
  • Using unlubricated condoms or spermicidal condoms that cause irritation
  • Using diaphragms which slow urinary flow

Some of the factors that encourage the growth of bacteria are-

  • Not drinking enough fluids
  • Holding in urine purposely for long hours

Symptoms to Look Out for UTI

But how will you know that you have a UTI? Here is a list of symptoms you should look out for in order to prevent the spreading of the infection-

  • A burning sensation when you urinate
  • Frequent or intense urge to urinate
  • Feeling lethargic or shaky
  • Feeling of pain or pressure in the back or lower abdomen
  • Fever or chills

Types of UTI in women-

Depending on where they occur, a UTI can be three types-

  • Cystitis- Infection of the bladder
  • Urethritis- Infection of the urethra
  • Pyelonephritis- Infection of the kidney

Sex and UTIs

The most common cause of UTIs in women is sexual intercourse. During the intercourse, the bacteria from the intimate area and genitals can travel up to the urethra. This can further travel from the urethra, bladder to the kidneys. Hence, every time a woman has sex, the risk of getting a UTI increases. To reduce the risk, try the following tips-

  • Urinate before and after sex
  • Clean your intimate and anal area after sex
  • Avoid using a diaphragm or spermicides

 Prevention for UTIs-

The treatment of UTI includes consuming prescribed medicines that treat the infections by killing the bacteria. But once the UTI is treated, the risk of occurring again increases. Hence, you can prevent the infection from recurring by following the simple remedies which are mentioned below- 

  • Stay hydrated- To treat and prevent UTIs, it is important to keep yourself hydrated. What happens is that the water dilutes the urine and the waste is excreted faster. It makes it harder for the bacteria to attack the urinary system lining and infecting it.

 

  • Urinate as soon as you feel the need- As soon as you feel the need to urinate, go for it. This will lower the time of the bacteria in the urinary tract. This will eventually reduce the risk of the bacteria infecting the urinary tract tissues.

 

  • Drink cranberry juice- The juice of cranberry is rich in antioxidants which have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Drinking cranberry juice can prevent bacteria from sticking to the walls of the urinary tract.

 

  • Consume probiotics-Probiotics such as yogurts, some types of cheese, kefir can cure the infection by-
  1. Preventing harmful bacteria from getting attached to the UTI
  2. Producing hydrogen peroxide in urine which is rich in antibacterial properties

Takeaway

There are several reasons, both sexual and nonsexual, that increase the risk of UTI in women. A UTI is easily preventable but it causes pain and extreme discomfort. Although there are several home remedies you can try, the most effective treatment option for curing UTI is antibiotics. Consult a gynecologist immediately to get treatment for UTI!

About the Author:

Dr. Garima Sawhney

MBBS, M.S | Gynaecologist & Obstetrician, trained in Cosmetic & Aesthetic Gynaecology (ESAG), Specialist in Minimal Access Surgery

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