Trapped on the toilet with a never-ending urge to pee? It’s likely you’ve got a urinary tract infection (UTI), a bacterial infection of the urinary tract system, which includes the kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra.
UTI causes Bacteria can travel from the anus or rectum to the urethra during sex, or if a woman wipes from back to front after a bowel movement. The bacteria may then travel to the bladder, causing a bladder infection, and if the infection is not treated, the bacteria can move up the ureters, causing a kidney infection. Using a diaphragm for birth control can cause an infection because it pushes against the urethra and makes it more difficult to fully empty the bladder. Pregnancy also makes it easier to develop UTIs, because the fetus puts pressure on the ureters.
UTI symptoms The most apparent symptom of UTIs is pain during urination. A burning sensation during urination, urgency to urinate, bloody urine, lower back pain, fatigue, nausea and low-grade fever are also signs of a UTI. When the infection is in the kidneys, a sufferer may experience a high fever, chills, shivers and an unwell feeling.
UTI diagnosis/tests If you’ve got that burning feeling, see a doctor to confirm that it’s a UTI. She’ll ask you for a urine sample or may simply prescribe antibiotics based on your symptoms.
UTI treatment Antibiotics are prescribed for UTIs and symptoms usually subside within a day or two of starting treatment. Drinking cranberry juice and other fluids may also help. Women who regularly get UTIs may benefit from taking a low dose of antibiotics for a few months to prevent infection, or taking one antibiotic pill after sex if intercourse seems to be causing the problem. Urinating soon after sex also helps ward off UTIs.
UTI prevention It is possible to lower your risk of developing a UTI:
• Always wipe from front to back when using the toilet to keep bacteria from the anal area from spreading to the vagina and urethra.
• Drink plenty of water and other fluids which flush bacteria from your urinary tract so it’s less likely to cause an infection.
• Urinate to empty your bladder soon after sex.
• Avoid douches and feminine sprays which can be irritating.