The signs and symptoms of a urinary tract infection can differ for men and women. A urinary tract infection (or UTI) is something that can affect everybody but is more prevalent in women.
Here we’ll take a look at urinary tract infection causes, urinary tract infection symptoms and how to treat urinary tract infections. what treatments are available.
What is a urinary tract infection?
Essentially, a UTI is an infection of any part of the urinary system. This includes:
- The kidneys
As mentioned, women are more likely to contract a urinary tract infection than men. In fact, some experts put the figure at a 50%-60% chance for a woman to experience an incidence of UTI, while some women experience repeat infections. For men, the estimate of getting a UTI is approximately on average 1 in 10 men aged under 55.
While an infection of the bladder can be annoying and painful, more serious problems can occur if the infection spreads to the kidneys.
Urinary tract infections are common and people of any age can develop a UTI. Pregnant women are more susceptible and at greater risk from UTI complications.
What is the cause of UTI?
You might be wondering, what is the cause of UTI? There are quite a few reasons why someone could contract a UTI. Infections are caused by microbes that overcome the urinary tract’s defence mechanisms. This includes;
- Sexual intercourse, one common causes, particularly if the person is with a new partner or entertaining multiple partners.
- Use of antibiotics, another common cause, can upset the body’s natural flora found in the urinary tract and bowel.
- Poor personal hygiene is another contributing factor that can lead to infection of the urinary tract.
- Some forms of contraception such as spermicides, or use of tampons can be what causes UTI in women – as considered by some experts.
- Not being able to completely empty the bladder or having a blocked flow of urine can also be contributing factors.
Symptoms of UTI
Let’s now take a look at signs and symptoms of UTI. The UTI symptoms for women and the UTI symptoms for men are similar.
- Burning sensation when urinating, and the urge to pee all the time which is intense or frequent, yet very little urine comes out, are possibly the most common symptoms of UTI
- Strange smelling pee which is dark or cloudy can also be a strong indicator that your urinary tract is suffering from an infection.
- Pain in the lower abdomen or back is also possible.
- Fever and chills can occur if the infection reaches the kidneys.
- Other symptoms can include feeling shaky or excessively tired, pelvic pain and even the presence of blood in the urine.
Older adults may mistake the symptoms of a UTI for other conditions.
How to treat urinary tract infection
Urinary tract infection treatment can depend on the extent of the infection. After identifying urinary tract infection symptoms, antibiotics are the most common solution for both kidney UTI treatment and bladder urinary tract infection treatment.
In the advent that a UTI reaches the kidneys, the results can be increased pain and fever. Therefore, paracetamol is usually recommended to reduce fever and to ease the pain. Other pain killers may also be prescribed by your physician.
How to prevent a UTI from occurring
You don’t have to suffer from the discomfort of a urinary tract infection. There are some steps you can take to prevent an infection from occurring. None are a guarantee, but taking precautions will certainly help prevent a UTI or help stop you from experiencing the first signs of UTI. These include;
- Drinking plenty of water is always advised. Not only does this dilute the urine, but it also makes you go to the bathroom more regularly. This helps flush out your system. Cranberry juice is also said to help prevent UTIs.
- When using the bathroom, always wipe yourself from front to back to avoid any possibility of bacteria entering the genitals.
- It’s highly recommended to empty your bladder soon after finishing, for anyone who is sexually active, to ensure any bacteria is flushed from the genitals.
- For women, minimising the use of feminine hygiene products can also help to prevent a urinary tract infection.
- As far as birth control goes, using spermicides, douches, condoms and diaphragms lead to the possibility of the growth of bacteria. You may want to reconsider your birth control methods.
Consult An Expert
If you’re suffering from a UTI, or you need some advice on how to prevent a UTI from reoccurring, consult with the expert team at Katelaris Urology. We’re here to help, so give us a call and book in for an appointment today.
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Farrell K, Tandan M, Hernandez Santiago V, et al., Treatment of uncomplicated UTI in males: a systematic review of the literature, BJGP Open, April 2021, Vol.5 Issue 2
Henigsman S. A., UTIs in Adults: Everything you need to know, Healthline, 15 April 2022, available online