Avoid those pesky urinary tract infections with tips on preventing and treating UTIs. Our expert answers all your burning questions.
There are certain common medical issues that tend to get swept under the rug – like the burning issue of urinary tract infections. If you’ve ever been hit by a bout of searing pain from urinating, you’ll know how it feels. And you’re not alone, because one in every three women will experience a UTI at least once in their life. So there’s nothing to be embarrassed about! But what actually causes UTIs and what are the symptoms and treatments? We ask Dr Fiona Wu from Aare Urocare to debunk the myths and share the facts.
When your bladder is calling for help
Feeling a burning sensation when you urinate? That’s one of the first signs of a UTI. But that’s not all – your bladder might send out a dash of blood in the urine or a cloudy liquid. Other symptoms include feeling like you can’t quite empty the tank, frequent and painful bathroom trips, as well as pelvic or abdominal pain. If you’re in the golden years, unexplained fever or lethargy might be some of your bladder’s first signals too.
Busting the myths about UTIs
No, UTIs aren’t magically cured by tossing back herbal potions or a ton of supplements. Hygiene typically isn’t the sole culprit either, so public toilets are likely not to blame. UTIs are caused by bacteria and other microorganisms entering the urethra and bladder. If the bacteria multiply sufficiently and overwhelm our natural immune defence mechanisms, this will cause an infection.
In some instances, bacteria can travel to the kidneys via the ureters, resulting in pyelonephritis (kidney infections). Some common types of bacteria that cause UTIs are escherichia coli (E. coli) and enterococcus faecalis, commonly found in the gastrointestinal tract.
So, what can trigger a UTI? Sex, infrequent urination and dehydration are some of the common factors, as well as chronic conditions like diabetes or the presence of urinary catheters. Other risk factors include menopause, sexually transmitted diseases and kidney or bladder stones.
Prevent UTIs and protect your bladder
Hydration is your trusty sidekick, so drink up to flush out the bacteria. Don’t hold it in – regular bathroom breaks are a must. Best practices when getting intimate are to pee after, and use lubrication during the process. Aside from that, females using spermicides or vaginal diaphragms can try alternative forms of contraception to reduce the risk of UTIs.
Make sure you get screenings for conditions such as diabetes mellitus if you suspect you have the symptoms. For diabetics, proper glucose control is essential to prevent recurrent infections. Other new and experimental treatments include a UTI vaccine and intravesical instillation of hyaluronic acid.
Above all, if you’re experiencing severe symptoms of a UTI – especially if you have a high fever, back pain or nausea – be sure to seek a doctor’s advice for antibiotic treatments. Aare Urocare offers prompt appointment scheduling, diagnostic services and comprehensive treatments for UTIs, urinary incontinence and other conditions involving the bladder, kidney and prostate.
Facing persistent or recurring UTIs but don’t want to let them ruin your life? The clinic offers Uromune, the new oral vaccine which is recommended for women over the age of 50. A pineapple-flavoured spray that’s administered under the tongue daily for three months, this immunostimulant can prevent UTIs for up to a year without side effects.
Book an appointment with Aare Urocare to stave off the pain and discomfort, stat!
This post is in partnership with Aare Urocare.