A urinary tract infection (UTI) is caused by a bacterial infection of the urinary system. The urinary system includes the bladder, kidneys, the ureters, and the urethra. Bacteria can enter the urethra and infect the bladder. As it is relatively easy to get an infection, there are many causes for UTI. Standard medical treatment includes taking a round of antibiotics, which have to be completed to be totally effective. Home remedies include simple lifestyle changes to prevent and lessen the risk of getting a UTI. Home remedies can complement the taking of antibiotics, because they both address the main cause of UTIs.
What is a Urinary Tract Infection?
A urinary tract infection is a bacterial infection of the urinary system. There are two types of urinary tract infection, which are cystitis and urethritis.
Urinary Tract Infection Risk Factors
Urinary tract infections are more common in females. Repeat infections in females are common as well. This is because women have shorter urethras, which can lead bacteria to the bladder faster.
Here are the risk factors for urinary tract infection:
- being female, as they have shorter urethras
- being pregnant
- having a condition which affects urine flow, such as having kidney stones or other obstructions in your urinary tract
- having diabetes
- dealing with multiple sclerosis
You are more likely to get a urinary tract infection if you are any of the following:
- previously had a UTI
- use spermicides
What Causes Urinary Tract Infections?
Urinary tract infections are caused by bacterial infections. Bacteria may enter through the urethra, reach the bladder, and cause an infection. There are many ways for bacteria to enter the body and cause a UTI. for instance, sexual activity may make it easier for bacteria to enter and infect a body. Sexual activity may also worsen a UTI.
Bacteria can enter the body with sexual activity in the following ways:
- bacteria from your sexual partner’s anus infects your genitals
- fingers that enter your genitals can bring in the bacteria
- sex toys that enter your genitals can bring in the bacteria
- your sexual partner’s genitals bring in bacteria living on the surface of your genitals
A UTI is not transferred from one person to another during sex, because a UTI is not a sexually-transmitted disease. However, a UTI can also be caused by chlamydia, gonorrhea, or other organisms. In these cases, a UTI is the underlying symptom of these other health conditions.
Most people do not know the exact cause of their urinary tract infection, as there are so many causes of UTIs.
Symptoms of Urinary Tract Infection
The following are symptoms of Urinary Tract Infection:
- burning feeling while urinating
- cloudy, dark, bloody, or strange-smelling urine
- feeling pain while urinating
- feeling tired or shaky
- fever or chills
- frequent urges to urinate even if little urine comes out
- cramps, pain, or pressure in your lower abdomen, back, or sides
- pus is present in urine
If you have symptoms of urinary tract infection, a doctor will ask you for a urine sample. A urinalysis is a test that checks urine for the particular bacteria that causes the UTI. You will be prescribed antibiotics, which must be finished completely. The dosage is determined by the particulars of your case, which include your medical history and the cause of your infection.
You may also be tested for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Certain STDs may have the same symptoms as a UTI or be the cause for the UTI.
If you have UTIs more than 3 or more UTIs a year, you should ask for a chronic treatment plan.
Using a Home Remedy to Treat a Urinary Tract Infection
The standard treatment for a urinary tract infection is to take a round of antibiotics, which get rid of the infection caused by bacteria. By taking antibiotics, the symptoms of UTI may be alleviated within two days of starting them. Antibiotics still have to be taken even if the symptoms of UTIs disappear, as the bacteria may still be present or may still come back.
Taking antibiotics may be complemented with the maintenance of healthy habits at home. Routinizing hygiene can help bacterial infections from happening. Both antibiotics and healthy habits can address the root cause of UTIs, which is a bacterial infection.
Getting a urinary tract infection is painful and frustrating. However, even if there are many different causes for UTIs, there are many things that you can do at home to prevent getting urinary tract infections. Simple lifestyle changes will greatly reduce your chances of getting a UTI.
Drinking Plenty of Fluids
Always drink when you are thirsty. Drinking plenty of fluids will help you stay hydrated. Drinking more and urinating more helps flush out bacteria away from the urinary tract.
Taking unsweetened cranberry juice can help flush out bacteria from the urinary tract as well. If you do not have any on hand, hydrating yourself with water is just as fine.
Not Holding it in
It is important to pee when you need to and to never hold it in. Holding in your pee even if you need to urinate can lead to a buildup of bacteria. Urinating can help flush out bacteria.
Peeing Before and After Sex
Peeing before and after sex can prevent UTIs. Doing this can flush out bacteria which can infect your sexual partner. If your sexual partner has been infected by bacteria, peeing after sex can help flush out bacteria that has infected you.
Using Protection During Sex
Using protection during sex, such as condoms and dental dams, can help prevent bacteria from spreading, because the physical barrier between genitals can prevent bacteria from spreading.
Washing Before Sex
Before having sex, washing up is a great way to prevent UTIs. Make sure that your fingers, genitals, and sex toys are clean before any sexual activity. Make sure that your sexual partner has washed up as well.
Washing Your Genitals
Regularly washing your genitals and anus with water and soap can help prevent UTIs. When wiping after using the toilet, wipe from the front to the back. Do not wipe from back to front. Wiping in this direction may spread bacteria, which may enter the urinary tract and cause an infection.