Urinary infection is an infection of any part of the urinary system-Urethra, urinary bladder, ureters and kidneys. It occurs when bacteria enters any part of the urinary tract.
- Female anatomy-women have shorter urethras than men, reducing the distance the bacteria must travel to reach the tract.
- Certain types of family planning methods- using diaphragms, spermicides vaginal ring and vaginal caps increases the chances of having UTI.
- Menopause – reduced estrogen causes a change in PH of the genitalia, making it more vulnerable to infections.
- Sexual intercourse – the urethra is exposed to bacteria from the genitalia and anus, allowing them to enter the urethra.
- Suppressed immune system – diabetes, pregnancy and other immunosuppressive diseases reduce the body’s defense against microbes hence increasing chances of UTI.
- A strong persistent urge to pass urine
- Burning sensation during urinating
- Lower abdominal pains (pelvic pain)
- Lower back pains
- Passing frequent small amounts of urine
- Urine that appears red, brick red or dark brown (a sign of blood in urine)
- Smelly urine
What can I do to avoid a urinary tract infection?
- Drink plenty of water: 8 glasses of water a day is recommended to keep your urine clear, pale yellow in colour- a sign of proper hydration.
- Drink cranberry Juice – studies show that cranberry can reduce levels of bacteria and prevent new bacteria from thriving in the urinary tract. (it does not cure an already existing infection so you still need to see a doctor)
- Avoid feminine hygienic products e.g. sprays, powders and strong soaps that interfere with the PH levels of the urinary tract.
- Clean your genital area before and after coitus.
- Pass urine after coitus
- After a bowel movement, clean your genitals from front to back to prevent introducing bacteria from faecal matter to the urethra.
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