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If you are a woman, chances are you might have experienced the terrible burning sensation and the constant urge to pee, only to be followed by more burning upon peeing! It can be a nightmare. It could be a urinary tract infection!

Urinary tract infections, or UTIs, are the second most common type of infection today. They’re easy to treat with antibiotics but might still be very painful and uncomfortable if not diagnosed and treated early.  

While men can get UTI too, it is more common in women. It is reported that almost 1 in 2 women will have a UTI at least once in their lifetime, while over 1 in 4 women will experience repeated infections! 

Let’s find out more about UTIs in this blog. Keep reading!

What is a UTI?

The urinary system or the urinary tract is the part of our body responsible for performing many functions, the most important one being producing and removing urine from the body. It is made up of two kidneys, two ureters, a bladder, and a urethra. 

A UTI is a common condition that occurs when harmful bacteria move into the urinary tract – a place usually free from any bacteria or other living micro-organisms – and multiply, causing urine infection in women. Though mostly the infection involves only the lower parts of the urinary tract – the bladder and the urethra, it can sometimes spread to the kidneys and ureters as well making it extremely dangerous.

What makes women more prone to UTI?

Blame the female anatomy. In simple terms, the very body structure of women makes them more likely to contract UTIs. Women have a shorter urethra – the tube through which urine leaves the body – as compared to men, which translates as shorter distance to travel for the bacteria.

Yet another reason is the closeness between the urethra and the rectum (the anus) in women. Bacteria from the rectum can easily reach the urethra and cause frequent UTI in females.

Symptoms of UTI in women

Urinary tract infections in women usually don't cause any symptoms in the early stages, and sometimes they never do throughout the course of the infection. However, these are some signs and UTI symptoms women might experience and should be on the watch out for:

  • strong urge to urinate more often, and urgently,

  • burning sensation during urination,

  • cloudy or foul-smelling urine,

  • a feeling that the bladder is full even after urinating,

  • blood in the urine,

  • lower back pain or pain above the pubic bone.

A UTI usually takes 3-17 days to completely cure! So, how do you manage the sudden leaks and drips when your bladder is bursting, and you are unable to reach the toilet in time? It’s simple really! Use incontinence care products made by the No. 1 manufacturers of absorbent hygiene products in India—Friends Adult Diapers. Friends UltraThinz Slim Fit Dry Pants are India’s first thin adult diapers, specifically designed to fit the contours of a woman’s body. They are slim and invisible under saree, skirt, jeans or skirt. They are also:

  • Super soft and absorbent.

  • Contain side leak guards to protect against trickles and leaks along the thighs. 

  • Anti-bacterial and anti-rash to protect sensitive skin. 

  • 100% harmful chemicals and artificial fragrance-free. 

Toh fir UTIs caused urine leakage se Azadi Mubarak!

There are also different types of UTIs which may result in more specific signs and UTI symptoms female should watch out for, depending on the part of the urinary tract affected. These include:

  • Cystitis – infection of the bladder

  • Urethritis – infection of the urethra 

  • Pyelonephritis – infection of the kidneys

  • Vaginitis – infection of the vagina

If the infection reaches the kidneys, immediate medical attention is needed. In addition to the symptoms mentioned above, a woman with a kidney infection may also experience: 

  • Fever 

  • Chills 

  • Vomiting 

  • Upper back or side pain

What are the causes of UTI in women?

As we’ve already seen, a UTI is the result of bacteria entering the urinary tract. Some of the common causes and reasons for UTI in females can include: 

  • holding in urine for long hours,

  • poor vaginal hygiene especially during periods,

  • dehydration,

  • constipation, 
  • maintaining poor hygiene post-sexual activity.

Additional factors that increase the risk of UTI in women

Aside from the two factors mentioned earlier, these factors can up your risk of UTIs and female urinary problems

  • Pregnancy 

  • Perimenopause and menopause 

  • Diabetes

  • Kidney stones 

  • Poor immunity 

  • Catheter use

  • Frequent sexual activity 

  • Family history of frequent UTIs

Diagnosis of UTI in women

Since UTIs may not cause any noticeable symptoms, sometimes diagnosing them can be difficult. Your doctor might perform a physical examination and review your medical history, followed by an internal examination to understand your condition better. 

Some of the common tests can include: 

  • Urinalysis – A urine sample is collected to check for infection. 

  • Urine culture test – A test to look for the specific germs that cause infection. 

  • MRI or CT scan – Imaging tests to get images of your urinary tract.

  • Cystoscopy – A thin tube with a camera at one end is used to see the inside of your bladder.

Prevention of UTI

Prevention of UTI

To reduce your risk of UTIs: 

  • Keep yourself hydrated.

  • Practice good personal hygiene. 

  • Don’t hold your urine for too long.

  • Wipe from front to back after peeing or pooping. 

  • Urinate before and after sexual intercourse. 

  • Eat fibrous foods to avoid constipation.

  • Change out of workout or sweaty clothes quickly. 

  • Choose contraceptives other than spermicides, diaphragms, and unlubricated condoms.

Treatments for UTI in women

Early treatment of UTIs can help prevent the infection from spreading to the bladder or kidneys. Antibiotics are the first line of treatment for UTIs. 

Most UTIs are easy to treat, but the particulars regarding the antibiotics prescribed, and for how long, will depend on various factors such as the type of bacteria detected in your urine, the type of UTI, and your current health. 

In addition to UTI medicines for women, at-home remedies such as heating pads and warm baths, using fragrance-free and gentle products, and cutting back on bladder irritants such as – caffeine, alcohol, citrus fruits, spicy foods, and carbonated drinks, etc. are recommended. 

To conclude everything, UTI is an infection of the urinary tract whose main symptoms include a burning sensation during urination, and a frequent and intense urge to urinate. Treatments include antibiotics and home remedies like heating pads. Prevention is the best cure so maintain good personal hygiene, keep yourself hydrated, wipe from front to back, and follow the other more preventive measures mentioned in the blog to lower your risk of UTIs. See you in another blog!

FAQS about Urinary Tract Infection in Women

1. What is the main cause of UTI in females?

The main cause of urinary tract infections (UTIs) in females, as well as males, is bacteria, most commonly Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria. These bacteria usually enter the urethra (the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body) and travel up into the urinary tract, causing infection in the urethra, bladder, or kidneys.

2. What is the best treatment for UTI in females?

The best treatment for UTIs in females is a course of antibiotics prescribed by a healthcare professional. The specific type of antibiotic and duration of treatment will depend on the severity and location of the infection, as well as the individual's medical history and other factors.

3. What home remedy kills UTI?

While antibiotics are the most effective treatment for UTIs, there are some home remedies that may help ease symptoms or reduce the risk of infection from spreading further. These include:

  • Drinking plenty of water to flush out bacteria from the urinary tract.

  • Taking over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, to relieve pain and discomfort.
  • Avoiding caffeine, alcohol, spicy foods, and artificial sweeteners, as these can potentially irritate the bladder and worsen UTI symptoms.

  • Applying a heating pad to the lower abdomen to help ease pain and discomfort.

4. What foods should be avoided with UTI?

While there are no specific foods that directly cause or cure UTIs, some foods and beverages, such as caffeine, alcohol, spicy foods, and artificial sweeteners, might irritate the bladder or worsen UTI symptoms for some people. It's best to pay close attention to your own body and avoid any foods that seem to worsen your symptoms.