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Urinary Tract Infections: What You Need To Know

One of the most common urinary diseases, Urinary Tract Infection or UTI is caused bacterial growth in the urinary tract. This infection can affect the entire urinary system including the kidneys, bladder, ureter and urethra. The urinary tract is divided into the upper urinary tract, which comprises the kidneys and the ureters; and the lower urinary tract, which consists of the bladder and the urethra. The opening of the urethra is the tip of the penis in men and at the front of the vagina in women.

Types Of Urinary Tract Infections

  • Cystitis or bladder infection
  • Urethritis or urethra infection
  • Pyelonephritis or kidney infection

Who Is At Risk?

  • Women are at more risk of developing UTIs than men, as the urethra is shorter and closer to the anus, making it easier for bacteria to transfer to the bladder.
  • Worldwide estimates say that over 50% of all women will experience UTI at least one in their lifetime
  • Pregnant women don’t usually develop UTI. However, if it does, the infection can spread to the kidneys. As UTI during pregnancy can prove extremely dangerous for the mother and the baby, majority of pregnant women are tested bacterial presence in their urine and treated with antibiotics to prevent any possible spread.
  • Though UTIs are generally not a matter of concern, severe infections, especially in the upper urinary tract infections, can lead to chronic or acute kidney infections.


  • Strong urge to urinate
  • Pain/ burning sensation when passing urine
  • Need to pass urine frequent, in all small amounts
  • Cloudy, dark urine
  • Smelly urine
  • Pelvic pain in women - center of the pelvis, around the pubic bone

Causes/ Risk Factors

  • Diabetes
  • Poor personal hygiene
  • Problems in emptying the bladder fully
  • Insertion of urinary catheter
  • Procedures involving the urinary tract
  • Sexual intercourse
  • Bowel incontinence
  • Blocked in the flow of urine
  • Kidney stones
  • Use of certain contraceptives
  • Pregnancy
  • Menopause
  • Suppressed immune system
  • Use of antibiotics
  • Immobility for a prolonged time


  • Recurrent infections, especially in women
  • Permanent kidney damage due to acute or chronic kidney infection
  • Urethral narrowing in men from recurrent urethritis
  • Sepsis, a potentially life-threatening complication of an infection,
  • Increased risk of kidney infection/ delivering low birth weight/
  • premature infants, in pregnant women

Prevention & Management

  • Drink plenty of water as it helps flush away the bacteria
  • Cut down on salt and sweet as they are bladder irritant
  • Avoid spicy, oily food
  • Have a healthy, fibre-rich diet with water –based vegetables and fruits
  • Have food that’s rich in Vitamin C like oranges and lemon; or have Vitamin C supplements
  • Keep emptying your bladder, even if it is a small amount of urine
  • Maintain good personal hygiene
  • Empty bladder soon after sexual intercourse; drink water immediately to flush out bacteria
  • Wash your privates using only fragrance-free personal hygiene products Wipe from front to back
  • Wear comfortable, cotton panties/ underwear
  • Change underwear/ sanitary pads/ liners frequently
  • Quit alcohol and smoking
  • Change to a healthier lifestyle

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