A UTI affects the urinary system, which includes the kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra. Causes and treatment of a UTI.
What is a UTI?
A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection in any part of your urinary system which is made up of your kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra. There are several causes and symptoms which we’ll discuss in this article.
Causes of a UTI
The two most common UTIs occur mainly in women and affect the bladder and urethra.
- Infection of the bladder (cystitis)
The UTI is commonly caused by Escherichia coli (E. coli), a type of bacteria usually found in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. This can be prevented by always wiping from front to back after using the bathroom. E. coli can escape from the anus, enter through the urethra, and infect the bladder. It’s possible to get this UTI if you’re sexually active.
- Infection of the urethra (urethritis)
This type of UTI affects the urethra specifically. Furthermore, because the vagina is close to the urethra, STIs can be a cause of urethritis.
Symptoms of a UTI
According to the esteemed Mayo Clinic, these are the signs and symptoms of a UTI.
|Part of urinary tract infected||Signs and symptoms|
|Kidneys||Upper back and side pain
Shaking and chills
Lower abdomen discomfort
Frequent, painful urination
Blood in your urine
|Urethra||Burning sensation during urination
Treatment of a UTI
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, make an appointment to see your doctor. He/she will ask you for a urine sample which will be tested for the bacteria that cause UTIs. If the test is positive, you’ll be prescribed antibiotics to kill the bacteria. Please note that it’s essential that you finish the full course of antibiotics.
It’s been documented that as many as 1 in 5 women suffers from chronic UTIs. A different strain of bacteria most commonly causes it.
Risk factors for UTIs in women include
- Certain types of birth control: you are more susceptible to getting a UTI if you use a diaphragm.
- A weakened immune system: Diabetes and STIs such as HIV can suppress your immune system making you more susceptible to contracting a UTI.
- Menopause: A decrease in circulating oestrogen causes changes in your urinary system, predisposing you to a UTI.
How Marie Stopes can help
Marie Stopes is the global leader in women’s sexual and reproductive health, and you can be assured of consummate professionalism from our staff.
We offer a wide range of sexual health services, including a Well Women’s check-up in which a urine analysis is performed which will detect if you have a UTI. Schedule an appointment at your nearest centre, and a medical professional will answer any questions you may have about a urinary tract infection.