The kidneys, ureters, urethra, and bladder can suffer from urinary tract infection (UTI). The different types of UTIs are one of the reasons your women’s health specialist in Oak Lawn, IL advises you to wipe yourself from the front to the back after visiting the bathroom. You are at risk of developing a urinary tract infection because the urethra in a woman’s body is much closer to the anus, where bacteria like E. coli from the large intestines are likely to slide through the anus into the urethra. UTIs affect your urinary tract differently. For instance, cystitis affecting the bladder can cause pain when urinating.
How different is UTI from a bladder infection?
The primary difference between a bladder infection and UTI is the extent of infection. While UTI is a widespread infection affecting different parts of your urinary tract, a bladder infection, also referred to as cystitis, is more specific, only affecting your bladder. The bacteria move into your bladder when you have cystitis, causing inflammation. Though not all UTIs turn into bladder infections, an untreated infection can spread further than your bladder, into your kidneys.
UTIs affect different parts of your urinary system, with each infection having a name depending on where the infection is. For instance,
- Urethritis affects the urethra and causes a burning sensation when urinating.
- Cystitis affects your bladder, making you feel pain when urinating
- Pyelonephritis affects your kidneys, resulting in pain on your side or upper back
Who is more likely to get UTI?
Though both males and females can get urinary tract infections, the condition mainly affects women because their urethra is shorter and closer to the anus. Additionally, you are at higher risk of developing cystitis if you are an older adult because of incomplete emptying of the bladder. Frequent UTIs may prompt your healthcare provider to check for other health issues like diabetes that might be contributing to the infections. Your healthcare provider is likely to recommend low doses of antibiotics if you have frequent UTIs to prevent your system from developing a resistance to the medication.
How can you prevent a re-infection?
A re-infection can occur, even after a successful UTI treatment. However, the following recommendations might minimize your chances of a re-infection:
- Take lots of water
- Wipe from your front to the back after using the toilet
- Clean your genital area before and after sex
- Pee after sexual intercourse to eliminate traces of bacteria from your urethra
- Empty your bladder when the need arises. Additionally, be sure to empty your bladder well.
- If possible, opt for a shower, not a bath.
- Ensure your genital area is dry.
- Avoid wearing nylon underwear and tight clothing like jeans that trap air and create an ideal niche for bacterial growth.
- Avoid using birth control forms like unlubricated condoms, likely to irritate your urinary tract.
- Avoid scented bath products, feminine hygiene sprays, and scented douches likely to irritate your tract.
Though UTIs might not affect your urinary tract, failure to address the issue can result in the infection spreading into your kidneys and other body parts. Though the infection rarely gets to your bloodstream, it can be life-threatening if it does. Call your doctor for further inquiries to know how UTIs can affect your life.