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The Facts About Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

Urinary Tract Infection

What Is A Urinary Tract Infection?

A urinary tract infection (UTI) is not just a bladder infection. It can include kidney infection, and the ureters and urethra as well. Women tend to be at a much higher risk of getting UTIs than men. 50% of women are likely to get a UTI with many of these women suffering from multiple infections. 1 in 10 men will have a UTI sometime in their life. Men, on the other hand, have a considerably lower risk but still, 1 out of 10 men will suffer from a UTI in their lifetime. Here are some popular questions that we get when it comes to UTIs:

What Causes a Urinary Tract Infection?

Bladder Infection

A UTI is an infection that can develop when bacteria enter the urinary tract. UTIs are actually quite common and are easy to contract. UTIs can be contracted during sexual activity when bacteria from your partner’s genital area or fingers get pushed into your urethra, but there are ways to contract UTIs that are not sexually related.  A urinary tract infection is NOT a sexually transmittedstransmitted infection.  When bacteria from fecal matter enter the urethra. This can cause UTIs in both men and women but because the female urethra is shorter, the bacteria more easily enter and infect the bladder, putting women at higher risk of a UTI. It is therefore recommended that you wipe from front to back as a way to prevent UTIs. 

What Causes a Urinary Tract Infection in a Child?

UTIs can happen in children and poor bathroom hygiene is usually the culprit. Teaching your children to wash their hands after using the bathroom and teaching them to wipe from front to back can go a long way to helping to prevent UTIs. If you suspect that your child is suffering from a urinary tract infection, take them to see a doctor as soon as possible so that the proper treatment can be administered. 

How Is A Urinary Tract Infection Diagnosed and Treated?

The Canadian guidelines advise that a UTI can be diagnosed if you have burning with urination and an additional lower urinary tract symptom. If the diagnosis is unclear, a simple urine test can determine whether bacteria are present. Your urine sample will tell your doctor whether you in fact have a urinary tract infection and which antibiotic choice is best. In these cases, an antibiotic will be prescribed to treat the infection and relieve the symptoms. When prescribed, it is important to finish the entire prescribed dose of antibiotics. Speak to your doctor immediately if you feel that you are suffering an adverse reaction to the antibiotic. 

If you suffer from chronic UTIs and they’re triggered by sex, it may be possible to get a one-time dose to be taken after sex to prevent a UTI. Speak to your doctor to learn more about this if you feel that it is applicable to you. 

Drinking lots of fluids helps to flush bacteria out of your body, so it’s important to drink plenty of liquids to prevent infection and to help heal once you have a UTI.  Cranberry juice is used to prevent and treat UTIs because of the tannin present in the berry.  Tannin prevents the growth of E Coli bacteria which is a common bacterial cause of UTIs. 

How Do I Know If I Have A UTI?

Common symptoms of a urinary tract infection include a strong and frequent urge to urinate, a burning feeling when you urinate and/or cloudy (unclear) urine. If your urine is red, bright pink or brown, this may be a sign that there is blood in your urine and immediate medical attention is recommended. Other symptoms include only small amounts of urine when you try to pee and lower abdominal or lower back pain.  

Are Bananas Good for A Urinary Tract Infection?

Bananas and other fibre-rich foods such as beans, lentils, nuts, oats and other whole grains are good for UTIs because they contain good bacteria which helps to fight off the bad, infection-causing bacteria. 

Other good foods to eat to prevent or help treat your urinary tract infection include foods rich in probiotics such as plain Greek yogurt, sauerkraut and pickles.  Red berries as previously discussed are a smart choice. Salmon contains omega-3 fatty acids which can help reduce inflammation and is, therefore, a good choice too.  If you’re not a fish lover, fish oil supplements can be a good alternative. These foods can also boost your immune system. 

Food to avoid would include caffeinated drinks, alcohol, spicy and citrus foods as well as carbohydrates, soda and artificial sweeteners. 

VirtualDr Can Help With UTIs

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As fully licensed and qualified family physicians, VirtualDr’s team is able to assist you when you suspect that you have a urinary tract infection. Our services are free with a valid OHIP card, and our online doctor platform is user-friendly.  Signing up with us is easy and gives you access to some of the best doctors available. Register today!

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