One of most common ailments in women, Urinary Tract Infection or UTI is a bacterial infection in the urinary tract that could affect the kidneys, bladder or urethra. There is a reason we were taught as children to wipe ourselves clean each time after urinating. The location of the urethra – the tube that carries urine from the bladder to eject it from the body – close to the anus, plays a vital role in causing UTI. Sometimes bacteria present in the large intestine, more commonly E.Coli, enters into the urethra, and then invades the bladder and even the kidneys. Women are at a higher risk of UTI because they have shorter urethras, easily letting bacteria into the bladder. Unprotected intercourse is another plausible cause of UTI. But we can watch out for various UTI symptoms in women from time to time.
Organs affected by UTI
Urethra: Medically referred to as urethritis, you feel a burning sensation while urinating. It can range from burning to stinging sensation. Also the vaginal mucus becomes a thick yellow.
Bladder: When the bacteria causes infection in the bladder, called cystitis, you might feel the urge to urinate frequently. Even painful urination and pain in the pelvic region are other symptoms that your bladder is affected. You will constantly feel a discomfort in your lower abdomen and might notice blood in your urine.
Kidney: This is the worst case of UTI, referred to as acute pyelonephritis. In here you experience sudden and high fever followed by chills and shivering. Body pain, vomiting and nausea also accompany the fevers.
UTI symptoms in women are easy to identify provided we observe and listen to our bodies. This is an extremely common disorder in women, and needs immediate medical attention.
1. Burning sensation while urinating
Have you been feeling an itchy or burning sensation while urinating? The reason for this could be a Urinary Tract Infection owing to a bacteria that slipped into the bladder from the large intestine. Observe your body for a few days. Drink a lot of water to wash away the bacteria. And if you see no improvement in your condition, see your doctor.
2. Dark yellow, cloudy urine
Among the most common UTI symptoms in women, change in the colour of urine is one of them. The onset of a UTI is when your urine turns cloudy and dark in colour. You may even spot blood in it. Even an extremely yellow colour urine is indicative of an infection. Consult your doctor. He might ask for a urine culture to detect the presence of bacteria in it.
3. Frequent and urgent urination
It is good to drink plenty of water, and therefore urinate. But does your bladder feels abnormally full all the time that you need to take a leak about twice an hour? It is a cause of concern. Usually counted as the top UTI symptoms in women, intense and frequent urge to urinate which may or may not lead to enough urine, should send out an alarm. If you are suffering UTI you will be put on immediate medication. This is usually composed of painkillers to cure your condition.
4. Pain in the lower abdomen
You are not anywhere near your periods. Yet your pelvic region has been feeling uncomfortable and heavy. Observe your body for a few days. If the pain in your lower abdomen doesn’t subside, you have a reason to worry. An important symptom of UTI, pressure in the pelvis followed by bouts of cramps are reason enough to consult your doctor.
5. High fever and shivering
When the infection affects the kidneys, the most adverse case, you suffer high fever and chills. The fever lasts through the day and subsides only when medication is taken. The fever is followed by chills and shivers. Even with medication, your fever might last a whole weak, with bouts settling in off and on. You feel totally listless and incapable of taking up any physical activity. Do you have had fever now for a few days and the symptoms don’t seem to decline? Fix an appointment with your doctor. This isn’t a simple viral!
6. Fatigue and nausea
You have been vomiting and nauseous for no specific reason. Of course you are not pregnant. But still have these tendencies. Among the prominent UTI symptoms in women, extreme exhaustion and nausea can signal the onset of a UTI. Consult your doctor. Go for a urine culture if needed.
How UTI is detected
Once you complain of the symptoms and raise it with your doctor, he would order a urine test. If the urine report is normal, he might just ask you to drink more water to flush out bacteria if any, but if the urine report shows high pus levels, there are chances of a Urinary Tract Infection. You will then be asked to get a urine culture. A urine culture test checks for bacteria growth in your sample. And if found, you could be diagnosed with a UTI.
Treatment for UTI
Once detected, you will be put under a dosage of antibiotics to kill the bacteria. The medication can last a week or a fortnight, but to get relief from the symptoms might take some time. Also you will be prescribed lots of fluids. Water can help cleanse your system and flush out the bacteria. Even after the treatment, you might be a little vulnerable for a period of time during which you need to take extra care of your hygiene, keep your body hydrated and eat regular meals. In about a month, you would have completely recovered from a UTI.
It is considered that every 1 out of 5 women experience a lapse of UTI. This is due to the strain of the bacteria, for there are some that attack the cells and form a single unit that is immune to antibiotics. These bacteria gradually weaken the immunity system. Also if you have a genetic history of UTI, you should be all the more careful, and get medication accordingly from your doctor. UTI is wholly curable.
UTI can be treated with medication, provided you identify it at an early stage. Else it might reach all the way to your kidneys. And lead to more adverse symptoms. Keep yourself clean, have safe sex, practice better hygiene and you will never be bothered by this niggling ailment.