Health and Beauty
UTI: The Myths Versus the Facts
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are a common health problem that affects millions of people each year.
What is the urinary tract?
The urinary tract, the system that produces urine and carries it out of the body, includes the kidneys (where the urine is made), the bladder (where it is stored before urination), the ureters (tubes that connect the kidney to the bladder and transport urine down into it), and urethra (the tube that carries urine out of the body).
What are UTIs?
Urinary tract infections are infections in any part of the urinary tract, including the kidneys, bladder, ureters, or urethra.Most infections involve the lower urinary tract – the bladder and the urethra.Cystitis (bladder infection) represents the majority of these infections.
The common symptoms of UTI include:
- Frequent urination
- Pain or burning when passing urine
- Despite a strong urge to urinate, only a small amount of urine is passed
Other symptoms can include:
- Urine looks dark, cloudy, or reddish in colour (blood may be present in the urine)
- Urine smells bad
- Feeling pain even when not urinating
- Pain in the back or side, below the ribs
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Women may feel an uncomfortable pressure above the pubic bone
The symptoms of UTI may look like other conditions or medical problems. Always see a healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
What causes UTIs?
Normal urine is sterile and contains fluids, salts, and waste products. It does not contain bacteria, viruses, or fungi. A UTI occurs when germs, most often bacteria from the digestive tract, get into the opening of the urethra and start to multiply. Most UTIs are caused by E. coli bacteria, which normally live in the colon.
There is a lot written about UTIs, which is why it’s essential to separate the facts from the myths:
Only women get UTIs
Myth. Urinary tract infections are the second most common type of infection in the body. Women tend to get them more often because their urethra is shorter and closer to the anus than in men. UTIs in men are not as common as in women but can be serious when they occur.
UTIs can occur from sex
Fact. Women’s anatomy makes them prone to getting UTIs after having sex. The opening of the urethra is in front of the vagina. During sex, bacteria near the vagina can get into the urethra from contact with the penis, fingers, or devices. Using spermicides or a diaphragm also can cause more frequent UTIs.
Untreated UTIs will eventually go away
Myth. When treated promptly and properly, lower urinary tract infections rarely lead to complications. But left untreated, a urinary tract infection can have serious consequences. Some infections can lead to serious problems, such as kidney infections.
Chronic kidney infections -infections that recur or last a long time – can cause permanent damage, including kidney scars, poor kidney function, high blood pressure, and other problems.
Some acute kidney infections – infections that develop suddenly – can be life threatening, especially if the bacteria enter the bloodstream, a condition called septicemia.
Pregnancy increases the risk of developing UTIs
Fact. Pregnancy causes numerous changes in the woman’s body. Hormonal and mechanical changes increase the risk of urinary stasis and vesicoureteral reflux. These changes, along with an already short urethra and difficulty with hygiene due to a distended pregnant belly, increase the frequency of urinary tract infections in pregnant women. Indeed, UTIs are among the most common bacterial infections during pregnancy.
Cranberry juice can prevent UTIs from occurring
The evidence is inconclusive. Many people drink cranberry juice to prevent UTIs. There’s some indication that cranberry products, in either juice or tablet form, may have infection-fighting properties. Researchers continue to study the ability of cranberry juice to prevent UTIs, but results are not conclusive.
Dealing with the symptoms of UTIs
UTIs can be painful and uncomfortable. To prevent complications, it is essential to consult a healthcare provider as soon as possible. Most UTIs are caused by bacteria, which are treated with antibiotics. The choice of medication and length of treatment depend on the patient’s history and the type of bacteria causing the infection.
Citro-Soda is an antacid that offers effective relief from acid-related symptoms of UTI. Citro-Soda is available in original and cranberry flavours, and comes in a convenient sachet and in 60g and 120g bottles.
If you are using Citro-Soda and have been prescribed antibiotics by a doctor, it is best to take the medicine either 1 hour before or 4 hours after using Citro-Soda. Antacids can change the way your body absorbs the other medicines you are taking.