A urinary tract infection (UTI) is a type of infection that can affect any part of the urinary system, including the kidneys, ureters, bladder, or urethra.
Both men and women can experience a UTI, but women are 30 times more likely to get one. And for women who get a UTI, 4 in 10 get another one within six months.
A UTI generally is painful but not dangerous. However, if the infection reaches your kidneys, there’s a greater risk of serious complications. In short, learning how to avoid UTIs helps your overall health.
If you’re in the Boston, Massachusetts, area and find yourself dealing with a UTI, schedule a visit with Dr. Neeraj Kohli at BostonUrogyn. Dr. Kohli has years of experience helping women with a wide variety of urological conditions, including urinary tract infections.
Common symptoms of a UTI include a strong urge to urinate, passing small but frequent amounts of urine, cloudy urine, pelvic pain, and strong-smelling urine. How this condition affects you depends on where the infection is in your urinary system:
This infection of the urethra can cause painful urination and pain during sex.
This bladder infection can cause pressure in the pelvis, discomfort in the lower bladder, painful urination, and blood in your urine.
This kidney infection can be life-threatening. You can expect upper back and side pain, fever, chills, shaking, nausea and vomiting.
Infections start when bacteria get into your urinary tract through your urethra and bladder. The bacteria multiply in those areas, causing inflammation and pain.
Women are at greater risk for UTIs due to certain types of birth control and having a shorter urethra than men. Women also run a greater risk of experiencing UTIs as a post-menopause complication.
E. coli, a common cause of cystitis, is found in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Other bacteria can cause cystitis. Urethritis and cystitis can be caused by GI bacteria from the anus. Infections from sexually transmitted diseases, such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, and herpes, can cause urethritis.
Reducing the risk of UTIs is a matter of adopting some basic habits:
To flush bacteria from your body and prevent infection, it helps to drink plenty of fluids (and as much water as possible), wipe from front to back when you’re using the bathroom, and urinate after intercourse.
Avoid feminine products that irritate the urethra. Examples include deodorant sprays, douches, and powders.
Some methods of birth control also can spur bacterial growth, such as spermicidal lubricated condoms, unlubricated condoms, and diaphragms. Consider alternate birth control methods to reduce the chances of bacterial growth.
UTIs are painful, annoying, and potentially dangerous, and even preventive measures can’t guarantee that you won’t get one. But they’re also treatable.
If you need treatment for a UTI, contact Dr. Kohli and BostonUrogyn today. Call one of our Boston area locations, including Wellesley and South Weymouth, Massachusetts, or book your appointment online.