Anyone can get them, but urinary tract infections (UTIs ) are especially common among us ladies. The symptoms of painful, frequent or urgent urination are all too familiar, and usually, signal the presence of a urinary tract infection. Advanced urinary tract infections can spread to the bladder and can result in cloudy, bloody or particularly strong-smelling urine.
KIDNEY INFECTION VS. URINARY TRACT INFECTION
If left untreated, UTI symptoms can get worse and the problem can progress from a urinary tract infection (a big deal) to a kidney infection (a bigger deal); and as the infection progresses, so do the symptoms.
Aches and pains in the back, fever and chills, nausea and vomiting, and sometimes even confusion are all signs that a UTI has advanced to a kidney infection.1 Your body is saying, “Hey! I’m serious! I need some attention!”
UTI SYMPTOMS: THE WHY AND THE WHAT
Lots of things can cause a UTI, but they all boil down to the presence of bacteria—something’s there that shouldn’t be. There are several reasons why, but sex is a big one. In fact, nearly 80 percent of pre–menopausal women diagnosed with a UTI, have had sex within the previous 24 hours.2 During sex, bacteria from the genital area and the anus can come into contact with the urethra; and after a quick trip up the urethra, it causes inflammation. The use of diaphragms and spermicide can also contribute to the development of UTIs, as could sex with a new partner or frequent intercourse.2
One reason women are especially at-risk has to do with basic plumbing—a woman’s urethra (the tube which empties the bladder) is significantly shorter than a man’s, which means that the bacteria have a shorter distance to travel in order to cause infection. Also, in women, the opening of the urethra is closer to the anus—making the trip for bacteria even shorter.3
Other causes for UTIs range from simple things like holding your pee for too long, instances of extreme dehydration, stones in your kidneys or bladder, to catheterization or certain chronic conditions like diabetes.
As with any infection, consult your physician. Most UTIs and kidney infections are readily (and very successfully) treatable with simple oral antibiotics. Some instances may require further measures, but the good news is that there’s no reason to be scared, just good reason to take action. You cannot treat the infection on your own—you need help. So, go get it!
In the meantime, you can address the symptoms of your UTI. A heating pad or moist towelette, a warm compress is a good way to soothe the aching muscles of the lower back. Drinking lots of water keeps the body hydrated and encourages the body to get rid of unwanted toxins and bacteria. Avoid tight-fitting jeans or other snug-fitting clothes on your lower half. Instead, opt for loose clothing which allows your skin to breathe and helps prevent the growth of more bacteria.
Ginger and peppermint, in the form of topically applied essential oils, ingested teas, and aromatherapy tinctures are known, effective alternative remedies for nausea and vomiting that can accompany a UTI or kidney infection. Acupuncture and acupressure have also proven useful, particularly in cases where herbal remedies are not preferred, such as during pregnancy, where there may be concerns about drug interactions.4
So, what are you gonna do about it?
Stuff happens. It’s no big thing unless you let it become a big thing.
So, remember: There’s bad & there’s worse.
Then, there’s getting better all the time.
Which one are you going for?
1 Kidney Infections: Symptoms and Treatments http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/kidney-infections-symptoms-and-treatments
2 The Link Between UTIs and Sex http://www.everydayhealth.com/urinary-tract-infections/the-link-between-utis-and-sex.aspx
3 Female Urethra Anatomy http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1972504-overview#a2
4 4 Natural Remedies for Nausea http://www.everydayhealth.com/digestive-health/four-natural-remedies-for-nausea.aspx