If you've ever had a urinary tract infection, you know how unpleasant it can be. There's pain and discomfort and treating the problem can be pretty bad too. If you've never had a urinary tract infection, count yourself lucky. But don't think it will never happen to you. Know the symptoms and what to do about it and you can prevent one from ever derailing your fabulous life. Here's everything you need to know about UTIs.
If you've had a UTI, you are probably well acquainted with the symptoms as soon as they start. If not, you might not know what's going on. You'll feel an urgent need to pee, burning when you do go, cloudy urine, blood in your urine and pelvic pain. You could experience all of them or just a couple and the severity will range from mild to severe. Knowing what symptoms indicate a UTI means you can get treatment right away.
2. Sex Isn't the Only Cause
For some women, a UTI rears its ugly head after sex. However, that's not the only cause to consider. In fact, sex itself isn't a cause at all, but the motions you use during intercourse can push the UTI causing bacteria upwards where it can flare and cause symptoms. If you hold your pee too long, you can also wind up with a urinary tract infection. Some women have functional abnormalities that can cause the problem too. Your doctor can help you figure out what's behind your UTI.
3. Some Women Are More Prone than Others
While doctors aren't sure why this is the case, some women simply get UTIs more often than others. Case in point - I've never had one, but a friend of mine gets them all the time. The best thing to do is keep your doctor aware of the problem so you can develop the best treatment plan for you.
4. There Are Some Complications
Like any health condition, UTIs can lead to complications if left untreated. According to the experts at the Mayo Clinic, UTI complications include a recurrence, permanent kidney damage, pregnancy complications and sepsis. Proper treatment keeps the odds of a complication low so make sure you don't let it go if you suspect that you have a urinary tract infection.
5. Forget about Cranberry Juice as a Cure
You've probably heard that cranberry juice can help with a UTI. Some research shows that the juice can prevent you from getting a UTI, but once you have one, cranberry juice won't cure it. At that point, you'll probably need antibiotics. However, if you're prone to urinary tract infections, adding cranberry juice to your daily routine can help prevent you from getting one in the future.
6. There Are Several Treatment Options
As I said above, antibiotics are a common form of treatment for a UTI. It's not your only choice though. Drinking lots of water and avoiding caffeine and alcohol as well as using a heating pad on your stomach are other things you can do to treat your urinary tract infection. Talk to your doctor about the best course of treatment for you.
7. Only You Can Prevent a Urinary Tract Infection
Other than drinking cranberry juice, there are a variety of things you can do to keep yourself from ever getting another UTI. When you use the bathroom, make sure you wipe from front to back to keep bacteria from entering your urethra. Make sure you pee before and after sex and choose cotton underwear most of the time. Avoid using feminine hygiene products, such as vaginal deodorant or douche, both of which can be irritating and allow bacteria into your urethra. Drink lots of fluids and talk to your doctor about birth control methods that work for you.
Have you ever had a UTI? What did you do to feel better?