The Many Causes of a Urinary Tract Infection
A urinary tract infection (UTI) is a common bacterial infection that can be quite uncomfortable and downright painful. The infection causes frustrating symptoms, including the constant feeling of needing to urinate even when the bladder is empty (or nearly) and then a terrible burning sensation when using the restroom. While some men do experience UTIs, women tend to get them more frequently due to the shorter length of the urethra allowing bacteria to easily reach the bladder. The infection is treatable with antibiotics, but knowing what could cause a UTI will help prevent having to even experience one.
Sugar: A treat here and there isn’t going to immediately trigger a UTI, but loading up on added sugars could. The problem is the bacteria that causes the infection loves sugar, so if excess sugar ends up in your urine, you could be feeding the bacteria and helping it grow. For this reason, diabetics are also at higher risk of experiencing a UTI from blood sugar spikes.
Bad Restroom Habits: When using the restroom, wiping should be performed from front to back. If going the opposite, bacteria from the bowels – specifically E. coli, which is naturally occurring in the body – can easily enter the urethra, leading to a UTI.
Sex: There are a few ways sex can lead to a UTI. Participating in a lot of intercourse puts you at higher risk as it easily exposes the urethra to bacteria that lives in the area between the vagina and anus. If you do not use the restroom after sex, you could also be risking a UTI, so be sure to urinate afterwards to help flush any bacteria out. When using condoms, do not use unlubricated as they may lead to increased irritation and more risk of infection, but spermicidal lubrication can also be harmful, so be sure to utilize nonspermicidal lubrication and condoms.
Holding It: When you have to use the restroom, it is vital to take the few minutes and go – don’t hold it. Keeping urine in the bladder allows bacteria to sit and potentially grow, blossoming into an infection, so flush it out when the urge is there.
Lowered Immunity: Our immune system is a wonderful natural protector against various illnesses, but due to various possible influences, our immunity could drop, leaving us susceptible to infections like a UTI. Having a present illness, being stressed out, and even pregnancy can lower the immune system’s ability to fight off infection, putting you at risk of developing a UTI.
Undergarments: It’s true – clothes and underwear may actually increase your chance of infection. Fabrics that don’t breathe, or leaving clothes on that may be tighter or hold on to excess moisture easily, such as gym clothes, will allow bacteria to grow easily. Opt for cotton underwear and be sure to change right away after working out or sweating.
While there are many ways a UTI may occur, practicing healthy habits should keep them at bay. Also, be sure to drink plenty of water in order to help your bladder continuously flush out harmful bacteria. Unfortunately, even with your best efforts, you may still get a UTI, and prompt treatment is necessary to avoid more serious complications such as kidney infection. Luckily, with prompt attention, a UTI can be easily treated with antibiotics prescribed by a physician that will have you feeling better in no time. If you feel you may have a UTI or have questions about the infection, visit us today.