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Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

Normally, urine is sterile, free of bacteria, viruses, and fungi it but does contain fluids, salts, and waste products. Urinary tract infections occur when bacteria enter the opening of the urethra (the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body) and multiply in the urinary tract.

There are different types of UTIs, cystitis being the most common.

- Cystitis: bladder infection
- Urethritis: infection of the urethra
- Pyelonephritis: infection of the kidney

Women suffer more from UTIs than men and a shorter urethra is believed to be the reason.

Causes and Risk Factors

E. coli is the cause for 80% of urinary tract infections in adults. These bacteria are commonly found in the colon and can be transferred to the urethra from the skin around the anus and genitals. Some other risk factors are:

- Sexual intercourse
- Bladder obstructions
- Urinary catheterization
- Weak immune system
- Being uncircumcised

Symptoms of UTIs

Common symptoms of cystitis include:

· Back pain
· Blood in the urine
· Cloudy urine
· Inability to urinate despite the urge
· Fever
· Frequent need to urinate
· General discomfort
· Painful urination

Treatment of Urinary Tract Infections

Urinary tract infections are usually treated with antibiotics. Over-the-counter pain relievers can be used to relieve discomfort caused by UTI. Drinking plenty of water helps to cleanse bacteria out of the urinary tract. Coffee, alcohol, and smoking should be avoided.
Natural remedies to prevent and cure urinary tract infections include the consumption of cranberry juice, preferably in the form capsules to reduce the intake of sugar.

Prevention Tips

· Avoid products that may irritate the urethra
· Cleanse the genital area before sexual intercourse.
· Change soiled diapers in infants and toddlers promptly.
· Drink plenty of water to remove bacteria from the urinary tract.
· Do not routinely resist the urge to urinate.
· Take showers instead of baths.
· Urinate after sexual intercourse.
· Women and girls should wipe from front to back after voiding to prevent contaminating the urethra with bacteria from the anal area.

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