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Urinary Tract Infections- Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

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Dr Swapna Ramalingachar, Gynaecologist, Apollo Cradle Hospital, Bangalore, India, has explained causes, symptoms and treatment of a common medical condition, urinary tract infections.

Urinary tract infection is a bacterial infection affecting a part of the urinary system consisting of kidneys, ureters, bladder, and the urethra. Usually, it affects the lower urinary tract (urethra, bladder), but if left untreated it may advance to the kidneys as well.

More women complain of urinary tract infections than men, due to the anatomy of their urinary system (shorter urethra). It is quite possible to experience recurrent infections. The most common bacteria that causes urinary tract infection is E.coli.

Women often experience urinary tract infections during:

  • Menstrual cycle
  • Pregnancy
  • Post menopause
  • Sexual activities

“Women are more susceptible to urinary tract infection. One must practice personal hygiene, pass urine frequently, drink a lot of water to be well hydrated and pay attention to their overall health to avoid getting these infections. Educate young girls about urinary tract infections so that they develop healthy habits,” says Dr Swapna Ramalingachar.

Some of the symptoms of urinary tract infections are:

  • Frequent urge to pass urine
  • Pain in the lower abdomen
  • Discomfort during urination
  • Dark coloured urine
  • Cloudy or foul-smelling urine
  • Pelvic pain
  • Fever, if the infection is severe

How is it diagnosed? If you have been experiencing the symptoms mentioned above it is advisable to seek a medical consultation. Your doctor will run urine routine and microscopy test to confirm urinary tract infection. Sometimes a urine culture and sensitivity is also recommended.

Urinary tract infection is treated with a course of antibiotics. You may also be prescribed some other over the counter medicines depending upon the symptoms.

Urinary tract infections can be avoided by practising personal hygiene. Also, one should not take them very lightly because the infection can reach up to the kidneys.

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