Mr. House Husband | 살림하는 남자들 - Ep.13 [ENG / 2017.02.07]
UTI Intel: Betcha Don't Know All This Crucial Info
There are many different types of bacteria that can cause an infection in your urinary system, but the most common is e. Coli, a germ found in your poop and raw meat, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Normally your lady parts run a tight ship and your labia and urethral sphincter keep bad stuff out, says Sherry Ross, M.D., ob-gyn, women’s health expert, and author of . But occasionally, bacteria makes it in, and once inside you, it will multiply, usually in your bladder, causing the symptoms of the infection.
The most common types of UTIs occur in the lower part of the system, in the urethra (called urethritis) and bladder (called cystitis), Ross says. These are usually less serious and easily treated.
If untreated, the infection can move up into your kidneys. When this happens it is called acute pyelonephritis and it can be quite serious, potentially leading to complications like sepsis, which require hospitalization, she explains.
This is why it’s so important to get treated immediately for a UTI, Ross says. Don’t write off urinary pain and urgency as “just a UTI” and call your doctor any time you’re having issues peeing, she adds.
This is something Laura M., of Salt Lake City, Utah, understands all too well. Several years ago she got a UTI and even though she recognized what it was, she didn’t seek treatment. “I was newly divorced and didn’t have health insurance, so I thought it was something that would go away eventually if I drank enough cranberry juice,” she says.
Not only did it not get better, but two nights later she woke up in immense pain, sweating and shaking and nauseous. “It felt like I was being stabbed repeatedly in my lower back,” she says. “I didn’t think it was the UTI, I had no idea they could be that painful.” She called a friend to take her to the ER and was diagnosed with a kidney infection. After being treated with IV antibiotics, she was released the next day.
UTIs are sneaky and one of the worst parts of having one is that it makes you more vulnerable to having them again in the future. Nearly 20 percent of women who have a UTI will have another, according to the National Kidney Foundation. And yes, that’s as fun as it sounds.
“I got my first UTI on my honeymoon of all places,” says Caitlin S., of Seattle, Washington. “At first I thought the burning sensation when I peed was from all the sex, so we slowed down, but the feeling didn’t go away.”
After a day of doing the potty dance, her new husband convinced her to go to a walk-in clinic and get it checked. One pee test later and she had a prescription for antibiotics. Five years later, she still gets two or three a year, she says. “I’ve got my gyno on speed dial,” she says. “She’s like ‘Oh, this again?’ and tells me to come in. It’s frustrating because they are really uncomfortable and I always get nervous when I travel or go anywhere far away from my doctor.”
The symptoms of a urinary tract infection include pain or a burning sensation when you pee, low back or pelvic pain, a feeling like you constantly need to go even if nothing much comes out, an unusual odor when you pee, and cloudy or rusty-colored urine, Ross says. If the infection becomes more severe, you’ll also likely have a fever, chills, and/or nausea or vomiting, she adds.
But sometimes the symptoms are really subtle and you may not even realize you have an infection, Ross says. This was the case for Jenny D., of Minneapolis, Minnesota. “I did notice I was peeing more than normal but that was pretty much it,” she says. Luckily, she had an appointment already scheduled for her annual checkup with her ob-gyn and they did a urine test as part of the exam. “I was surprised when the doctor’s office called with the results because I wasn’t feeling sick, but my doctor said it was likely because I was still in the very early stages of the infection and would probably have felt it soon. It was nice to catch it early and get it taken care of,” she says.
The number-one risk factor for getting a UTI? Being a woman. “Because a woman’s urethra is shorter than a man’s, and [because of] it’s location, we are more likely to get infections,” Ross says. Always wipe front to back—from your vagina towards your anus—to avoid spreading bacteria from your poop into your urethra, she adds.
Other risk factors include being sexually active, using a spermicide for birth control, menopause, having untreated STDs, having diabetes, being pregnant, and having kidney stones, according to the National Kidney Foundation.
“The best way to diagnosis a UTI is to collect a ‘clean catch’ urine sample and send it to the lab for culture,” Ross explains.
All this means for you is once you go to the doctor’s office, they’ll hand you a plastic cup and some wipes. Use the sterilizing wipes to clean your entire vaginal area. Then pee in the cup (and try not to feel weird handing a cup of your own pee to a stranger). The lab will culture your pee and will identify the offending bacteria, which is normally e.Coli, Ross says. If your test is positive, you should hear from your doctor within one to two days.
Treating it is as simple as taking a course of antibiotics, she says. The key, she adds, is that because it’s a bacterial infection, antibiotics are the only way to cure a UTI. Using natural, homeopathic, or over-the-counter treatments can help alleviate the symptoms or possibly help prevent a recurrence but they won’t kill the bacteria causing it. They’re fine to try, as long as you’re still planning to see your doctor.
Cranberry supplements are one thing that has helped Bekky C., of Seattle, Washington. “Ever since I got pregnant, I've had a lot of UTIs,” she says. “It was getting to be such a pain having to go to the doctor frequently so a few months ago I decided to try drinking a ton of water to flush out bacteria and taking a cranberry supplement every day.
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