Urinary Tract Infections
What is it?
Also known as bladder infections or cystitis, urinary tract infections are bacterial infections in the bladder (the sac that holds urine) or the urethra (the tube that carries urine out from the bladder).
SIGNS & SYMPTOMS
Þ Frequent urge to urinate, but only peeing a small amount at a time
Þ Burning during urination
Þ Cloudy or foul smelling urine
Þ Low back pain
Þ Lower abdominal pain
How do I get it?
Þ Bacteria from the bowel is spread to the urethra
o Can happen during vaginal or oral sex, or wiping from back to front
Þ More common in women because the length of the urethra is short and the opening of the urethra is very close to the vaginal and anal openings
Þ Less common in men so if you have any of the symptoms listed above, it is more likely that you have a sexually transmitted infection
If you THINK you have an UTI…
Ø Drink plenty of water and cranberry juice
Ø Bathe often (twice a day) if possible to keep your genital area clean and prevent bacteria from spreading to the vagina
Ø Put heating pad on your abdomen and back to ease discomfort
How do I get tested for it?
If symptoms persist for more than 2 days, see a doctor. A simple urine test can confirm whether or not you have an infection.
How do I treat it?
UTIs are treated with antibiotics. Remember to finish all the pills that were prescribed to you even if the symptoms are gone!
How do I prevent it?
Ø Drinking 6-8 glasses of water a day
Ø Limit caffeine and alcohol
Ø Urinate often, especially before and after sexual activities
Ø Empty your bladder completely each time your pass urine
Ø Wipe from front to back after going to the bathroom
Ø Wear material that allows for good air circulation (i.e. cotton underwear)
Ø Wear loose fitting pants
Ø Bathe frequently BUT do not douche
Ø Avoid bubble baths, oils, and perfumed soaps if prone to infections
Ø Drink unsweetened cranberry juice