12:00 AM, August 26, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 11:28 AM, August 26, 2018

How can you get rid of your urinary tract infection

The urinary tract infection (UTI) is very troublesome, especially for women, who suffer the most for a variety of reasons.

Urinary tract infection (UTI) usually occurs in women due to their short urethra (urinary passage) and close proximity to anus from where it might be a source. But nevertheless men are also sufferers from the UTI.

The UTI is very troublesome, especially for women, who suffer the most of the times round the year. It makes their life miserable. Fortunately, there are ways you can get rid of it.

Several factors make women more likely to get recurrent bladder infections, a type of UTI. These factors include:

♦ Kidney or bladder stones

♦ Bacteria entering the urethra during intercourse

♦ Changes in hormone (oestrogen) levels during menopause

♦ Abnormal urinary tract shape or function

♦ Inherited risk of developing bladder infections

To figure out what is causing the repeated infections, your doctor may recommend a:

♦ Urine culture test of a sample obtained with a catheter

♦ Visual examination of the bladder and urethra with a lighted scope (cystoscopy)

♦ Ultrasonogram (USG) of urinary tract

♦ Computerised tomography (CT) scan of the urinary tract

Treatment is directed towards the underlying cause, when possible. If your doctor cannot find a cause, one of these options may help:

♦ A long-term, low-dose antibiotic for as long as six months to two years

♦ Intermittent or self-directed antibiotic therapy — for instance, taking an antibiotic after intercourse or starting a course of antibiotics supplied in advance by your doctor at the first sign of a UTI

♦ Vaginal oestrogen therapy — if you do not already take oral oestrogen — for signs or symptoms related to vaginal dryness after menopause

Expert opinions vary on whether certain lifestyle changes reduce the risk of bladder infection, but it may be helpful to:

♦ Drink plenty of liquids, especially water, to help flush out bacteria

♦ Urinate often, especially when you feel the need

♦ Wipe from front to back after urination or a bowel movement

♦ During period, changing your sanitary napkin from front to back to avoid contamination

♦ Taking showers rather than bathing

♦ Gently wash the skin around your vagina and anus daily using a mild soap and plenty of water

♦ Use forms of birth control other than a diaphragm and spermicides

♦ Empty your bladder as soon as possible after intercourse

♦ Avoid deodorant sprays or scented feminine products in the genital area

Although bladder infections are more common in women, men can get them too. Signs and symptoms of bladder infection in men may include:

♦ Frequent urination

♦ Strong, persistent urge to urinate

♦ Burning or tingling sensation during or just after urination

♦ Low-grade fever

♦ Cloudy urine with a strong odour

♦ Blood in urine

♦ Trouble in urinating, especially if you have a problem with your prostate

Conditions that may be linked to an increased risk of bladder infection in men include:

♦ An enlarged prostate

♦ Kidney stones

♦ Abnormal narrowing of the urethra

♦ Having a recent urinary tract procedure involving instrumentation, such as insertion of a tube to drain your bladder (catheterisation) or a small camera to examine your bladder and urethra (cystoscopy)

Treatment of a bladder infection depends on the cause, but typically includes antibiotics. Consult a urologist to avoid unnecessary sufferings.

The writer is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Z H Sikder Women's Medical College and Hospital, Dhaka.