UTIs In Women and Men
Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) are infections in the private area or the genital area of the women like infections in the vagina, urethra, ureters, Urinary bladder, and in rare cases, the infection can get worse and affect the kidneys and enter into the blood too. These infections are caused by bacteria, fungi, and viruses. They are most commonly caused by bacteria and very rare by viruses. It is very common among every woman around the world. To prevent these infections women need to maintain proper hygiene of the genital area.
Every woman is going to experience this infection from very mild to very severe in their lifetime. It can also affect men but women are more prone to it as the vagina in women is open and hence the bacteria can very easily pass through the vagina and cause an infection. A women’s urethra is shorter than men’s and it is very close to the vagina. That’s why the bacteria can travel very easily from the vagina to the urethra.
When I got a mild UTI recently, my symptoms were heavy white discharge, itching, and irritation in the genital area, back pain, pelvic pain, and frequent urination. So my doctor took a urine test and a urine culture test to detect the type of infection and gave me antibiotics and vaginal tablets for treatment. She gave me Oflox-200 twice a day for 7 days and citralka syrup 10ml twice a day for 7 days. 10 ml of this citralka syrup should be mixed in a glass of water before consumption. She also gave me 6 vaginal tablets to put in the vagina at night before sleeping with the help of a long tube to stop the white discharge and kill the bacteria causing infection in the vagina. It cured completely after 7 days. These vaginal tablets are safe to use during pregnancy too. But you have to make sure that you place them properly in the vagina. The tube has to be inserted deep inside the vagina and leave the tablet there. If you don’t place the tablet deep inside, it may come out of the vagina in the morning or it doesn’t get dissolved, and hence it doesn’t work to fight bacteria. If you are not able to place it properly then take the help of your partner.
Symptoms of UTIs:-
The symptoms of this infection can vary in every woman. Some may experience only a few symptoms and some may experience all the symptoms. Though you get only a few symptoms you still need to consult your gynecologist for early treatment of the infections or else it may get worse and sometimes can be life-threatening too. For some women, it starts as a very mild infection in the vagina or the urinary bladder. If this is not treated properly by a doctor then it may spread to the urethra and then to the kidneys and then into the bloodstream which can be life-threatening. Whenever you see symptoms like this then please consult your doctor:-
- Frequent urination.
- Passing small amounts of urine.
- Pelvic pain, especially in the center of the pelvis and around the area of the pubic bone.
- Cloudy, dark yellow, red, band lack color urine.
- Heavy white Discharge.
- Lower Abdomen pain.
- Fever and chills.
- Burning sensation while urinating.
- Itching around the vaginal area.
These symptoms vary from mild to severe. When you have a mild infection you will only have itching, pelvic pain, yellow urine, and frequent urination. When the infection gets severe it reaches the kidneys and there will be blood in urine, fever, chills, and severe abdominal pain.
Sometimes you will have only itching and irritation in your genital area with no other symptoms. This can be due to poor hygiene of the genital area or a change in the inner body temperature and hormones of your body. Drinking plenty of water or using V Wash to clean the genital area can cure a lot. If it persists, your doctor may advise you to take a Cetriz tablet every night for 3 days to cure itching in the genital area.
What is V wash?
It is an intimate hygiene expert which is used to wash the external area of the genitals. It shouldn’t be used inside your vagina. Our body can fight off the bacteria that come in contact with the vagina. But sometimes due to weak immune systems or other diseases, your body will no longer be strong enough to fight bacteria hence resulting in UTIs. The normal pH level of every women’s intimate area is 3.5 to 5.5. Some of our daily practices can change the natural pH level of the intimate area and makes it more prone to UTIs. These are:-
- When we get periods the pH level of the blood is 7.4.
- Our urine has a pH level of 6 to 7.5.
- During pregnancy and menopause, the hormone fluctuations in our body can change the pH level of the intimate area.
- Human sweat has a pH level of 4.5 to 7.
- Semen has a pH of 7.1 to 8.
- Use of bath soaps, perfumed sprays, or scented toilet paper can also change the pH of the intimate area hence making it more prone to UTIs.
Lactic acid is the source of pH levels in the vagina. It acts as a protective covering against bacteria which can cause vaginal discomforts like irritation, itchiness, soreness, abnormal discharge, and unpleasant odor. This V wash is specially formulated with Lactic acid that supports the ideal vaginal pH of 3.5 and helps restore the natural protective Lactic acid layer needed in your intimate area.
We normally use bath soaps with water that is alkaline in nature and has a pH level of 8 or more. The water itself has a pH level of 7. Thus this can disturb the desired pH level of our intimate area which is between 3.5 to 5.5 which might result in the depletion of the Lactic acid layer covering your intimate area leading to vaginal discomfort and UTIs.
To use V wash for your intimate area just take a few drops of V Wash liquid in your hands and gently apply to the genital area and wash it off with water. Don’t use this inside your vagina or other internal parts. You can use it daily to maintain proper hygiene of the genital parts.
Types Of Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs):-
1. Infection in the Urethra (Urethritis):- This is the most common infection seen in women. The infection occurs in the urethra and the vagina. Ureters are the two tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the urinary bladder. And the urethra is a single tube that carries urine from the urinary bladder to the vagina or the penis. The symptoms of this infection include white discharge, itching in the vagina area, Pain in the center of the pelvis, frequent urination, and yellow and cloudy urine. This infection is mild and can go away if treated properly with antibiotics given by your gynecologist.
2. Infection in the Urinary Bladder (Cystitis):- This is caused mainly by the bacteria named Escherichia coli (E. coli). This bacteria is found in the gastrointestinal tract. If the infection in the urethra is not treated properly it may spread to the urinary bladder and make it worse The symptoms include pelvic pressure, abdominal pain, blood in urine, frequent urination, painful urination, and a burning sensation while urinating.
3. Infection in the Kidneys (Pyelonephritis):- This is a very serious condition in women and it has to be treated as soon as possible. This can be life-threatening if the bacteria move from the affected kidneys to the bloodstream in the body. This condition is called urosepsis and can cause very low blood pressure, shock, and death. The symptoms of pyelonephritis include back pain or side pain, high fever, chills, vomiting, and nausea.
4. Recurrent UTIs – The meaning of recurrent is getting the infection again and again after one month or 20 days of the treatment of the previous UTI. When you get the infection you take an antibiotic course of 5 to 7 days. You will feel relaxed and think that your infection is gone. But after a few days, you will get the infection again. Again you take antibiotics and it will go away. The third time you get the infection don’t take it lightly. Go to your doctor and take an abdomen scan and blood test. The reports will show you how severe your infection is. You will get recurrent UTIs due to PID( pelvic inflammatory disease). This develops when your whole urinary system gets infected by bacteria. And the infection has spread to all your urinary system including the urinary tract, ovary, fallopian tubes, urethra, and the urinary bladder. To treat this your doctor will give you 2 to 3 injections twice a day for 3 days. If the infection persists, you should again take antibiotics course for 5 more days.
Some antibiotics are very powerful and they can cause gas in the stomach or loose motions which can be very hurtful. So your doctor will give you gas tablets and Metrogel tablets along with the antibiotics. Make sure you have all of them properly at rthe ight time. Because if you don’t take a proper healthy diet or forget to take a gas tablet before taking antibiotics, your stomach is going to hurt a lot and you may feel dizzy and your blood pressure level might go down up to 80 and 70.
If your infection becomes serious or if you get PID, you will not be able to conceive or get pregnant until the infection is cured completely. So it’s always better to avoid sex when you are under treatment.
Causes of UTIs:-
- Sexual Intercourse without using any protection.
- Intercourse with multiple partners.
- Poor hygiene of the private parts.
- Using diaphragms and spermicidal agents for birth control.
- Menopause can also cause UTIs as the estrogen level declines and this can change the PH level of the urinary tract making it more vulnerable to infections.
- A women’s urethra is shorter than men’s and it is very close to the vagina. Thatswhy the bacteria can travel very easily from the vagina to the urethra. Hence the bacteria can easily enter the vagina and cause infection.
- Some babies are born with urinary tract abnormalities that don’t allow the urine to leave the body normally or it gets trapped in the urethra causing UTIs.
- Sometimes blockages in the urinary tract can also lead to infections in the urinary tract. Kidney stones can trap the urine in the bladder hence increasing the risk of UTIs.
- A poor immune system due to diabetes and other diseases can also lead to UTIs.
- In Pregnancy, the abdominal area expands and puts more pressure on the urinary bladder, and hence you feel more urge to urinate. If you hold pee then you might be at risk of getting UTIs and infections during pregnancy can be dangerous to your baby.
Prevention of UTIs:-
You can prevent these urinary tract infections and even cure them at home when they are very mild. Here I will tell you some home remedies that you can try to prevent UTIs in the future:-
- Drink plenty of water or fluids.
- Maintain proper hygiene of the vagina.
- Don’t use any chemical-based things like Dettol, bath soaps with more chemicals, or other body washes.
- While using the toilet don’t wash from back to front, instead, wipe from front to back.
- Avoid using bath soaps on the private parts. Instead, you can wash it with clean water or use V- wash. Because the PH level of the vaginal area is different from the other body parts.
- Drink berry juice, cranberry juice, coconut water, ragi water, rice water, and buttermilk to wash out all the bacteria from the vagina.
- Avoid using diaphragms, unlubricated condoms, and spermicides for birth ccontrol
- Wash your vagina after every intercourse and drink a glass full of water after intercourse to flush out all the bacteria that are sexually transmitted.
- Keep your genital area dry by wearing cotton underwear and loose-fitting pants.
- Don’t hold urine for long periods.
- Avoid using feminine hygiene products that have chemicals in them.
Treatment of UTIs:-
- You cannot treat these infections at home. You have to visit your doctor and follow her advice.
- They are usually cured by antibiotics and vaginal creams.
- Your doctor will also give you some other tablets for pelvic pain relief and irritation in the vaginal area.
- To stop the white discharge and other infections in the vagina your doctor will suggest you use some tablets which are inserted in the vagina with the help of a small tube.
- To know what type of infection you have, your doctors will tell you to take a urine test and a urine culture test.
- If you get frequent UTIs your doctor might tell you to go through a CT scan, an ultrasound, blood test, blood culture, and an MRI scan to look closer into the vagina and check if the infection got into the bloodstream.
- They might also use a long, flexible tube called a cystoscope to look inside the urethra.
UTIs in Pregnancy:-
Infections during pregnancies are very common due to the more pressure put on the abdominal area by the baby. You should immediately consult your gynecologist as soon as you see any symptoms of urinary tract infection during pregnancy. Because UTIs in pregnancy can cause high blood pressure and premature delivery. If not treated properly then they may spread to the Kidneys and be life-threatening for both the mother and the baby.
UTIs in Men:-
Urinary tract infections in men are less common than in women. The symptoms in men will be the same symptoms that a woman gets like itching, redness, frequent urination, cloudy and smelly urine, white discharge, pain in the center of the pelvis area or the area between the rectum and the scrotum, and burning sensation. If the infection becomes severe you may notice some other symptoms like fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, blood in urine, pain while peeing, strong smell in urine, etc.
The causes of urinary tract infections in men are the same as the cases in women like sexual intercourse, poor immune system, Poor hygiene of the genital area, Wearing tight jeans and underwear all day, holding pee for long hours, etc.
The treatment of UTIs in men will be by taking antibiotics and applying creams just like women’s treatment. Your doctor will tell you what antibiotics and tablets you should use. The infection can be treated completely by taking antibiotics for 5 to 7 days twice or thrice a day depending on the severity of the infection.