Feet in a tub

Ok, ladies, we’re going to talk a little about a situation that can make you feel a bit crummy or maybe not yourself for a short while. If you’re not familiar with the term UTI, the acronym stands for Urinary Tract Infection.

UTI is a common infection among women of all ages. We can blame our anatomy for the increased risk of developing this problem. Because we have “inner” parts (i.e. no penis), our urethra is much shorter. The urethra is a tube that carries urine (pee) from the bladder (where it is stored) out of the body. The opening that lets your pee out (the meatus) also carries the potential to let bacteria in. And, here’s some more bad news—once bacteria get in the “tube”, they climb up the short urethra and hang out in the bladder, potentially infecting the path along the way.

Symptoms to watch for including having to pee often, difficulty starting to pee, burning while peeing and mild cramping in the lower back or the lower belly. Sometimes, there can be an odor to the urine or even color changes, like darker than usual or pink to blood-tinged.  If more severe, fever, nausea and vomiting are possible. If you suspect that you have a UTI, it is best to call your healthcare provider ASAP!

Your healthcare provider should ask you about your symptoms and medical history, likely order a urine test and perform brief clinical exam to help rule out other problems, like kidney infections, stones and STDs. If needed, you will leave with a prescription for an antibiotic lasting 3-14 days, depending on the severity of the problem. Before long, you’ll be feeling much better, no pain with urination or any of the other symptoms.

Now that is where prevention comes in. That means, you’ve got some control over some of these situations. Here’s your list:

1) Pee when you have to – Don’t hold it!

2) Wear cotton underwear

3) Wipe from front to back

4) Pee after intercourse and after sitting in water like bathtubs, swimming pools or hot tubs

5) Drink plenty of water - average 64 ounces every day!

6) Avoid heavily scented anything in your genital area. Scented soaps, sprays and powders can irritate the urethra!

So, thanks for your time and attention. Remember to follow the above rules and you’ll likely be good to go.

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