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Dr Veerabhadra Gupta Explains Why UTIs & Kidney-Related Infections Are Common In Women

1. What is a UTI? Are women at greater risk of developing UTIs than men?

A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection in any part of your urinary system — your kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra. Most infections involve the lower urinary tract — the bladder and the urethra. Anatomy is the most likely culprit. Women are more likely to develop UTIs because they have a shorter urethra than men. Bacteria don’t have to travel very far to reach and infect a woman’s bladder. Plus, the opening to the urethra is closer to the rectum, where the bacteria that can cause these infections tend to live.

2. What are some common signs & symptoms of UTIs?

– A burning feeling when you urinate – A frequent or strong urge to urinate, even though little comes out when you do – A sudden change in your usual routine or pattern of going to the bathroom – Pain or pressure in your back or lower abdomen – Cloudy, dark, bloody or strange-smelling urine – Any sensation that doesn’t seem normal when you go – Fever, chills, rigours

3. Can you guide us through the different kinds of UTI, focusing especially on Pyelonephritis?

Pyelonephritis is the inflammation of the kidneys. It may be acute or chronic. Acute pyelonephritis generally develops rapidly over a few hours or a day. It can cause high fever, pain on passing urine, and abdominal pain that radiates along the flank towards the back. This is often associated with vomiting. Chronic pyelonephritis causes persistent flank or abdominal pain, signs of infection (fever, unintentional weight loss, decreased appetite), lower urinary tract symptoms and blood in the urine. Chronic pyelonephritis can in addition cause fever of unknown origin.

4. What are the common causes of UTI-related kidney infections?

– Being female – Having a urinary tract blockage – Having a weakened immune system – Having damage to nerves around the bladder – Using a urinary catheter for a time – Having a condition that causes urine to flow the wrong way

5. What are chronic UTIs?

A chronic urinary tract infection (UTI) might also be called persistent or recurring UTI. According to one study, a doctor will diagnose a recurring UTI (RUTI) if a person has three positive urine cultures during a 12-month period or two infections during the previous 6 months.

6. How are UTIs & kidney-related infections diagnosed?

Tests and procedures used to diagnose urinary tract infections include: – Analysing a urine sample. Your doctor may ask for a urine sample for lab analysis to look for white blood cells, red blood cells or bacteria. To avoid potential contamination of the sample, you may be instructed to first wipe your genital area with an antiseptic pad and to collect the urine midstream. – Growing urinary tract bacteria/pathogen in a lab. Lab analysis of the urine is sometimes followed by a urine culture. This test tells your doctor what bacteria are causing your infection and which medications will be most effective.

7. What are the treatment options available for UTIs & kidney-related infections?

Antibiotics usually are the first-line treatment for urinary tract infections. Which type of drugs will be prescribed and for how long will depend on your health condition and the type of bacteria found in your urine. Often, symptoms clear up within a few days of treatment. But you may need to continue antibiotics for a week or more. Take the entire course of antibiotics as prescribed.

8. What are some hygiene tips which can help women reduce their chances of contracting UTI?

– Go to the bathroom as soon as you have the urge – Make sure to wipe from front to back – Make a trip to the bathroom before and after sex – Enjoy baths? That’s OK every once in a while, but take showers more often than you soak – Wear breathable underwear, preferably with a cotton crotch – Tight pants aren’t in style for your pelvic health. Avoid wearing tight-fitting pants, they can trap moisture

9. What are some lifestyle tips to prevent UTIs & kidney infections?

Urinary tract infections can be painful, but you can take steps to ease your discomfort until antibiotics treat the infection. Follow these tips: – Drink plenty of water. Water helps to dilute your urine and flush out bacteria – Avoid drinks that may irritate your bladder. Avoid coffee, alcohol, and soft drinks containing citrus juices or caffeine until your infection has cleared. They can irritate your bladder and tend to aggravate your frequent or urgent need to urinate – Use a heating pad. Apply a warm, but not hot, heating pad to your abdomen to minimize bladder pressure or discomfort

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