A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection that begins in the urinary system. The urinary system is composed of the kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra. Any of these organs can become infected, but most infections involve the urethra and the bladder. UTI typically occurs when bacteria enter the urinary tract and begin to multiply.
Women are most at risk of developing a UTI, and many women experience more than one infection during their lifetimes. Risk factors specific to women for UTIs include:
- Female anatomy. Woman has a shorter urethra than man. This shortens the distance for bacteria to reach the bladder or kidneys and cause infections.
- Menopause. After menopause, a decline in circulating estrogen causes changes in the urinary tract that make you more vulnerable to infection.
Symptoms of UTI typically involve lower abdominal discomfort, such as:
- Feeling a sense of urgency
- Burning sensation during urination
- Passing frequent and small amount of urine
- Cloudy urine
- Red or bright pink colored urine - a sign of blood in the urine
- Strong-smelling urine
There are a number of things that we can do to reduce the risk of getting a UTI. These include:
- Drink plenty of liquids, especially water.
- Go to the toilet as soon as there is a need to urinate, rather than holding it in.
- Wipe from front to back after going to the toilet.
- Empty bladder as soon as possible after intercourse. Also, drink a full glass of water to help flush away bacteria.
- Probiotics help to improve the balance of micro flora in the urinogenital areas and reducing the risks of UTI. Probiotics also help to restore and maintain the natural flora of the vagina.