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Urinary Tract Infections (UTI)

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A Urinary Tract infection or a UTI is an infection that affects the urinary tract. It can cause irritation and pain in the bladder. UTI’s are quite common among women, especially sexually active women. 

A common myth is that UTIs can go away. This is false! UTI's can get better, but they won’t go away until you treat them with antibiotics. In some instances, women need to take long-term antibiotics to get rid of the infection. 

Common symptoms:

Here are the most common symptoms of a UTI. These symptoms vary for every person. Some UTI’s don’t cause sign and symptoms, but when they do, they may include:

  • A strong urge to urinate 
  • A burning sensation when urinating 
  • Urine may appear cloudy. 
  • Pelvic pain (especially in women)
  • Stomach pain 
  • Fever
  • Fatigue 

 

Causes for UTI’s:

Urinary tract infections typically occur when bacteria enter the urinary tract through the urethra and then multiply in the bladder. 

  • Dehydration – Some UTIs are caused by not drinking enough water. This is common among Gap Year students. Many gap year students go all day with only drinking a few glasses of water or coffee. This is a widespread cause of UTIs. We recommend drinking 3.7 liters of fluids (15.5 cups) daily for men and  2.7 liters (11.5 cups) of fluids for women daily.
  • Sexual activity – Sexual activity can lead to Cystitis, a common infection of the bladder. Experts recommend that women urinate after sexual activity. Also, we recommend that you drink Cranberry juice (not Cranberry Cocktail) often. Cranberry juice helps stop the bacteria that cause UTI from developing and spreading. If Cranberry juice is too tart for your taste it can be diluted with water.

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Risk factors:

Urinary tract infections are common in women, and many women experience more than one infection during their lifetime. Risk factors specific to women relating to UTIs include:

  • Female anatomy - a woman has a shorter urethra than a man, which shortens the distance that bacteria must travel to reach the bladder.
  • Dehydration – drinking a lot of water can flush out bacteria in the bladder. Therefore, it is recommended that women drink 2.7 liters of fluid daily!
  • Sexual activity - sexually active women tend to have more UTIs than women who aren't sexually active. Having a new sexual partner also increases your risk.
  • Menopause - after menopause, a decline in circulating estrogen causes changes in the urinary tract that make you more vulnerable to infection.

Fluids are the key! The easiest way to prevent UTIs is to drink plenty of fluids and stay hydrated. Hydration also benefits your health, skin, and weight! So, drink plenty of fluids and stay healthy! 

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