People of any age and sex can have Urinary Tract Infection or UTI from time to time. However, it does not mean you can ignore it. UTI is often overlooked and mistaken as an elderly condition.

UTI is a bacterial infection affecting the body’s urinary system – urethra, kidneys, bladder and ureters. The urinary tract is responsible for flushing out excess water and removing waste out of the body. So when UTI happens, it causes disruption in the urinary area.

ManilaMed nephrologist, Dr. Janice Jill Lao shares her knowledge about Urinary Tract Infection in an episode of ManilaMed Health Line.

Understanding UTI

Urinary Tract Infection is classified into three types: cystitis, urethritis and pyelonephritis.

  1. Cystitis is a bladder infection caused by Escherichia coli or E.coli, a bacteria found in the colon that spreads commonly from the anus to the urinary tract.
  2. Urethritis can happen when gastrointestinal bacteria spreads from the anus to urethra.
  3. Pyelonephritis is a kidney infection that begins in the bladder and moves upward to one or both of your kidneys or can be hematogenous/spread by the blood.  

According to Dr. Lao, women are more at risk than men when it comes to contracting UTI. The location of the female’s urethra is closer to the vagina and anus, therefore easier for the bacteria to enter and infect the bladder. It’s also known that females could have repetitive infections in their lifetime.

Pregnant women are also prone to UTI. Hormonal changes and shifts in the position of the urinary tract could make the bacteria travel to the bladder easier. This infection in pregnant women can cause premature labor or early abortion.

Wiping from back to front, having sexual intercourse, usage of spermicide, (a type of contraceptive that stops sperm from reaching an egg) and delaying of urination, are some of the causes of UTI in women.

On the other hand, UTI is rarely seen in men since their urethra is longer and the fluid produced in the prostate could fight the bacteria. Prostate problems and sexual activity are some of the reasons that can help develop the infection.

Most people think that eating salty chips, holding your pee and not drinking enough water can cause UTI. Although Doctor Lao explained that this is merely a predisposition and not the reason itself.

Urinary Tract Infection does not always show signs and symptoms, but when it does, these may include:

  • Painful urination
  • Balisawsaw or frequent urge to urinate
  • Blood in the urine
  • Pelvic pain; hypogastric area
  • Urine that appears cloudy
  • Strong smelling urine

Despite UTI not being a dangerous infection, if left untreated and ignored, it can cause kidney damage.

Urinary Tract Infection is normally caused by bacteria. It is usually treated with antibiotics. An uncomplicated UTI treatment for a person with a normal urinary tract can usually last for 2-3 days. On the other hand, complicated treatment happens when a person is further weakened by an existing condition. It tends to have a longer period of treatment, between 7-14 days.

As the saying goes, prevention is always better than cure. So, drink lots of water, wipe from front to back after urinating and clean the genitals before and after intercourse to avoid Urinary Tract Infection.

Dr. Janice Jill Lao’s interview was featured in ManilaMed’s Facebook Live episode called ManilaMed Healthline. Watch the whole interview here. For more inquiries about Urinary Tract Infection visit ManilaMed or call (02) 523 8131 – 65.