Urinary tract infections are common bacteria-caused health conditions, which affect around 150 billion people every year. And even though they are widely spread, they can be persistent and cause a significant decrease in your quality of life. Besides, if UTIs are not treated in time, they can even impose severe health risks and can damage other body systems.
There are plenty of UTI myths in the online world, which deceive the readers and confuse them in regards to the seriousness of this condition, the causes for the infection, its spread, etc.
This article will bring clarity on commonly discussed topics about urinary tract infections. Without any bias.
So let’s get started!
All people can get UTI
Contrary to popular speculations that only women develop such health conditions, the facts state that both men AND women can get an UTI. (source)
The reason for this myth to appear in the first place is the evidence that females’ urethra is shorter than males’, which makes it easier for bacteria to reach the bladder and kidneys and stay there. Especially for women who are sexually active or those who are in menopause (in that case, the pH changes and becomes more prone to developing infections.) (source)
Nonetheless, lifestyle factors like holding the urge to urinate, wearing tight pants and underwear, and not drinking enough water daily, increase the probability of developing urinary infections in men.
So no one is totally safe.
There are people more prone to UTI than others
As already mentioned, being a woman means that you are at more risk of developing UTIs than being a man. But that is not all. There are other groups of people that bear a high level of risk for urinary infections. Some of the most common are:
Individuals suffering from kidney stones
The stones can cause blockage in the different parts of the urinary tract, and if there are bacteria present above the kidney stone, it can spread quickly towards the kidneys, causing serious infection and worsening the condition. (source)
People with diabetes type 2 are considered to be a risk group for developing UTIs. According to a study published in the US National Library of Medicine, those people suffer from such infections more often than non-diabetics, moreover they experience more severe symptoms and worse outcomes. One of the main reasons for this is the fact that diabetics have poor blood circulation, which trammels the white blood cells to fight inflammation quickly and efficiently.
With age, both men and women become more prone to UTIs. (source) For females, bladder prolapse may result in ineffective emptying of the bladder, and the remaining urine becomes a great place for bacteria spread. For males, an enlarged prostate gland has a similar effect on infection development.
Don’t only include issues with the urethra
You may have already figured this out, but UTIs are not all about the urethra. They can also affect the bladder, ureters (the tubes that go from the bladder to the kidneys), and the kidneys themselves! (source)
In that sense, treating urinary infection effectively, and in time, is critical in order to preserve not only this body system but your overall health. Because for example, if the kidneys are malfunctioning, they impact your whole wellbeing. But that is for a whole another article!
The common symptoms
Self-diagnosing, as bad and health-threatening as it is, has reached a peak in the recent years.
And referring to the right symptoms can reduce the risk of reaching out to the wrong solution.
According to UK National Health Service Database, the primary symptoms include, but are not limited to:
- Strong urge to pee in unusually small intervals of time
- Pain/burning while peeing
- Cloudy/bloody urine with an unusual smell
- Low-abdomen pain
With a lack of proper treatment, the symptoms may become more severe and spread.
In that sense, I strongly suggest contacting a specialist if you have even minor doubts about suffering from UTIs. Inappropriate of self-treatment increases the risk of complications and further issues.
The fame of cranberry products is closely linked to urinary tract infections. And people believe that by simply drinking juice, the infection would go away. But is that true?
A 2009 medical study has examined the effect of cranberry juice on preventing and treating UTI. The results show that those fruits can effectively prevent such health conditions because of their A-type proanthocyanidins content, as this flavonoid blocks the bacteria from attaching to the walls of the urinary tract.
However, there is no proof that cranberries can treat UTIs.
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, and I do not aim to give any medical advice. The information presented in this article is based on research and aims to give information about the topic