Monday 15 August 2016

Marla Ahlgrimm | UTI Causes and Treatments

Marla Ahlgrimm, retired pharmacist and women’s health expert, says there is nothing pleasant about a urinary tract infection. With a little knowledge, however, most women can prevent UTIs or reduce their duration with treatment. Here, Ahlgrimm offers information and advice regarding UTIs.

Q:   What is a UTI?

Marla Ahlgrimm: A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection of the kidneys, ureters, bladder, or urethra or any combination of these four parts that make up the urinary tract.

Q: How does the urinary tract become infected?

Marla Ahlgrimm: There are over half a dozen known causes of UTIs. The most common are improper bathroom habits – wiping the wrong way, sexual intercourse, holding urine for extended periods, full or partial urinary tract blockages, diabetes, catheter usage, and diaphragm birth control. Spermicides have also been linked to UTIs. Any time bacteria is introduced into the vagina, there is the possibility it could develop into an infection. Post-menopausal women are at a higher risk of UTIs as their bodies do not produce enough estrogen, which has a protective effect.

 Q: How can a woman know she has a UTI?

Marla Ahlgrimm: UTIs often initially present with pain or stinging while urinating. Pressure in the lower abdomen and a constant urge to pass urine are also signs. More severe infections may cause a woman to have cloudy, foul-smelling urine. UTIs may also cause fatigue, fever, and shakiness. Women who notice blood-tinged urine should call their healthcare providers as soon as possible.

Q: Are UTIs treatable?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Yes, UTIs are treated with antibiotics after a urine sample confirms the infection. UTIs can start out mild and move to the kidneys. Left untreated, a urinary tract infection can spread to other parts of the body. Pregnant women are more prone to UTIs and should be seen right away if they suspect one as they may risk premature labor or hypertension. It is believed that drinking cranberry or grape juice may help prevent some occurrences of UTIs.


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