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6 UTI Symptoms All Women Should Know



Chances are high you will get a urinary tract infection (UTI) at some point. Thanks to our anatomy, women have more than a 50% chance of getting a UTI in their lifetime. The infections result in about 8.1 million visits to the doctor each year, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

f you’re postmenopausal, your likelihood of having a UTI increases. “In women after menopause, an average of one UTI a year is pretty common,” says Kavita Mishra, MD, a urogynecologist at the University of California, San Francisco. Changes in the pH of the v**ina can alter the balance of bacteria and yeast in postmenopausal women and make it easier for bacteria to make their way into the urethra.

“UTIs are also fairly common for sexually active women,” adds Mishra, although peeing before and after s*x can help prevent their occurrence. Women with diabetes are also more likely to get a UTI because of condition’s impact on the immune system

Knowing what to look for and what to do about it can help keep you comfortable and prevent a UTI from turning into a serious infection—> are 6 symptoms to watch for:

Pain or burning when you pee is often the first sign of a UTI or bacteria in the urethra or bladder. However, it doesn’t mean you have a full-blown UTI unless it continues. If you get only pain or burning once and not again for the rest of the day and you don’t show any other signs or symptoms, your body has already flushed out the bacteria and you likely don’t have to worry.

Drinking extra water as soon as the burning starts may help flush out small amounts of bacteria and help prevent the infection from growing according to Lisa Dabney, MD, a urogynecologist at Mount Sinai West and Mount Sinai St. Luke’s.

Peeing consistently 

If all you can think about is how badly you have to pee, especially if you just went, you probably have a UTI. The bacteria irritate the urethra and the lining of the bladder and make you feel like you desperately need to pee constantly.

Frequent urination is another red flag for an infection. A UTI can make you feel like you have a full bladder, but only dribbles come out when you go. Frequent trips to the bathroom and little to no relief are telltale signs to look out for.

The color of your pee can tell you a lot of things, including whether you have an infection. Anything off the yellow or clear spectrum is cause to worry. Cloudy, red, or brown urine are all signs of infection. Before you panic, take stock of what you ate in the past 24 hours. Beets and other foods can also make your pee a frightening pink, orange, or red color, but you won’t have any pain and the color will quickly pass if something you ate is to blame.

You don’t have to sniff the bowl every time you go, but a strong, pungent smell is a common UTI symptom. However, some foods may also cause your pee to smell. Coffee and asparagus are two likely culprits. If your urine still smells after going a couple of times, or it’s paired with a cloudy or red color, it’s time to call the doctor.

Older women in particular may have cramping, pressure, or abdominal pain when they have a UTI. In some women, pain or cramping may be the most pronounced symptom alongside muscle aches and feeling tired, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. These symptoms are often easy to ignore or attribute to something else, but it’s important to pay attention to them and bring them up with your doctor who can help you find the cause.

The symptoms of a UTI often build over several days. “A UTI might start with some burning when you pee and then it gets worse with a constant feeling of urgency or an increase in frequency,” said Mishra. “Then you might notice on the third or fourth day bloody or cloudy urine or chills.”

But while a UTI can be incredibly painful and interrupt your daily life, the good news is that these infections are easy to treat. Symptoms usually clear up completely within a few days of treatment with antibiotics. And if you’re one of the unlucky women who’s had a UTI before, a call to your doctor may be all you need to get urine culture and a prescription.

> are some things you can do right now to make yourself feel better:

  • Drink lots of fluids. This is especially important once you have started taking antibiotics. Extra fluids will help get the antibiotics to the infected area faster and also help remove bacteria.
  • Mishra also recommends soothing your bladder with over-the-counter medications like Pyridium. These medications numb the bladder and take away burning and the constant urge to go. Be warned, they will turn your urine a shocking shade of orange. “You can always use over-the-counter pain medications like Tylenol or Motrin, but they don’t seem to work as well as Azo or Pyridium,” said Mishra.
  • Skip the coffee, soda, alcohol, and citrus juice. Stick to water to avoid irritating your bladder.

.: Prevention

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