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Can urinary tract infections be prevented?


Can we prevent urinary tract infections?

If you've never had a urinary tract infection (UTI), take note: while the illnesses are uncommon in older males, they are frequent in older women, occurring in 10% of women aged 65 to 85. Up to a third of women who get a UTI will experience a recurrence within six months.

"E. coli bacteria which live in the intestines are responsible for roughly 80% of all recurrent UTIs and continue to generate antibiotic-resistant germ strains. The bacteria' ability to adhere to the urinary tract can make them extremely difficult to eliminate.


The causes of urinary tract infections

UTIs can develop in any part of the urinary system, including the kidneys, bladder, ureters (the tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder), or urethra (the tube that carries urine out of the body).

Female anatomy — especially, the short urethra that opens to the outer world just above the vagina — has an effect on women's susceptibility. This is because germs from the rectum, particularly E. coli (officially known as Escherichia coli), can be pushed into the urethra opening by wiping or sexual intercourse. They can then ascend the urethra to the bladder.

"Because males have a larger urethra, they seldom acquire UTIs,"  "However, occasionally, a man's enlarged prostate gland obstructs the passage of urine from the bladder, resulting in urine pooling and providing a breeding ground for germs.

Symptoms and treatment 

Typically, UTI symptoms include a burning sensation when urinating, an urgent desire to pee, frequent urination, bloody or murky urine, and fever.

Occasionally, doctors treat UTIs only on the basis of symptoms. However, the most reliable diagnosis needs a urine test to determine the presence of white blood cells and bacteria, followed by a urine culture to grow bacteria in a lab and determine the kinds present. Antibiotics should cure the infection.

One issue is that older women might harbour bacteria in their bladders without experiencing an illness or symptoms, a condition known as asymptomatic bacteriuria. "Women with bacteriuria who are asymptomatic should not be treated.

Vaccines in development
Doherty and his colleagues founded their firm to license and test the vaccination technology developed at Harvard. This vaccine, along with others now being studied, aims to prevent recurring UTIs by targeting the method bacteria utilize to adhere to the urinary tract lining.

Certain physicians, like Dr O'Leary, are doubtful that vaccination would ever be able to entirely prevent UTIs. "There are several bacterial causes, and a single vaccination may not cover all of them," he explains. Nonetheless, considering how frequently E. coli is responsible for recurrent UTIs, a vaccination directed against E. coli might go a long way toward preventing many, if not all, recurrent Urinary Tract Infections.

Preventing urinary tract infections

  • Some women are more prone to recurring or frequent UTIs than others. Here are some methods to help you avoid them:

  • To flush out the urinary system, drink plenty of water every day.

  • After sexual intercourse, quickly empty your bladder.

  • Consider using vaginal estrogen cream if you're a postmenopausal woman to help prevent "bad" germs from forming around the urethral entrance.

  • Wipe from front to back after going to the bathroom if you're a woman of any age; wiping from back to front brings "bad" bacteria toward the urethral hole.

  • Consider taking a low-dose antibiotic on a regular basis for a long time (although this has a risk of encouraging antibiotic resistance).

  • Take a single dosage of antibiotics after sex if your UTIs are frequently caused by sexual intercourse.


What about supplements that promise to protect you from UTIs?

The evidence that cranberry products can assist is conflicting. Natural compounds in cranberries may prevent bacteria from adhering to the lining of the urinary system. "However, cranberry juice is rich in sugar. Instead, stick to tablets "According to O'Leary.

It's fine to use cranberry to avoid UTIs, according to the American Urological Association. However, no proof has been discovered that any other supplements, such as D-mannose, botanicals, hyaluronic acid, or chondroitin, will help prevent UTIs.

Disclaimer:

No content on this site, regardless of date, should be used to replace direct medical advice from your doctor or another trained practitioner.

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