Most of us know that a UTI is. Urinary tract infections are very common and can normally be treated quickly by doctors. However, they can also be deadly if left untreated.
UTIs are one of the most common infections for men and women alike. It is an infection of the urinary tract which runs from your kidneys through your bladder and to your urethra. A UTI shouldn’t lead to death. But if the infection is left untreated, it can develop into severe sepsis and then to septic shock causing death.
Your chance of getting a UTI is very high with about 50% of women and 5 % of men catching one at some point in their lives. Many women get repeat infections, sometimes for years.
It’s not too difficult to spot when you might have a UTI. You should consult a doctor or pharmacist if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- a burning sensation when you pee
- a frequent need to urinate even though not much comes out when you do
- cloudy, strange-smelling, dark or even bloody urine
- pain or pressure in your lower back or belly
- feeling tired or shaky
- a fever or chills could be a sign that the infection has reached your kidneys
Luckily for most, UTIs are not something you need to spend much time worrying about. Doctors normally treat UTIs with antibiotics which should clear up the infection by the time you finish your medication. Remember, if you’re given antibiotics you need to finish the whole course and not just stop when your symptoms clear up.
However, left untreated a UTI can have serious complications including recurrent infections, permanent kidney damage, pregnancy complications in women, narrowing of the urethra in men and of course sepsis, the body’s often deadly response to infection or injury which kills millions worldwide each year.
There are many things you can do to prevent UTIs. You should drink plenty of water, this will dilute your urine and you will pee more frequently, flushing out bacteria before an infection can begin.
You could drink more cranberry juice. Studies are mixed about the effectiveness of cranberry juice but it’s definitely not harmful and it’s delicious! Pharmacies also sell cranberry pills that some people like to take as a preventive measure, especially women who are prone to repeat infections.
You should also always try to empty your bladder after sex. Your urethra is exposed and it’s the easiest way for bacteria to get inside.
For women, make sure you don’t use feminine products that might irritate your sensitive areas, such as deodorants. Consider changing your birth control method if you catch UTIs regularly, especially if you’re using diaphragms or non-lubricated condoms. Finally, make sure you always wipe from the front to back to prevent spreading bacteria down there.