8 risk factors for urinary tract infections

8 risk factors for urinary tract infections

A urinary tract infection, also known as a UTI or by its medical name, cystitis, is a painful condition that can affect anyone. However, it is much more common in women due to a shorter urethra. During a UTI, the mucous membrane of the bladder becomes inflamed from bacteria, leading to increased urges to go to the bathroom and a stinging or burning sensation when urinating. Your urine also can become tinged with blood.

The Mayo Clinic lists several risk factors that increase your chances of contracting a UTI, including:

  • Being sexually active
  • Being pregnant
  • Using certain types of birth control, such as diaphragms or spermicidal agents
  • Undergoing menopause
  • Having urinary tract abnormalities
  • Having blockages in the urinary tract, such as kidney stones or an enlarged prostate
  • Having a suppressed immune system due to diabetes or auto-immune diseases
  • Using a catheter to urinate

When you realize you have contracted the infection, whether as a result of sexual intercourse, your birth control, pregnancy or a pre-existing condition, certain treatment options can help you to clear it up with minimal suffering.

People often recommend "flushing it out," or in other words, drinking as much liquid a day as possible to encourage more frequent urination and the removal of the bacteria from the bladder. Another popular home remedy is cranberries, cranberry juice or supplements. This berry is supposed to speed recovery from the infection. However, the only proven treatment is a regiment of antibiotics prescribed by a Cincinnati urologist.

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