Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) are usually caused by poor perineal hygiene, especially in women. It is commonly caused by bacteria from the bowel that live on the skin around the rectum or vagina and enter the urinary tract through the urethra. Poor perineal hygiene can also cause yeast infections. UTIs may also be caused when one "holds it in" or when one delays voiding when the urge is present. This causes bacteria to accumulate and some urine is reabsorbed, thereby causing proliferation of bacteria that cause infection. It more commonly occurs in women, because their urethra is shorter, such that bacteria can easily make their way up the urinary tract. UTIs are treated with antibiotics and by increasing fluid intake. Voiding must not be delayed, in order to avoid further infection. It is also caused by sexual intercourse.
Common symptoms of urinary tract infection are frequency of and burning on urination, fever, or evidence of infection in a urinalysis (a high amount of pus cells in the urine). In some cases, a person with a urinary tract infection may also experience chills. A natural cure is to increase fluid intake to up to 3 liters a day so that the urinary tract can recover from the infestation of bacteria caused by the disease. Eating foods that increase the acidity of the urine such as cranberry juice, apricots, plums or prunes should also be encouraged. Vitamin C makes the urine acidic, and this reduces the risk of bacterial growth.
Urinary tract infection is usually managed by home treatment with antibiotics prescribed by a physician. Antibiotic therapy usually takes about 7 to 10 days, although some types of urinary tract infections may only require a single dose of antibiotics. It is important to abide by the prescribed frequency and duration of antibiotic therapy to receive its full effect. Antibiotic therapy should not be discontinued until the full course is completed. Symptoms often disappear after antibiotic therapy, but if the antibiotics are discontinued before the course of treatment is completed, the urinary tract infection may worsen or recur.
Those who have had a urinary tract infection would require a change of lifestyle, specifically in the area of hygiene and toilet habits, because the infection can easily happen again if one is not careful. It is important to remember to wipe from front to back after every bowel movement or urination. The area around the rectum and vagina or penis must be washed daily. Washing before and after sexual intercourse also decreases a woman's risk of acquiring a urinary tract infection.
Drinking plenty of fluids daily will also help flush out bacteria from the urinary tract. Urinating immediately when the urge to void is present will also reduce the risk of acquiring urinary tract or other types of bladder infections. It requires discipline, especially if the infected person is a child. It is a common disease, and the signs are easily understood, and it can be treated easily. The important thing is treating it early so as to avoid any serious future complications.