The World Health Organization (WHO) has reported that half of all women have suffered UTI at least once in their lifetime. Even though this disease can cause a great deal of discomfort, it is unsurprising for many sufferers to claim that the symptoms “just passed”. And this is where the real danger begins.
An undiagnosed or untreated UTI can worsen and lead to something as bad as kidney failure. In fact, the same report claims that UTI outranks surgical site infection, bloodstream infection, and pneumonia in terms of prevalence and cause of death.
Here’s what you need to know about UTI and why you should get treatment for it promptly:
How do you get it?
This type of infection affects the lower urinary tract consisting of the ureters and bladder. Rainy Lake Medical Center warns that if left undetected or untreated, the problem can spread as far up as the upper urinary tract, which includes the urethra and the kidneys.
Ninety percent of the time, UTI is caused by a bacterium called E. coli, which is usually present in the bowel. Therefore, wiping from back to front habitually can increase your likelihood of urinary tract infection. Sexual activity without protection can also make women more susceptible to bacterial infection. A weakened immune system, kidney stones, and decreased estrogen levels are also risk factors.
What are the symptoms?
The early telltale signs of lower urinary tract infection may be annoying, but they are often bearable. At its worse, the sufferer might experience mild fever or malaise, a constant urge to pee or a burning sensation when urinating. Urine might also change in appearance, color, and smell. Upper urinary tract infection, on the other hand, has far more severe symptoms, including high fever, chills, pain, and vomiting.
How should the early stages of infection be handled?
The best way to stop UTI is to see a doctor who will test the patient’s urine and look for traces of blood cells and bacteria. Medical attention should be given 24 hours after the first mild symptoms are felt.
When the infection hits the upper urinary tract, the kidneys are at risk of failing. Immediate medical attention is necessary to avoid the worst consequences.