Stay on Tract: Avoid a UTI This Summer

Urinary tract infections, commonly known as UTIs, are all too familiar and affect millions of women, children and men every year. In the summer months, UTIs become more prevalent due to the increase in dehydration, sexual activity and wearing swimsuits for extended periods of time.

A UTI is caused when bacteria enters the urinary tract, triggering an infection that often needs antibiotics to cure. The kidneys, ureter, bladder and urethra make up the urinary tract, and each has a specific function when it comes to removing urine from the body. The kidneys collect and store the urine, the ureter carries urine from the kidneys to the bladder, the bladder holds it and the urethra carries the urine from the bladder out of the body.

There are different types of UTIs, with the most common being a bladder infection. When left untreated, it can turn into a kidney infection, which can be dangerous and cause permanent damage to the kidneys.

The key to avoiding further illness when it comes to UTIs is early detection and treatment. If you experience any of the following, you may have a UTI:

Commons signs and symptoms:

  • Burning or pain during urination
  • Frequency and urgency to go
  • Pain in the lower back or stomach
  • Cloudy, pink or red urine
  • Foul or strong smelling urine
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting


UTIs in Women

Women typically experience UTIs more often than men. A woman’s urethra is shorter and closer to the rectum, making it easier for bacteria to enter into the urinary tract when wiping or during sex. In order to lower the risk of UTI, women should do the following:

  • Use the restroom often and empty your bladder completely each time.
  • Wipe from front to back. This lessens the chance of bacteria from the rectum being introduced into the urinary tract.
  • Urinate before and immediately after sex.
  • Wear loose-fitting pants and cotton underwear. Tight-fitting pants and other fabrics trap moisture, which can cause irritation.
  • Choose a shower over a bath. Even though soaking in the tub can be relaxing and reduce stress, it increases the chances of bacteria entering the urinary tract. That doesn’t mean you can’t ever take a bath, but make it a treat instead of an everyday thing.
  • Drink plenty of water. Six to eight glasses of water every day.


UTIs in Men

While men may not experience UTIs as often, knowing how to prevent them is always good. Men should:

  • Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. Six to eight glasses should do the trick.
  • Maintain proper hygiene, particularly if uncircumcised.  Keeping the area near the urethra clean prevents bacteria from reaching the urinary tract.
  • Urinate often, emptying the bladder completely each time.


UTIs in Children

Depending on their age, children may experience different symptoms with a UTI.

Common symptoms in children:

  • General fussiness or ill feeling
  • Fever
  • Poor appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Foul or strong smelling urine
  • Cloudy urine or presence of blood
  • Frequency and urgency
  • Burning or pain during urination
  • In order to help prevent UTIs in children, parents can help their kids do the following:
  • Wear loose-fitting underwear and clothes
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Wipe from front to back
  • Use proper hygiene


How GMC Can Help

If you or your child needs medical care after hours or on a holiday, ChoiceOne Urgent Care is your answer. With locations in Hamilton Mill and Sugar Hill, ChoiceOne, affiliated with Gwinnett Medical Center, can diagnose and treat children for a variety of illness and injuries. For more information, visit gwinnettmedicalcenter.org/urgentcare.


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