Most people probably don’t give their urinary tract a second thought – well, until something goes wrong. Of all the things that could go wrong with your Urinary Tract, UTIs are the most common. In fact, they account for more than 8 million healthcare provider visits each year. But there are steps you can take to prevent and treat these infections. Here are a few shocking truths most people don’t know about UTIs.
1. Antibiotics are not the Right Answer
While most of the time, patients are prescribed antibiotics for treating their UTIs, many infection causing bacteria have developed resistance to antibiotics and their resulting impact is quite astounding. Multi-drug resistant pathogens show no aversion to typical prescription antibiotics and need to be dealt a more aggressive blow. The Enterococci bacteria especially show a higher resistance towards standard antibiotics. These antibiotics resistant bugs pose a greater threat of recurring bouts of UTI and thus need to be avoided by people who have suffered from the condition before. Prevention is one of the best cures for warding off a UTI in the first place.
2. There are Other Culprits besides Bacteria
Are you familiar with the term schistosomiasis? Schistosomiasis is a malady caused by a harmful flatworm, and the same organism has been known to cause UTI as well. 4 types of schistosomiasis exist today and they can all lead to bladder cancer and kidney disease. Each year, almost 200 million are infested by the microorganism and 100,000 die.
3. UTIs can Aggravate Diabetes
Urinary tract infections and diabetes is a two way road. A study has revealed that Diabetic patients are likely hosts to drug resistant bacteria that can lead to severe UTIs, especially if the condition is poorly maintained. In fact, Diabetic men and women are at a higher risk of procuring a UTI than nondiabetic individuals. On the other hand, UTIs can cause life threatening conditions for diabetic patients.
4. Pregnant Women are At a Greater Risk
Unfortunately, the chances of contracting a UTI increase for pregnant women. One study even hints at an association between severe problems, such as smaller than average gestational age infants and preterm birth, and UTIs. To prevent recurring urinary tract infections in women during pregnancy, most women are asked to use natural remedies, such as acupuncture and cranberry juice.
5. Obesity Boosts Risk of Infections in Men
A study conducted in 2013 determined the effects of obesity on contracting a UTI, and shown that obese men are twice more likely to have a urinary tract infection than obese women. In addition, both obese women and men are more at risk for developing an infection than their non-obese counterparts, and have greater chances of complications.
6. Eye Damage is UTI Complication
While we know that a UTI can cause kidney and bladder damage, little do people know about its repercussions for the eyes. Although not much common, when both the kidneys are damaged and left untreated, it can lead to severe eye complications.
7. Rheumatoid Arthritis Increases the Risks of Infection
Individuals withrheumatoid arthritis are twice more likely to contract a urinary tract infection than their counterparts, and are often rushed to the emergency room in severe cases. One plausible explanation is that that the use of oral steroids, employed for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, may aggravate a UTI or even lead to recurring infections.
8. Cranberry is the Best Remedy
Since time immemorial, cranberry has been employed in traditional medicine for the treatment of UTIs and their prevention. Multiple studies have revealed that cranberry supplements are twice as effective as antibiotics, minus the side effects. One placebo controlled group study found evidence that over a 6 months period, women who consumed cranberries regularly did not complain about a recurrence of UTI. Cranberries, containing a loaded concentration of anti-oxidants, especially proanthocyanidins, are a great defense against UTI’s. However, it is not prudent to consume packaged cranberry juice, as it is loaded with sugar which can aggravate UTI further. Concentrated cranberry supplements provide the best defense against UTI.
9. Probiotics Yes, Antibiotics No
After proving the inadequacy of antibiotics, studies now focus on probiotics as an effective means to addressing a UTI. Lactobacillus probiotic strains in particular, show the highest potential. A study proved that women who consumed this strain showed significant improvements. This probiotic bacterium also thwarts the development of UTI causing organisms, lowers acidity levels in the urinary tract, and stimulates the immune function.