Urinary Tract 101: It’s More Than Just Your Bladder.
The Urinary Tract is a complex drainage system that works to filter and carry urine to your bladder.
For healthy urination to occur, all body parts in the urinary tract need to work together in the proper order. The urinary tract includes:
• two kidneys: the organ that filters blood to remove waste and balance fluids
• two ureters: the tubes that carry the urine to your bladder from the kidney
• a bladder: where urine is stored, and
• a urethra: where urine come out of when our bodies urinate
What is a UTI (Urinary Tract Infection)?
Symptoms of a UTI also known as a bladder infection, can include:
- A burning feeling when you urinate
- The urge to urinate frequently
- A low-grade fever
- Pain in the bladder
- Blood in the urine
Women get UTIs up to 30 times more often than men do, due to the female urethra being shorter, making it easier for bacteria to travel to the bladder.
4 in 10 women who get a UTI will get at least one more within six months.
But UTI’s only impact women, right? Nope!
Most infections in women are caused by bacteria (E.coli) from the bowel that reach the urethra and bladder. For men, most are caused by problems that restrict normal urine flow, like an enlarged prostate.
Types of UTIs
There are more than 1 type of UTIs: one-off and embedded or recurring UTIs.
One-off infections come when bacteria is introduced, and go when a proper course of antibiotics kill off the bacteria.
For embedded UTIs, once bacteria is introduced to the bladder, they sometimes create a biofilm and can remain nested in the urinary tract, later leading to a ‘relapse infection’ — a UTI caused by old bacteria, left over from a previous infection—even after taking antibiotics. This can be very frustrating and there is much more research needed on biofilm and it’s role in the bladder.
How to Prevent and Treat UTI’s
For men and women alike, there are methods and lifestyle habits that can help to prevent UTIs, and certain medications to take if they do occur to help manage symptoms and rid your body of the infection.
- Peeing immediately after sex, every 👏 single 👏 time!
- Good hygiene, showering before sex (or after)
- Wiping front to back (in women)
- Staying hydrated, at least 64 oz of water daily
- Limit bladder irritants like caffeine or alcohol, and if consumed, following these beverages with a glass of water to dilute them.
- UTI prevention vitamins such as cranberry, d mannose, and probiotics. There is a line of UTI supplements our team personally loves from a brand called Uquora.
- Using a bidet to eliminate leftover E.coli from the rectum
- Wear cotton underwear and limit the use of tight fitting pants (especially when exercising)
Contrary to popular belief, UTIs do not go away on their own.
Untreated UTIs can cause kidney infections, which can be fatal. Please see a doctor if you think you have an infection to receive antibiotics ASAP.