Urinary tract infections (UTIs), also called bladder infections or cystitis, are a common health problem for women, young girls, and some infant boys. They may also occur in men.
Early symptoms may include burning or pain during urination, and itching or pain in the urethra (the tube that carries urine from the bladder). There may be discomfort in the lower abdomen and a frequent urge to urinate without being able to pass much urine. Men with these symptoms may have an infection of the prostate gland.
Urinary infections are generally caused by E.coli bacteria, which are normally present in the digestive system. Since women have shorter urethras, they are much more susceptible to the infection than men. Other causes of irritation to the genital area that may be associated with bladder infection include intercourse, diaphragms, wearing tight jeans or pants, bike riding, infrequent urination, perfumed soaps and powders, even spicy food.
- Drink more fluids, water is best.
- Urinate frequently.
- Women should wipe from front to back after going to the toilet to reduce the spread of bacteria from the anus to the urethra. Teach young girls this habit during toilet training.
- Avoid frequent douching, and do not use vaginal deodorants or perfumed feminine hygiene products.
- Wash the genital area once a day with plain water or mild soap. Rinse well and dry thoroughly.
- If you are susceptible to urinary infections, drink extra water before intercourse and urinate promptly afterwards. Wear cotton underwear, cotton–lined pantyhose, and loose clothing.
- Drinking cranberry or blueberry juice may protect against infection, especially in postmenopausal women.