It’s like peeing razor blades. Every five minutes. And getting a few drops every single time. You know what I’m talking about. There are plenty of reasons why it’s painful to be a woman, but if you have ever had a urinary tract infection, you know that the pain is real.
I have friends whose partners have said unthinkable things when a UTI rears its ugly head. Things like, “honey, you’ve been through childbirth, this can’t be that bad.” Can’t be that bad?
Let me tell you (and your misunderstanding partners) it can be that bad. Anyone who has had one, or who deals with UTIs regularly would agree: it is that bad.
Do I have a UTI?
A urinary tract infection (UTI) is caused by bacteria in your kidneys, uterus, bladder, and/or urethra, but most commonly in the bladder and urethra.
While men can get UTIs, women are more susceptible due to the basic physical anatomy of their lady parts. As a result, almost one of every two women will get a UTI in her lifetime compared to about 12 percent of men.
As mentioned above, if you’ve had the symptoms once, chances are you’ll know what’s happening the second time around. But if you haven’t, there are lots of signs to watch for, including a strong, persistent need to urinate and painful burning sensation when you do pass even the smallest amounts of urine.
Other signs include cloudy, strong-smelling urine, or urine that appears red, bright pink, or brownish, all of which indicating the possibility of blood in your urine. There may also be pelvic pain.
When should I see a doctor?
As with anything, always contact your OB-GYN when something seems off down under. However, in the case of UTIs it’s particularly important to act quickly to kill the infection before it spreads to your kidneys.
Kidney infections are incredibly painful and can lead to other health complications, so it’s best to seek treatment immediately if you think you may have an infection.
How are UTIs treated?
Since UTIs are normally caused by bacteria, antibiotics are a common treatment option. As with any infection, it is imperative to complete the full course of antibiotics, even after symptoms start to ease up.
The good news is there are lots of ways to prevent UTIs from occurring, including drinking more water on a regular basis than you think necessary. Many doctors suggest drinking at least half your body weight in ounces of water each day, and even more than that if you’re moderately active. Water intake like that helps with a number of health factors, but also flushes your system, helping to prevent infection.
Most uncomplicated UTIs clear up within 2 or 3 days of treatment, while some may take more like 14 days.
Clinical trials have found that taking cranberry supplements regularly also helps reduce your risk of UTIs, as they contain chemical compounds that prevent bacteria from building up on the digestive and urinary tracts.
What can I do to prevent UTIs?
Medical News Today offers a helpful list of more ways you can prevent UTIs, including these insights I found most important:
- Urinate shortly after sex.
- Wipe from front to back after urinating and bowel movement.
- Keep the genital area clean
- Showers are preferred to baths and avoid using oils.
- Avoid using any perfumed products in the genital area.
- Wear cotton underwear and loose-fitting clothing to keep the area around the urethra dry.
I would (and do!) any and all of the above to keep from dealing with that frequent trip to the bathroom only to pee straight up razor blades and get close to zero results. Wouldn’t you?
UTIs are not a time to power through the pain. You owe it to yourself, your suffering organs, and your overall sexual health to seek treatment quickly and, in doing so, prevent further pain and suffering.
In the meantime, you know where to find me. I’m always here and happy to help answer any and all of your sexual health questions!