Urinary Tract Infections or UTIs, also called bladder infections or cystitis, are a common health problem for women, young girls and some infant boys.
Early symptoms may include burning or pain during urination and itching or pain in the urethra. There may be discomfort in the lower abdomen and a frequent urge to urinate without being able to pass much urine. Because women have shorter urethras, they are much more susceptible to the infection than men.
Other causes of irritation to the genital area than may be associated with bladder infection include intercourse, diaphragms, wearing tight jeans or pants, bike riding, infrequent urination, perfumed soaps and powders, and even spicy food.
- Drink more fluids, water is best;
- Urinate frequently;
- Women should wipe from front to back after going to the toilet, in order 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 deodorant or perfumed feminine hygiene products;
- Wash the genital area once a day with plain water or mild soap. Rinse well and dry thoroughly;
- Wear cotton underwear, cotton-lined pantyhose, and loose clothing;
- Drinking cranberry or blueberry juice may protect against infection, especially in postmenopausal women.
Apply home care at the first sign of irritation or painful urination. However, if your symptoms last longer than a day or worsen despite home care, see your doctor.
- Drink as much water as you can;
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine;
- A hot bath may help relieve pain and itching. Avoid using bubble bath;
- Fever may indicate that a more serious infection is present;
- Avoid intercourse until symptoms improve;
- If vaginal burning and redness occur in a young girl, consider the possibility of an allergy to bubble bath or soap.
When to See a Doctor
- If painful urination occurs with any of the following symptoms:
- A fever over 101˚ and chills;
- Inability to urinate when you feel the urge;
- Lower back pain just below rib cage;
- Blood or pus in the urine;
- Unusual vaginal discharge;
- Nausea and vomiting.
- If the symptoms do not improve after 24 hours of home treatment;
- If you are pregnant or have diabetes;
- If you suspect a child has a urinary tract infection.