UTI is a common public health problem caused by a range of pathogens. An estimated 150 million global cases occur annually, with women being more prone to suffer from a particular type of urinary infection than men at least once in their lifetime. Anatomy, hygiene, and some factors can play a significant role in the development of an infection. Dehydration, for one, has been identified to increase the likelihood of getting a UTI.
What is UTI?
Urinary tract infection or UTI is commonly caused by bacteria in any part of the urinary system. The bacteria often comes from the skin or rectum that enters the urethra, makes it’s way up, and grows to start an infection in the:
Kidney infections are serious when left untreated. A doctor’s visit should be done early to provide proper treatment.
How Does the Urinary Tract Work?
Here’s a quick overview of the urine production and elimination process to better understand where and how UTI happens.
The urinary tract is a system that produces, stores, and eliminates urine. Urine is produced by the kidneys, stored in the bladder, and eliminated through the urethra. The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs that filter waste from the blood to preserve chemical equilibrium in the body and produce urine. The urine flows from the kidneys through the ureters to the bladder, a sac that stores urine until it is eliminated through the urethra. The urethra is a tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body. The one-way flow of urine is designed to prevent infections and deliver urine usually containing only salts and waste products but without bacteria. Urine, colloquially known as pee, is a suitable environment for growing bacteria.
There are several ways the bacteria can get into the urethra, such as wiping from back to front after urination or defecation for women, or sexual intercourse and use of contraceptives for both men and women increase the risk of a UTI.
Who is At Risk of UTI?
Adult women and men can get UTI. However, it is more prevalent for the former between the two. Young children and infants can have UTIs too.
UTI in Children
The peak incidence is between the ages of 1 and 3 years. Children under the age of 1 year have the highest hospitalization rate for UTI. The rate then decreases in older children and increases again in adults over 65.
Women vs. Men Infections
UTIs are more common in young women, with the highest rates occurring in women aged 20-24 years, yet the incidence of UTIs increases with age in both sexes. In men, the incidence of UTI doubles every 10 years after age 50. In women over the age of 65, the incidence of UTI is five times higher than in men of the same age.
Symptoms of a Urinary Tract Infection
UTI cases don’t usually present signs and symptoms, but when they manifest, SA Health enumerated the following:
- Stinging or burning sensation when passing urine
- Much more frequent passing of urine than usual
- Constant urge to urinate but passing only drops or unable to do so
- Feeling the bladder is still full even after urination
- Wetting or incontinence – passing some urine before reaching the toilet
Symptoms may look a little different in kids as compared to grown-ups. They may experience a couple or all of the following:
- Unexplained irritability
- Not willing to eat or less food intake
- Cloudy or foul-smelling urine
Three Major Types of UTIs
Infections can affect any or several parts of the urinary tract, but the usual types are:
Cystitis is the most common UTI, accounting for around 80% of all infections. It usually affects the bladder and is characterised by a burning sensation when urinating, cloudy or bloody urine, and a feeling of urgency to urinate.
Urethritis is an infection of the urethra, the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body. It is usually caused by bacteria such as Escherichia coli (E. coli), Chlamydia, or gonorrhoea. Symptoms include pain when urinating, cloudy or bloody urine, and a burning sensation in the urethra.
Pyelonephritis is a more serious type of UTI that affects the kidneys. It is usually caused by bacteria such as E. coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, or Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Symptoms include fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, and pain in the lower back.
Now, What is Dehydration, and How Does It Cause UTI?
Dehydration is a lack of fluids in the body. It is a condition that can be caused by various factors, including heat exposure, strenuous physical activity, and not consuming enough fluids. It occurs when the body loses more fluids than it takes in. When dehydration occurs, the body cannot function properly and may be unable to fight off infection.
While dehydration can occur at any age, dehydration is a particular concern for older Australians. This is because dehydration can cause UTIs, which are more common in older people. Dehydration can also cause other health problems, such as:
- kidney stones
Dehydration can lead to an increased risk of UTI for several reasons.
First, dehydration causes your body to produce less urine. When you don’t urinate as often, bacteria have more time to grow in your urinary tract.
A more acidic environment
Second, dehydration can make your urine more concentrated and acidic. This environment is ideal for bacteria to thrive.
Finally, dehydration can lead to a decrease in the production of substances that fight infection. This makes it easier for bacteria to cause an infection.
How to Tell if Someone is Dehydrated?
In mild to moderate cases, the common signs are:
- Extreme thirst
- Dry mouth or dry skin
- Decreased urination
- Increased body temperature
- Muscle and heat cramps
- Fatigue and lightheadedness
- Low blood pressure
- High heart rate
If the condition progresses, signs of severe dehydration include:
- No urination for several hours or urine is very dark
- Confusion and irritability
- Sunken eyes
- Fainting or unconsciousness
- Fever and chills
- In infants and young children, sunken soft spots on top of the head
When your body doesn’t have enough fluids, it becomes unable to flush bacteria from your urinary tract. The different symptoms of dehydration that can lead to UTI are:
- Dark urine
- Nausea and vomiting
- Muscle aches
Always Keep the Body Hydrated
It is important to be well-hydrated to prevent dehydration which can put the body at risk for infections and complications. There are many ways to do this on a daily.
- Drink plenty of fluids, especially water, throughout the day.
- Avoid diuretics such as caffeine and alcohol.
- Eat foods high in water content, e.g., fruits and vegetables.
- Take breaks to cool down and drink fluids during periods of physical activity.
- Check for dehydration symptoms regularly, such as thirst, dry mouth, fatigue, or dark urine.
First Aid for Dehydration in Adelaide
In severe cases of dehydration which is already a medical emergency, carefully assess the signs and symptoms of your coworker, family member, or the person affected to know what first aid practices are needed. We’ve listed some helpful measures to stabilise the patient during or after calling the local Adelaide emergency hotline.
Remain Calm and Offer Reassurance
The patient can become panicky when experiencing symptoms. Assist the person in sitting down and give reassurance that it will be okay and that medical help is on its way.
Fluids in the body are replenished. With an oral rehydration solution, give small sips to the patient. If there is no solution readily available, offer water. Note that juice or soda can worsen the situation.
Lower the Body Temperature
In hot weather or environments, remove the patient’s excess articles of clothing or loosen clothing to promote heat loss. Place ice packs around the neck, armpits, or groin area to further bring the body temperature down.
Monitor Vital Signs
First aid training courses in Adelaide teach staff in businesses how to check a person’s respiration rate, heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, and so on in emergency scenarios like severe dehydration. This information is then relayed to the emergency responders when they arrive.
Dehydration increases the risk of getting a urinary tract infection. Keeping a hydrated body daily is the best way to prevent UTIs and other diseases. First aiders at the workplace or in the community can provide information and first aid services in severe cases.
Where to Get First Aid Certified in Adelaide
Accredited and compliant first aid courses are offered at CPR First Aid Adelaide CBD, a leading and nationally recognised training provider across Australia. If you have any queries about our high-quality and dynamic CPR training at Level 1/174 Gilles St, Adelaide 5000, let us know, and we’ll be happy to respond and assist you.