UTI is a common public health problem caused by a range of pathogens. An estimated 150 million global cases occur per year with women being more prone to suffer from a certain type of urinary infection than men at least once in their lifetime. Anatomy, hygiene and a number of 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 enters the urethra, makes its way up and grows to start an infection in the bladder, urethra, ureters and kidneys. Kidney infections are serious when left untreated, a doctor’s visit should be done early so that proper treatment is provided.
How Does the Urinary Tract Work?
To better understand where and how UTIs happen, here’s a quick overview of the urine production and elimination process.
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 and the one way flow of urine is designed to prevent infections and deliver urine normally containing only salts and waste products but without bacteria. Urine or colloquially known as pee is a good environment for bacteria to grow.
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 which may increase the risk of a UTI.
Who Is At Risk of UTI?
Adult women and men can get UTIs however, it is more prevalent for the former between two. Young children and infants can also have UTIs too.
The peak incidence is between the ages of 1 and 3 years. Children under the age of 1 year have the highest rate of hospitalization for UTIs. The rate then decreases in older children and increases again in adults over the age of 65 years.
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 the age of 50. In women over the age of 65, the incidence of UTI is 5 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 of several parts of the urinary tract but the usual types are these three.
Cystitis is the most common type of 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 pneumonia, 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. Dehydration is a condition that can be caused by a variety of 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 constipation, kidney stones and heatstroke.
Dehydration can lead to an increased risk of UTI for a few different 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 spot 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 in order 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 that are 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 to sit down and give reassurance that it’s going to 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. To further bring the body temperature down, place ice packs around the neck, armpits or groin area.
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 the body hydrated every day is the best way to prevent not only UTIs but also other diseases. First aiders at the workplace or in the community are able to provide first aid 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 courses, let us know and we’ll be happy to respond and assist you.