UTI or urinary tract infection is more common in women than in men, because the female urinary tract is more easily exposed to bacteria than the male urinary tract.
This susceptibility is compounded with other factors increasing the risks of UTI during pregnancy.
The urinary tract includes the urethra, bladder, ureter and the kidneys. Bacteria generally cause the infection.
It usually affects the bladder and the urethra but in extreme cases, the infection may reach the ureter and the kidneys causing plenty of trouble. Bacteria are not found in urine, but in females, it is very easy for the bacteria to reach the urinary tract.
Bacteria and UTI
Bacteria are present in stools, and can be transferred to the urethra when one wipes from back to front after bowel movements.
Once inside they multiply causing infections. In women, bacterial transfer may also happen during sexual intercourse if bacteria around the vagina get pushed in to the urethra.
To avoid such conditions always wipe from front to back after bowel movements. Keep the genital area clean and make it a habit to urinate before and after intercourse. Also, drink a lot of water throughout the day.
Risks and manifestation
The risk of contracting UTI when pregnant is higher. The enlarged uterus presses on to the ureters (tubes from kidney to bladder) making it difficult for the urine to flow quickly. The hormones too dilate the tubes reducing the urine path further. The bladder does not empty completely and develops a reflux action causing the urine to flow back thus exposing the bladder to bacteria.
Since the urine takes much longer to pass, it makes it impossible to naturally flush out the bacteria giving them a chance to multiply, cause infections and even take a trip to the kidneys.
UTI is characterized with frequent need to pee, pain and burning sensation when peeing. It needs immediate attention and you need to contact your caregiver immediately to help you treat it before it spreads to the kidneys.