Food & NutritionHealth

Know If Dehydration Causes UTI and How You Can Prevent It

Different factors lead to UTI. Dehydration might be one of them.

UTI stands for Urinary Tract Infection, usually caused by bacteria. It is a prevalent disorder, which affects both men and women. However, women are more prone to this because the body of a female is designed in such a way that they carry a shorter urethra than that of a male. This makes it effortless for bacteria to intrude and affect the bladder of females. More than half of the women will have experienced UTIs at least once in their life.

Any part such as the kidneys, ureters, urethra, and bladder of the urinary system can get affected by this but usually, the bladder and urethra are the common sites to get affected by this. Bladder and Urethra UTI are also known as Cystitis and urethritis respectively. UTI of the kidneys is known as Pyelonephritis.

1. Classification: UTI

white and red heart shaped decor
By Vitkor Forgacs / unsplash copyrights 2020

Any part of the urinary system can get inflamed and induce UTIs. Some of the common types are:

  1. Infection of the Bladder: It is known by the name Cystitis. It affects the bladder of the urinary tract. It is illustrated by the urgency to pee and the feeling of a burning sensation while urinating.
  2. Infection of the Urethra: It is known as Urethritis. It usually impacts the urethra part, the tube that passes urine. It is driven by bacteria like E. Coli and is characterized by aches while passing urine, blood in urine, and a burning sensation.
  3. Infection of the Kidneys: It is known as Pyelonephritis. It is a serious type of UTI. It is induced by bacteria like E. coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and more. It includes symptoms like vomiting, fever, chills, and aches in the lower back.

2. Causes of UTI

Microorganisms like bacteria are the main cause of UTIs. Sometimes yeast and fungi (infrequently) also lead to UTI. Escherichia coli (E. coli), a bacterium, is the primary contributing reason for the UTI. This bacteria lives in the bowel and enters the urinary tract through the conduit that passes urine out of the human body.

Bacteria originally enter through the urethra and infect the bladder later on. Then, they move to the ureters and might contaminate the kidneys later on. Infection of kidneys. It becomes serious if left untreated.

Regardless, all bacteria present in the bladder do not accomplish UTI. Some of the bacteria present there are good for keeping it fit and healthy. 

3. Threats

public washrooms
By Amit Lahav / unsplash copyrights 2020

Several reasons play an important role in driving UTIs. A list of them is below:

  1. Dehydration is a lack of water. 
  2. Sexual movements like not peeing after sex or having a lot of sex.
  3. Certain birth control methods also increase the threat. Spermicides is one of them as it might destroy good bacteria and allow bad bacteria to overspread. 
  4. Using unlubricated condoms. This leads to irritation in the vagina and makes the condition favorable for bacteria to invade and grow.
  5. Suffering from Diabetes is also a risk factor as it weakens the defense mechanism of the body.
  6. Consuming a lot of sugar.
  7. Holding pee for a long period.
  8. Pregnancy may cause UTIs as it makes the body go through some hormonal changes.
  9. Previous history of having UTI.
  10. Poor hygiene is also a risk factor. 

4. What is Dehydration? Can Dehydration Cause UTI?

can dehydration cause UTI?
By Nigel Msipa / unsplash copyrights 2020

Dehydration is a condition in which there is a deficiency of water and fluids in the body. It happens when the body is not getting enough water in the replacement of water that it is losing. Multiple causes result in a dehydrated body including exercise, heat vulnerability, and not drinking enough water. 

When our body is dehydrated it cannot process properly and is unable to fight against the pathogens.

Dehydration makes bacteria grow easily as it reduces the immunity of the body. Consuming less water and not peeing less allows one to keep up the concentrated urine in the bladder for a longer time and eventually leads to cultivating bacteria there. This causes UTIs

Also drinking plenty of water leads to frequent urination which allows bacteria to flush out of the body. So, dehydration is not the main cause of UTI but hydration helps the body cope with the infection and decrease the risk of getting infected. For people who already are suffering from UTI, dehydration worsens the discomfort felt.

Indications that your body gives when it is dehydrated:

  1. Drying of mouth.
  2. Dizziness 
  3. Cloudy, stinky, and concentrated urine.
  4. Less urination than often.
  5. Constipation
  6. Dry skin
  7. Exhaustion and headache. 
  8. Low blood pressure  

Note: Those sick and suffering from ailments like fever, diarrhea, vomiting, and so on are more prone to dehydration. Also, athletes and people who get more exposure to the Sun are at stake of dehydration. So, it is advisable to take special care to keep themselves hydrated.

5. How to Stay Hydrated?

Being hydrated is quite important to keep a person healthy and avoid infections like UTIs. So, you just have to follow some little steps to keep yourself hydrated. A few helpful tips are here:

  1. Sip about 4 liters of water every day.
  2. Eat more fruits and vegetables such as watermelon, cucumber, and so on.
  3. Have a glass of water before and after an hour of every meal.
  4. Always watch out for the color of urine. If the color is more yellowish, be alert.
  5. Increase your fluid intake while doing exercise.
  6. Must carry a bottle of water while going out (especially in summer).
  7. Oral rehydration solutions (ORS) are also worthwhile for quick hydration.

6. Symptoms of UTI

Urine culture
By CDC/unsplash copyrights 2021

Symptoms of UTI comprise:

  1. Frequent urge to pee, that too a false one. Remember, your bladder is not full. You are just unable to pass urine or can pass it in droplets.
  2. Painful urination is another vital sign of UTI.
  3. Burning sensation while urination.
  4. Droplets of blood can be traced in the urine.
  5. Cloudy and stinky urine.
  6. Pain in the bladder, sides, lower and upper back.
  7. Pain in the pelvis can be experienced.
  8. Sickness
  9. Pain during sexual interaction.
  10. Sometimes fever can also be experienced.

7. Treatment of UTI

7.1. Oral Medication 

In most of the cases of UTI, oral medication works. Usually, doctors prescribe some antibiotics to kill bacteria that induce the infection. Antibiotics can help in speedy recovery and provide ease from the pain and distress caused by the disease. AZO is also found to be helpful for some people who are suffering from UTI. Oral solutions and vitamin C supplements are also used in this case. Cranberries are very advantageous for UTIs. You can quickly get the supplements from the nearby medical stores. So, consume and continue the medicines as prescribed by the doctor.

Caution: Use antibiotics as doctor’s prescription only. Antibiotics kill the bacteria accountable for the infections. However, sometimes antibiotics also kill the useful bacteria along with the harmful ones. Many instances of side effects of antibiotics are also found such as vomiting, nausea, and stomach pain. So, take it only when needed or at the doctor’s prescription.

7.2. Home Remedies 

Cranberry juice and lemon
By Rirri/unsplash copyrights 2020

Home remedies are also found to be profitable in many cases and are usually available at home. Here is a handful list of some home remedies for UTIs:

  1. Increase the intake of water. The more you drink water the more beneficial it is in this case.
  2. Drink cranberry juices. Avoid sugary drinks.
  3. Vitamin C helps to strengthen the immune system and lowers the urine’s pH, making it an unfavorable condition for bacteria to grow and survive. So, increase the intake of vitamin C like lemon and oranges.
  4. Consume more probiotics. It will promote immunity and improve digestion. It will promote good bacteria in the urogenital system and might help to improve the worsened condition caused by UTI. Yogurt, curd, cheese, and kimchi are found to be good sources of probiotics. 

7.3. Self-Care

Like the treatment of any other disease, the treatment of UTI is also a combination of medication, home treatment, and self-care. When it comes to UTI treatment, maintaining personal hygiene comes first. Expansion of water and fluid intake is mandatory. Have a healthy diet. 

8. Prevention 

Here are some preventive measures to take to avoid UTIs:

  1. Promote water and fluid intake. Stay hydrated. Evade dehydration.  
  2. Urinate after every sexual intercourse.
  3. Follow the front-to-back wiping rule after urinating.
  4. Avoid the use of public toilets and washrooms.
  5. Don’t hold pee for longer. Often vacant your bladder.
  6. Take vitamin C and cranberry supplements.
  7.  Have a healthy diet and add leafy vegetables to your diet.
  8. Douching should be minimized as it disturbs the pH of the genital area.
  9. Avoid excess usage of sprays and powders in the private part.
  10. Increase the consumption of probiotics.

9. Final Words: Can Dehydration Cause UTI?

UTI is a disorder that is usually generated by bacteria in the urinary system. In this, the bacteria present in the poop infect the genital organs of both males and females. This leads to pain and stinging sensation while passing urine. Patients suffering from UTI are unable to pass urine properly and feel great discomfort.

Dehydration plays an important role in UTIs as it worsens the suffering. One should keep their body hydrated to recover fast and avoid the recurrence of UTIs. It is suggested to see a urologist if symptoms occur. A proper cure along with a home remedy is required to overcome the situation. There is no need to panic as UTI is treatable and can be prevented if precautions are taken.

Aradhana is a voracious reader who is pursuing a Masters in Zoology. She has a researcher's spirit and loves to explore new domains of knowledge and learning. She has a knack for content writing especially in the areas of fitness, health, and…

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