A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection in any part of your urinary system — this could be your kidneys, ureters, bladder and/or urethra. Most infections involve the lower urinary tract — the bladder and the urethra.
A UTI can occur when harmful microscopic organisms enter your urinary tract. Although these organisms can include fungi and viruses, most UTIs are caused by bacteria.
Symptoms of infection:
A burning feeling while urinating
Needing to urinate suddenly or more frequently
Urine may have a strong smell, be of a yellow colour and appear cloudy
Pain in your lower stomach
Feeling tired or generally unwell
In older people, (especially those with dementia) changes in behaviour such as severe confusion or agitation
Sudden and unexplained changes in behaviour are often caused by urinary tract infections in people also diagnosed with dementia, this is also known as delirium.
When treated with the correct antibiotics, UTIs tend to pass quickly and cause no further problems - complications are uncommon.
Preventing a UTI is just as important as dealing with all the unwanted symptoms and having to medicate with antibiotics, and your diet can play a key role in doing so. Staying healthy and eating a balanced diet will help to keep your body working to its full potential, this will mean you have a better chance at fighting any infection that may occur. The foods you eat also effect your urine pH, which influences how you contract infections. The higher the levels of pH in your bladder – the higher the chances of developing a UTI are. The pH is the measurement of how acidic or alkaline a person's urine is. Doctors will often ask a person visiting with symptoms of a UTI about their daily diet and the food they eat.
Foods to avoid:
Citrus fruits like lemons, and other acidic foods
It is important that you stay well hydrated, especially for someone suffering with a UTI. Not only does being hydrated keep your body strong and healthy it can also have a positive affect on our mood and mental wellbeing.
Tips to manage symptoms of a UTI:
Visit your GP which can lead to a course of antibiotics
Drink 6-8 glasses of water per day - this helps your body to flush out the bacteria
Take paracetamol if you can
Use a hot water bottle to ease pain by placing on lower back, stomach or between the top of the thighs
Drink cranberry juice
Try to fully empty your bladder when urinating
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