Diabetes and Urinary Tract Infections

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diabetes alertUrinary tract infections (UTI) affect millions of people world over. They are bacterial infections and can cause serious problems if left untreated. It can pose some serious problems to people suffering from diabetes too. But is there a relation between diabetes and urinary tract infections? UTI can affect anyone and diabetics are included too.

A UTI is an infection in the urinary tract. It can occur anywhere in the kidneys, the bladder, the ureters or in the urethra. Diabetes is caused due to uncontrolled blood sugar levels and the presence of sugar in the urine of diabetes patients can encourage the growth of bacteria.

What are the common symptoms of urinary tract infections?

UTIs are of two types. They are:

  • Lower urinary tract infection (affects the urethra and bladder)
  • Upper urinary tract infection (affects the ureters and kidneys)

Lower UTI symptoms are:

  • Pain when passing urine
  • Persistent urge to urinate
  • Cloudy urine
  • Bad smelling urine
  • Abdominal pain
  • Back pain
  • Presence of blood in urine

Upper UTI symptoms are:

  • High fever
  • Continuous shivering
  • Diarrhoea
  • Vomiting
  • Back ache
  • Pain on one side of your body
Are urinary tract infections serious?

People having diabetes and urinary tract infections need to be extra cautious in treating these conditions. UTIs can turn serious if neglected. Upper UTIs are more serious when compared to lower UTIs. If the infection spreads to the kidneys, the condition can become serious and hospitalization may become necessary.

Lower UTIs affect the bladder along with the pipe that connects it to the vagina or penis. Though they are less serious, they must be treated at the earliest to stop the infection from spreading to the ureters.

What is the treatment?

Treatment for urinary tract infections may include the usage of antibiotics and painkillers. Lower UTIs can be effectively treated by antibiotics. Painkillers are also prescribed by doctors to reduce back pain or stomach pain caused by the infection.

Upper UTI treatment may depend on the seriousness of the infection. It can be treated at home if the infection is mild by using antibiotics for a longer duration. In serious cases, hospitalization is required. Certain painkillers like Ibuprofen are not recommended as they may damage the kidneys.

What are the causes of UTIs?

UTIs can be caused due to various factors like:

  • Infection as a result of sexual intercourse
  • Using a condom containing spermicide while having sex
  • Kidney stones
  • Weak immune system (due to diabetes)
  • Enlarged prostrate in men
  • Spread of bacteria from anus to the vagina caused by wiping the bum
Are UTIs common?

Women are more prone to be affected by UTIs when compared to men. People having diabetes can develop urinary tract infections and both diabetic men and women have an increased risk of developing a urinary infection.

What can you do to prevent UTIs?

If you are suffering from diabetes and urinary tract infections, you can follow the methods mentioned below to lower the risk of complications.

  • Drink adequate water
  • Keep your blood glucose levels under control
  • Drink cranberry juice (in moderation)
  • Wash your genitals regularly
  • Wash your genitals before and after any sexual activity
  • Wipe your bum from the front to back

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