Urinary Health

Urinary tract related problems are a common occurrence these days. Bacteria buildup in this area can result in infections such as Urinary Tract Infection or UTI. There are also a host of other urinary associated issues like incontinence which is an inability to control the bladder erc. Here we discuss some of the problems associated with the urinary tract.

Function of the Urinary System: As we eat, toxins and other potentially harmful substances are still able to make their way into the body. The human body has a natural defense system that helps eliminate these toxins and maintain the normal functions of all the organs and the systems. Also, as we metabolize, or break down larger substances into smaller and more absorbable molecules, our cells and tissues also produce waste products. These waste molecules travel down the bloodstream and into specific organs that filter the blood and prepare the body to excrete the waste materials.

Some of the organs that comprise the urinary system are the kidneys, ducts, urinary bladder, and other accessory organs. As mentioned before, the cells produce waste materials as by-products of their metabolic processes. Nitrogen-containing substances are some of these waste products, which the body cannot use, and should be eliminated from the body. The kidneys serve as filters that clear these nitrogenous wastes from the blood and prepare them for excretion in the form of urine. Urine is then collected in the urinary bladder, and when it is full, the person feels the need to urinate.

What is the urinary tract?

The urinary tract is essentially comprised of the organs that manufacture urine and the tubes that expel it from the body. Thus, the urinary tract encompasses the kidneys, bladder and the tubes which carry the urine out of the body. In some situations bacteria can enter this tract thereby leading to an infection.

What is Urinary Tract Infection?

Urinary Tract Infection also abbreviated as UTI happens when germs and bacteria (pathogen) enter the area through the openings in the genitals such as the urethra. These germs as well as bacteria predominantly reside in the large intestine and can be found in our feces. If these germs enter the urethra into the urinary tract then it can lead into an infection.

Common symptoms and treatment

UTI comes with its own specific symptoms such as;

  • Painful urination

  • the frequent urge to urinate

  • tenderness in the belly region

  • cloudy or smelly urine

  • fever and shivering

  • pain under the ribs on one side

  • abnormal pus like discharge from the urethra etc.

Usually, it is advised to contact the doctor immediately as it can become a serious problem. Antibiotics are usually prescribed to treat the condition effectively

Women more prone than men

Women tend to have a shorter length of the urethra as compared to men which is why it becomes much easier for the bacteria to enter into the tract. Sexual intercourse can also trigger the entrance of germs into the urinary tract. Sometimes, inadequate intake of water and fluids can also trigger the infection just as diabetes or pregnancy can. In situations where you have kidney stones or for men having prostate gland enlargement there could be a blockage that restricts the flow of urine. In such cases too an infection can take place.

What is Incontinence

Incontinence is a loss of the bladder’s ability to control expulsion of urine. Sudden contractions of the bladder or not contracting when the bladder ideally should can trigger urine expulsion randomly. Muscles surrounding the area of urethra could either be damaged or if there is a blockage in this region then too incontinence could happen. Women are twice more prone to incontinence as compared to men.

Types of incontinence

There are primarily 4 types of incontinence namely stress, urge, overflow and total incontinence. In the case of stress incontinence any action like laughing, sneezing, lifting up objects or coughing can trigger urine leakage. In urge incontinence the urge of urination is too strong to be able to withhold it to the toilet which is why leakage happens. In overflow incontinence weak muscular contractions or blockages can result in overflow of urine. In total incontinence the sphincter muscles fail to function leading to continuous leakage of the urine.

Polyuria & Oliguria

There are situations in which a person is prescribed some drugs called diuretics that help increase the production of urine. This is helpful for patients with heart disease, hypertension, or edema, so the volume of blood or excessive fluid in the body can be decreased. Diuretics are also sometimes used by persons who want to lose weight, or who often feel bloated because of water and salt retention. However, if urine is produced in excessive amounts, and the person feels he needs to urinate more frequently than normal, the condition is called polyuria.

Oliguria refers to the condition in which there is insufficient urine output. This can be potentially harmful because excess salts and nitrogenous wastes remain in the body longer than they should. This can be remedied if a person takes diuretics, or drinks more copious amounts of water along with the proper diet. In complementary and alternative health practices, there are certain herbs that act as diuretics, which are often included in meals or drunk as tea infusions.

More women are prone to UTI rather than men. This can also be acquired through sexual contact with an infected person.

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