Diabetes affects every aspect of our lives so it is not surprise that diabetics have sexual concerns that non-diabetics may not. One of those sexual concerns is a urinary tract infection (UTI). Diabetic women are at a greater risk for UTIs and vaginal yeast infections, which in turn may lead to painful sex. Men can also get UTIs, although it is less common.
UTIs are commonly caused by Escherichia coli. A UTI is an infection that occurs anywhere along the urinary tract. If the UTI occurs in the bladder or kidneys, it may be referred to as a bladder infection or a kidney infection. Normally your body can rid itself of these bacteria without issue.
A new study by British scientists reveals that motile Escherichia coli isolates demonstrated significant activation of NF-κB signaling suggesting that flagellin plays a key role in up-regulating the host innate defences against urinary tract infections (UTIs), according to the European Association of Urology.
"Research into the causes and treatment of urinary tract infection (UTI) is vital at this time as the incidence of UTI and bacteriuria are increasing with an aging population," commented Mr. Ased Ali of Newcastle University's Institute of Cellular Medicine and the study's presenting author.
"There is rapidly growing resistance exhibited by organisms, especially E. coli, to conventional antimicrobials which makes infections potentially more and more difficult to treat," he explained. "This is confounded by the fact that there have been no new classes of antibiotics to treat Gram-negative bacilli like E. coli for more than 40 years. It is amazing that the fluoroquinolones were the last new class of antibiotics to treat Gram-negative bacilli! Our ultimate aim is to develop agents that enhance the immune response and help the body defend itself better as an alternative to conventional antibiotics which work against the pathogen alone."
Women are more apt to get UTIs then men because our urethra is shorter and closer to the anus than in men. Hence, women are more likely to get an infection after sexual activity or when using a diaphragm for birth control. Menopause also increases the risk of a UTI, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI).
Being sexually active increase the risk of a UTI. Other risk factors, as per the Mayo Clinic, are: urinary tract abnormalities, blockages in the urinary tract, a suppressed immune system, and using a catheter.
The symptoms of a UTI, according to the Mayo Clinic and the NCBI, are:
• Cloudy or bloody urine, which may have a foul or strong odor
• Frequent urination, in small amounts
• Low fever
• Pain or burning with urination
• Pelvic pain in women
• Pressure or cramping in the lower abdomen (usually middle) or back
• Rectal pain in men
• Strong need to urinate often, even right after the bladder has been emptied
If the UTI has spread to the kidneys, the symptoms may also include chills; fatigue; a high fever; pain in your side, back, abdominal or groin area; flushed or reddened skin, nausea, and mental changes, including confusion.
Not everyone will recognize all these symptoms. Your physician should be consulted if you think you have an UTI. A urine test will generally confirm if in fact you do have a UTI. Additional tests may be warranted. In most cases an antibiotic will be prescribed.
While treatment is relatively simple, prevention is always better. Women can take some simple precautions to lower their risk of contracting a UTI. Simply put: keep clean, avoid tight clothes, and drink.K
eeping clean includes some easy day to day habits. Wear pads not tampons. Change your pad regularly. The NCBI suggests changing every time you use the bathroom. Do not douche. Do not use sprays and powders “there” either. Take showers instead of baths. Urinate before and after sex. Wipe from front to back. Keep your genital area clean.
Drink does not mean hit the bar. Drink plenty of fluids. The NCBI suggests a half gallon to a gallon every day. Cranberry juice or tablets is another great way to flush the system. The NCBI suggests avoiding alcohol and caffeine, as these irritate the bladder.
This article was taken in part from a press release by the European Association of Urology. It is not intended to replace the medical advice of your physician. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of diabetes, make an appointment with your physician.
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