Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are a common problem for women,  but you aren’t alone when dealing with the typical symptoms caused by UTIs. More than 50% of all women will experience a UTI at least once in their lifetime, and many will encounter them on a recurring basis.

So while UTIs can differ from one person to another, making it even more frustrating to get help, it is essential to understand the underlying causes so we can deal with the core issues.

This blog post will explain everything you need to know about urinary tract infections: what they are, the different types, which bacteria can cause them, and when to see a doctor.

We hope this information will help you better understand urinary tract infections and take the necessary steps to treat them effectively.

How Many Women Get UTIs?

It’s obvious why we would feel isolated when dealing with urinary and vaginal health issues – the taboo of talking about women’s health and sexual health issues makes it challenging to discuss openly; it’s normal that many women feel embarrassed and ashamed to talk about such personal matters. But would you believe us if we said that urinary tract infections are the second most common type of infectious disease in the body, after respiratory infections? Yup, it’s true. 

Recent studies estimate UTIs account for more than eight million doctor visits each year in the US alone, while it’s over 150 million across the globe! Women make up 85% of those who visit doctors to deal with urinary tract infections. It’s believed to be because the female urinary tract is shorter than the male tract, making it easier for harmful bacteria such as E. coli to travel up to the bladder and cause an infection. 

And while UTIs can occur at any age, they are most common in women between 20 and 50, making sexual intercourse another way bacteria can be introduced into the urinary tract.

We want to stress that something being “normal” and “common” are not the same.

Urinary Tract Infections are common, as they happen to millions worldwide, and scientists have an in-depth understanding of why they happen.  We also know that many changes in lifestyle and hygienic habits can help minimize their reoccurrence.

However, we should never see urinary tract infections, or any infections, as “normal” simply because they often occur and is “common.” 

We should see UTIs as abnormal and want to get to the root cause, deal with the infection, and get our bodies and immune systems back to health. So, make sure that you and your healthcare provider differentiate between “common” and “normal” to get you back to optimal health.

Now that we got that out of the way let’s see what we’re dealing with.

What is a Urinary Tract Infection?

To get in-depth on what a Urinary Tract Infection is, we need to know that the Urinary tract is made up of multiple organs, including the urethra, uterus, kidneys, and bladder.

So the term “Urinary Tract Infection” is a broad term that essentially explains that it can affect any of these organs. However, the most common infections occur in the bladder or urethra, with varying symptoms depending on which organ is infected.

A urinary tract infection occurs when harmful bacteria, also known as pathogens, enter the urinary through the urethra, latch on to the walls of the urinary tract, and then multiply. 

For a refresher, let’s recall what each of these organs’ purposes is in the Urinary Tract System from the top, where the system begins to the bottom, where you ultimately urinate.

Happy V expression of urinary tract system including kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra

The Kidneys are located on the backside of the lower abdomen and are responsible for removing the waste products that you ultimately pee out. This waste includes excess water, salt, potassium, and anything your blood filters out. The collection of waste is what creates urine.

The Ureters are the channels that transport the urine out of the kidneys and into the bladder.

The Bladder is responsible for holding the urine until it’s time to excrete it.

And last, where UTIs typically begin is the Urethra, where the urine finally exits the body. Women have shorter urethras than men, explaining why women are at higher risk of UTIs than men.

And although Urinary Tract Infections are not the same from one organ to another, it’s vital to know that there are common symptoms of a uti among them, which include:

  • A strong urge to urinate
  • Burning sensation during urination
  • Cloudy or bloody urine
  • Pelvic pain or lower back pain (in women and older adults)
  • Fever or chills (in severe cases)
  • Kidney stones and enlarged prostates are not common symptoms of UTIs

What Causes a Urinary Tract Infection?

So as we mentioned before, a urinary tract infection (UTI) occurs when bacteria enter the urinary system via the urethra and multiply within one of the organs of the urinary system.

How a urinary tract infection occurs is defined and is as follows.

  1. Harmful bacteria, like E. Coli, enter the body via the urethra. This contamination can occur due to sexual intercourse, dirty garments, or incorrect wiping (yes, you can wipe incorrectly!). It will move into the bladder where it will replicate.
  2. At a certain point, E. Coli will seek out the urinary tract walls (uroepithelial cells), and adhere to it using it’s pilis (hair-like follicles) in order to consume glucose.
  3. Once the bacteria is able to stick and agglomerate, its byproducts will begin to create a biofilm, which also causes inflammation and damage, where if left untreated, it can cause chronic bladder infections.
  4. And last, a portion of the biofilm colony will breakoff, off and seek new areas to colonize.
Illustration of E. coli, a bacteria responsible for 80% of all urinary tract infections

E.Coli isn’t the only bacteria that can cause Urinary Tract Infections. Many other bacteria can cause UTIs, including Staphylococcus saprophyticus, Proteus mirabilis, and Klebsiella pneumonia. Proper diagnosis of which bacteria affects your body can lead you to better treatment. Ask your primary health care practitioners for an accurate determination of what caused the condition.

What Are The Different Types of UTIs?

There are three major types of urinary tract infections:

– Interstitial Cystitis is the most common type of UTI that occurs when bacteria reach the bladder and cause an infection. Symptoms of cystitis include urinary frequency, urgency, and pelvic pain. Preventing cystitis is also the most straightforward lifestyle change to accomplish. 

– Urethritis occurs when bacteria enter the urinary tract, causing an infection of the urethra. Symptoms of urethritis include burning during urination and unusual discharge.

– Pyelonephritis is a more severe type of UTI that occurs when bacteria travel from the bladder to the kidneys and cause an infection. Symptoms of pyelonephritis include fever, chills, nausea, and vomiting. Kidney infections are the most severe type of UTI.

How Are UTIs Treated?

Urinary tract infections are commonly treated with antibiotics. It is vital to finish the entire course of antibiotics even if you start to feel better after a few days. 

If you stop taking the antibiotics too early, the antibiotics may not ultimately kill the bacteria, and the infection could come back. Additionally, some bacteria can become resistant to antibiotics if they are not taken for the entire course of treatment. 

Home remedies such as drinking cranberry juice or probiotics may also help prevent urinary tract infections. However, it’s important that you consume the right forms of probiotics and cranberry to get the results you want.

Natural Remedy for UTIs: D-Mannose & Cranberry

Our mission at Happy V is the development of scientifically-backed products that address the symptoms caused by UTIs. Our research and development led us to develop our D-Mannose & Cranberry Products.

Made with 500mg of Pacran, a clinically proven cranberry blend, and the world’s only patented D-Mannose, Uclear.

A clinical study involving 180 women showed a 40% reduction in recurring UTIs thanks to Pacran.

Happy V Cranberry & D-Mannose capsules & gummies were developed to help with Chronic Urinary Tract Infections. If you are prone to constant UTIs (2-3 in a one-year timeframe), this would be a great addition to your nutritional plan.

Happy V D-Mannose & Cranberry Powder was developed for those who do not have chronic UTIs but are prone to UTIs at certain times in their life (sexual and nonsexual activities)

Tips to prevent UTIs at Home

  • Drink plenty of fluids. Drinking plenty of water will help flush unwanted bacteria out of your urinary system.
  • Empty your bladder! Make sure to urinate frequently because this will also help to flush the bacteria out of your urinary system. Avoid holding your urine for long periods at a time.
  • Take D-Mannose and Cranberry supplements. Taking clinically proven supplements may help prevent urinary tract infections by preventing the bacteria from sticking to the urinary tract walls and flushing them out more effectively.
  • Wear loose-fitting clothing. Tight-fitting clothing can irritate the urinary tract and increase the risk of infection.
  • Wipe properly. Wipe from front to back after using the toilet, and doing this will help prevent bacteria from spreading from the anus to the urinary tract. Going from your rectum to your genital area is a risk. When it comes to sexual activity, know that spermicide, birth control, diaphragms, and contraceptives do not lower the risk of UTIs.
  • Do not douche! Avoid douches as they can cause a reduction in good bacteria that help fight off infection of the vagina and urinary tract.
  • Estrogen Therapy. If you’re experiencing menopause or postmenopausal, consider experimenting with estrogen to treat UTIs. this will not reduce the risk factors involved with Urinary tract infections in adults.

When Should I See a Doctor?

If you think you have a urinary tract infection or are experiencing recurrent UTIs, see a doctor or gynecologist to get started on antibiotic treatment. Your primary doctor will do several tests including white blood cells and a urine sample to determine what could be going on. Urinary tract infections can become serious if they are left untreated.

If you’re one of the women who experience recurrent urinary tract infections, meaning you have more than two UTIs in six months or three in one year, you should see a doctor.

 Urinary tract infections can also lead to kidney damage, so it is vital to seek medical treatment if you think you may have an infection.