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UTIs Can be Scary... But Completely Normal

Three letters. UTI. What kind of thoughts come to mind? Are they negative? Do they make you shudder? Whatever emotions you feel towards them are normal. A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection in the bladder caused by bacteria, typically through the urinary tract. I know what you must be thinking; yes, they are painful. However, the stigma around these types of infections seems to generally be pessimistic. The awareness of them should be neutral and normalized. 

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If you haven’t heard of UTI’s, where have you been? They are common and mostly found in women. In fact, more than half of women will experience a clinically significant urinary tract infection once in their life. There are several causes of this infection, including sexual activity, pregnancy or using a diaphragm for birth control. To some, these causes may not seem applicable to them, but it is much easier to contract an infection than many believe. 

Normalizing the “scary” talk about infections and how common they are would help many young women understand the importance of practicing safe sex and raising sexual health awareness. Acknowledging the risk of acquiring such infections caused by sex would increase the normalcy of being able to have conversations about them. Shaming those who suffer the consequences of these infections does not make them feel any better. Instead, accept the fact that UTI’s can happen to anyone at any given time.

Now that reality has been served, I think it is necessary to talk about the symptoms of a UTI and how to avoid them. You can’t be diagnosed or be given proper care without knowing the symptoms and how to distinguish whether or not you have one. From personal experience, UTI’s have varying symptoms throughout its course. The most common one is pain or a burning sensation when urinating. The most irritating is having a constant urge to urinate often, but little to none comes out. More common in younger women, there can be blood that mixes with your urine when it leaves your body. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important that you reach out to a professional to be treated. 

I know—those symptoms sound like a nightmare. Getting through them is the most frustrating part. Luckily, there is an easy fix to making a UTI go away. After making an appointment at your doctor or going to a walk-in clinic, you will be diagnosed. A sample of your urine will be taken and checked for bacteria. If diagnosed, the most common treatment is a prescribed antibiotic from your doctor. 

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Feeling under the weather can sometimes be tiresome and long. There is nothing to be ashamed of when taking yourself to the doctor. Nervousness is not a rare occurrence, but remember to take a deep breath and remember how important it is to get treated. Spreading personal experiences should not be something women feel guilty for. Instead, share those experiences to remind a friend or family member it is normal. 

Friendly reminder: DO NOT forget to pee after sex!