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Why does UTI cause stomach bloating?

How a UTI may cause bloating

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are infections in any part of the urinary system, including the kidneys, ureters (tubes between the kidneys and the bladder), the bladder itself and the urethra (the tube from the bladder through which we urinate).

The majority of UTIs involve the lower urinary tract – the bladder and the urethra – and women are more likely to develop a UTI than men, due to the urethra being shorter, so there is less distance between the bladder and the external environment, where the bacteria live.

Most UTIs are caused by the Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria. This strain of bacteria is a normal part of the digestive and urogenital microbiome, but if it is able to overgrow, it can sometimes cause an infection.

UTI symptoms

The most common symptoms associated with UTIs include the following:

  • Bloating
  • Pain or burning upon urination
  • The feeling of wanting to urinate constantly
  • Cloudy, bloody or strong-smelling urine
  • Fever
  • Diarrhoea
  • Nausea
  • Muscle aches

Many of these other symptoms can also feel like stomach bloating, pain or pressure and, if a UTI spreads to the kidneys, it can also cause back pain and vomiting that can lead to bloating. As a result, bloating is one of the symptoms most often associated with urinary tract infections.

If symptoms persist or get worse, contact your doctor or health practitioner immediately and they can test your urine to see if there are any bacteria present and which strains they are.

How is the infection spread?

It is difficult to spread a UTI between individuals, as the type of bacteria causing the infection is almost never contagious.

The most common way that a UTI is contracted is through the movement of bacteria from the anus to the urethra, either when wiping after going to the toilet or during sexual intercourse. Taking care during each of these activities can help to prevent the transfer of bacteria, which may then have the opportunity to overgrow.

Vigorous sexual intercourse may also lead to symptoms of UTI or cystitis in women (including bloating), although there may be no bacteria present.

It is extremely unlikely that a UTI could be contracted via a public toilet, as the urethra in both men and women does not generally touch the toilet seat.
 

Alleviating discomfort caused by UTI bloating

The bloating and pain associated with UTIs can cause severe discomfort and may last for a few days or even up to a week. Some suggestions for helping to alleviate this discomfort include:

  • drink lots of water – at least one large glass of water every hour – to try and flush the infection out of the body
  • eat small healthy meals regularly
  • reduce sugar intake as certain types of bacteria feed off it – in particular, avoid fizzy drinks as these can also cause gas
  • limit your intake of any foods that you know you react to, such as wheat or beans
  • certain nutrients have been shown to help with the symptoms of UTIs, including cranberry extract (not cranberry juice, which may contain added sugar), D-mannose and good bacteria (particularly Lactobacillus species, which are known to populate the urogenital microbiome)

Want to know more?

Pro-Ven Probiotics aim to provide the best support for both you and your health. If you wish to know more about UTI bloating and gut health please do not hesitate to call us on 01639 825107 or alternatively, learn more via our blogs or in-depth proven research.

ProVen Probiotics, Unit 2 Christchurch Road, Baglan Industrial Park, Port Talbot, SA12 7DJ. Tel: 01639 825107

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