What you need to know:
- The most common route of infection for men is through unprotected sex with an infected partner.
- Some people may have recurrent UTIs for no good reason.
- For others it may be due to abnormalities in the structures of the urinary system.
I have a recurring urinary tract infection. Is it normal for a 23-year-old man?
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) happen either in the kidney, ureter, bladder or urethra. The most common route of infection for men is through unprotected sex with an infected partner. For this, it is advisable to get treatment quickly and to make sure your partner(s) is treated as well before resuming sexual contact. Otherwise, the infection will keep being transmitted back and forth, and recurrent or long-standing infections can lead to significant damage within the urinary system and/or the reproductive system like urethral stricture (narrowing or blockage of the urethra), epididymo-orchitis (inflammation within the testicles), kidney problems and even infertility.
Some people may have recurrent UTIs for no good reason, while in others, it may be due to abnormalities in the structures of the urinary system, or it may be due to diabetes, steroid use, spinal cord injury, nerve problems, kidney stones, prostate problems or some immune disorders. You may also get symptoms similar to an infection, yet there is no infection, when the bladder is irritated or inflamed for other reasons. You should see a urologist for examination and appropriate tests.
To prevent urinary tract infections:
Go to the toilet as soon as you need to and empty the bladder completely
Always use a clean toilet
Take a lot of water daily, not just when there’s an infection
Practice safe sexual behaviour
Clean the genital area before intercourse and immediately after
How do I get rid of a red swelling on my left eye?
The red swellings on the eye are due to inflammation of the eyelid, sometimes with accumulation of pus. This is most commonly due to infection of the hair follicles where the eyelashes grow from or from blockage and/or infection of glands in the eye. These swellings are uncomfortable and painful, but are usually not a cause for concern. Without treatment, the swellings will resolve on their own most of the time. If they last for more than a week or if they affect your vision, then it is advisable to see an eye specialist.
You can use a warm compress on the swelling for 10 to 15 minutes three to four times a day. This relieves the pain and can help the pus drain out by itself. Painkillers also help relieve pain. Antibiotic eye drops or an ointment may be prescribed to help clear the infection. If the infection has spread beyond the eyelid, oral antibiotics can be used. The doctor may also help in draining out the pus.
To avoid getting the infection, do not sleep with make-up on, do not use unhygienic or expired cosmetics, and do not use contact lenses that have not been disinfected or apply contact lenses with dirty hands. Avoid sharing wash cloths and face towels with someone who is infected. Low immunity also makes it easier for someone to get these infections, so eat healthy, get adequate sleep and maintain general good health.
For several weeks now I have had a painful pimple in my private parts. I have tried applying over-the-counter creams without success. How do I get rid of this problem once and for all?
The painful pimple could be due to blockage of the hair follicles (where the hair comes out of the skin) by bacteria and other substances, or by irritation and/or infection of the hair follicle as hair grows back after shaving. The simplest treatment is to let the hair grow, or only trim it, and not shave completely. You can use a shaving cream or go for permanent hair removal using laser or electrolysis. The ingrown hair in the bumps can be removed gently with tweezers. Some creams can help reduce the inflammation like steroid creams, acne medications, antibiotic creams in case of infection and antibiotic tablets, when necessary.
The pimple could also be due to a sexually transmitted infection like syphilis and herpes. Since you have tried over-the-counter creams without success, you should see a doctor for STI screening and appropriate treatment.
I have had very painful periods, bloating, nausea and diarrhoea since I started my periods at age 12 and I am now 29. Nothing changed after I gave birth to my son. How can I stop this?
Painful periods are referred to as dysmenorrhea. There are two types – primary and secondary. Primary dysmenorrhea occurs due to spasms or contraction of the uterine wall during menstruation and also due to release of some chemicals called prostaglandins and leukotrienes. It starts within the first few years after the beginning of periods, and it affects almost half of all women. Secondary dysmenorrhea occurs due to an underlying problem such as fibroids, endometriosis or pelvic disease. It starts later in a woman’s life and treatment of the underlying problem will usually get rid of the pain. You most likely had primary dysmenorrhea which has now recurred but it is advisable to make sure there is no new problem triggering the pain.
Severe dysmenorrhea may be associated with longer, heavier periods, early age of onset of periods, family history of severe pain during periods, smoking and obesity. Treatment involves medicine to manage the pain and reduce the uterine contractions. Other measures that may help include physical activity, warm compresses and getting enough sleep. If the discomfort is very severe, visit a gynaecologist for examination and some tests. Oral contraceptives may be given to prevent the pain. Pregnancy and giving birth may or may not change how you experience your periods in future, either for the better or worse.
Send your medical questions to email@example.com for expert advice