If you've never had a urinary tract infection (UTI) before, consider yourself very lucky.
But for the millions of women who have suffered from a UTI, you know what it feels like: Hell.
Common symptoms of a UTI include a strong, persistent need to pee; a burning sensation when urinating; passing small amounts of urine; pelvic pain; and sometimes blood in the urine.
Yeah. It's not fun. And unfortunately, UTIs, which are usually easily treatable with antibiotics, might be a lot harder to treat in the near future.
A new list released by the World Health Organization (WHO) suggests that E. coli, a leading cause of UTIs, is becoming resistant to some antibiotics, reports PBS.
"For UTIs in particular, intravenous injection of the antibiotic colistin is a last-ditch option — but resistance to colistin is emerging in India and China," notes the PBS site. "Scientists believe that colistin resistance might have developed because farmers are using the drug as a growth promoter in livestock."
According to a study published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, almost half of all women will get a UTI at least once in their lifetime and women are significantly more likely to experience a UTI than men.
PBS notes that although antibiotics are effective in treating UTIs, without them, the infection can spread into the kidneys or bloodstream, "causing severe illness."
Left untreated, the Mayo Clinic notes that complications from a UTI can include recurrent infections (women who suffer one infection generally get them again); permanent kidney damage; increased risk in pregnant women of delivering low birth weight or premature babies; and sepsis, a potentially life-threatening complication of an infection.
If you're suffering from a UTI, the Mayo Clinic suggests using a heating pad, drinking plenty of water to flush out the bacteria; and avoiding drinks that may irritate your bladder such as coffee and alcohol.
Prevention includes drinking lots of water; wiping from front to back; going pee right after sexual intercourse and changing your method of birth control.