A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection in your urinary system your kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra.
Most infections involve the lower urinary tract — both the bladder and the urethra.
Girls are at greater risk of developing a UTI compared to men. Infection restricted to your bladder can be painful and bothersome.
But, serious effects can occur if a UTI spreads into your kidneys.
Doctors typically treat urinary tract infections with antibiotics. But you can take action to reduce your chances of getting a UTI in the first place.
Urinary tract infections don’t necessarily cause signs and symptoms, but when they do they might include:
A powerful, persistent urge to urinate
A burning sensation when urinating
Urine that appears cloudy
Urine that seems red, glowing pink, or cola-colored — a sign of blood in the urine
Pelvic pain, in women especially in the Middle of the anus and around the area of the pubic bone
UTIs might be overlooked or mistaken for other conditions in older adults.
Types of urinary tract infection:
Each kind of UTI might result in more-specific symptoms and signs, depending on which part of your urinary tract is infected.
Contact your physician if you have signs and symptoms of a UTI.
Urinary tract infections typically occur when bacteria enter the urinary tract through the urethra and begin to multiply from the gut.
Even though the urinary system is designed to keep out such microscopic invaders, these defenses occasionally neglect.
When that occurs, bacteria may take hold and develop into a full-blown infection in the urinary tract.
The most common UTIs occur mostly in women and affect both the bladder and urethra.
Infection of the bladder (cystitis)- This type of UTI is generally caused by Escherichia coli (E. coli), a type of bacteria commonly found in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. However, occasionally other germs are responsible.
Sexual intercourse may lead to cystitis, however, you don’t have to be sexually active to create it.
All women are at risk of cystitis because of their body especially, the brief distance from the urethra to the anus along with the urethral opening to the bladder.
Infection of the urethra (urethritis)- This type of UTI can occur when GI germs spread from the anus to the urethra.
Additionally, because the female urethra is near the vagina, sexually transmitted infections, like herpes, gonorrhea, chlamydia, and mycoplasma, can lead to urethritis.
Urinary tract infections are common in women, and lots of women undergo more than 1 infection during their lifetimes.
Risk factors unique to women for UTIs include:
Female anatomy- A girl has a shorter urethra than a man does, which shortens the distance that bacteria must travel to get to the bladder.
Sexual activity- Sexually active women have a tendency to possess significantly more UTIs than do girls who aren’t sexually active. Having a brand new sexual partner also raises your risk.
Particular kinds of birth control- Women who use diaphragms for birth control might be at greater risk, as well as girls using spermicidal agents.
Menopause- After menopause, a decrease in circulating estrogen induces changes in the urinary tract which make you more vulnerable to infection.
Other risk factors for UTIs include:
Urinary tract abnormalities- Infants born with urinary tract abnormalities that don’t allow urine to leave the body generally or cause urine to back up in the urethra have an increased risk of UTIs.
Blockages from the urinary tract- Kidney stones or an enlarged prostate could trap pee in the bladder and increase the risk of UTIs.
A suppressed immune system- Diabetes and other diseases that impair the immune system the body’s defense against germs can raise the risk of UTIs.
Catheter use- People who can not urinate by themselves and use a tube (catheter) to urinate have a heightened risk of UTIs.
A recent urinary procedure- Urinary surgery or an exam of your urinary tract which entails medical instruments can increase your chance of developing a urinary tract infection.
When handled immediately and properly, lower urinary tract infections rarely cause complications.
But left untreated, a urinary tract infection can have serious consequences.
Complications of a UTI can include:
Recurrent infections, particularly in women who undergo at least two UTIs at a six-month interval or four or more within a year.
Permanent kidney damage from an acute or chronic kidney infection (pyelonephritis) due to an untreated UTI.
Increased risk in elderly women of providing low birth weight or premature infants.
Urethral narrowing (stricture) in guys out of recurrent urethritis, previously found with gonococcal urethritis.
Sepsis, a potentially life-threatening complication of an infection, particularly if the infection works its way up to your urinary tract to your kidneys.
You can take these steps to reduce your risk of urinary tract infections:
Drink lots of liquids, especially water- Drinking water helps dilute your urine and helps to ensure you’ll urinate more often permitting bacteria to be flushed from the urinary tract before an infection can begin.
Drink cranberry juice – Although studies aren’t conclusive that cranberry juice prevents UTIs, it is likely not harmful.
Wipe from front to back- Doing this after urinating and after a bowel movement helps prevent bacteria in the rectal area from spreading into your vagina and urethra.
Empty your bladder shortly after sex – Also, drink a full glass of water to help flush bacteria.
Avoid potentially bothersome female products –Using deodorant sprays or other female products, like douches and powders, in the genital area can irritate the urethra.
Change your birth control method- Diaphragms, or unlubricated or spermicide-treated condoms, can contribute to bacterial growth.
Tests and procedures used to diagnose urinary tract infections include:
Assessing a urine sample – Your physician may ask for a urine sample for laboratory analysis to search for white blood cells, red blood cells, or bacteria.
To avoid potential contamination of the sample, then you might be instructed to wipe your genital area with an antiseptic pad and to collect the urine midstream.
Growing urinary tract bacteria in a lab – Lab evaluation of the urine is sometimes followed by a urine culture.
This test tells your doctor what bacteria are causing your infection and which drugs will be most effective.
Creating images of your urinary tract –If you are having frequent infections your doctor thinks may be caused by an abnormality in your urinary tract, you might get an ultrasound, a computerized tomography (CT) scan, or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Your doctor can also use a contrast dye to highlight structures in your urinary tract.
Employing a scope to see inside your bladder – If you’ve got recurrent UTIs, your physician can perform a cystoscopy, using a very long, thin tube with a lens (cystoscope) to view inside your urethra and bladder.
The cystoscope is inserted in your urethra and passed through to a bladder.
Antibiotics are the first-line treatment for urinary tract infections.
Which drugs are prescribed and for how long depends on your wellbeing condition and the sort of bacteria found in your urine?
Drugs commonly recommended for simple UTIs include:
Nitrofurantoin (Macrodantin, Macrobid)
The group of antibiotic medicines known as fluoroquinolones such as ciprofloxacin (Cipro), levofloxacin, and others is not commonly suggested for simple UTIs.
The dangers of these medications generally outweigh the advantages of treating uncomplicated UTIs.
In some cases, like a complex UTI or kidney infection, your physician might prescribe a fluoroquinolone medicine if there are no other treatment choices.
Frequently, symptoms clear up in a couple of days of treatment.
However, you may have to continue antibiotics for a week or more. Take the entire course of antibiotics as prescribed.
For a simple UTI that takes place when you’re otherwise healthy, your physician may suggest a shorter course of therapy, such as taking an antibiotic for one to three days.
However, whether this brief course of therapy is sufficient to treat your infection depends on your specific symptoms and medical history.
Your physician may also prescribe a pain medication (analgesic) that numbs your bladder and urethra to ease burning while urinating, but the pain usually is relieved shortly after starting an antibiotic.
If you have frequent UTIs, your Physician may make certain treatment recommendations, for example:
Low-dose antibiotics, originally for six months but sometimes longer
Self-diagnosis and therapy, if you stay in touch with your Physician
Vaginal estrogen therapy if you’re postmenopausal
To get a severe UTI, you might need treatment with intravenous antibiotics at a hospital.
Urinary tract infections may be painful, but it is possible to take action to alleviate your discomfort until antibiotics cure the infection.
Follow these hints:
Water helps dilute your urine and flush out bacteria.
Avoid alcohol, coffee, and soft drinks including citrus juices or caffeine until your infection has cleared.
They could irritate your bladder and have a tendency to aggravate your frequent or urgent need to urinate.
Use a heating pad. Apply a warm, but not hot, heating pad to your abdomen to lessen bladder pressure or discomfort.
Many individuals drink cranberry juice to prevent UTIs.
There’s some indication that cranberry products, in either juice or pill form, may have infection-fighting properties.
Researchers continue to study the capacity of cranberry juice to prevent UTIs, but results are not conclusive.
If you love drinking cranberry juice and believe it makes it possible to prevent UTIs, there is little harm in it.
For many people, drinking cranberry juice is safe, but some people today report an upset stomach or nausea.
But do not drink cranberry juice in case you are taking blood-thinning medication, like warfarin.
Preparing for your appointment:
Your family doctor, nurse practitioner, or another healthcare provider can treat many urinary tract infections.
Who specializes in urinary disorders (urologist) or kidney disorders (nephrologist) for an evaluation.
Everything you can do
To prepare for your appointment:
Ask if there is anything you need to do beforehand, for example, collect a urine specimen.
Take note of your symptoms, even if you’re not sure they are related to a UTI.
Create a listing of all the medications, vitamins, and other supplements you take.
To get a UTI, basic questions to ask your doctor include:
What’s the most likely cause of my signs and symptoms?
Are there some other potential causes?
Do I need any tests to confirm the diagnosis?
What factors do you believe could have contributed to my UTI?
What therapy approach do you recommend?
If the first treatment does not work, what would you recommend next?
Am I at risk of complications from this condition?
What’s the threat that this problem will recur?
What steps can I take to reduce my risk of a recurrence?
Should I see a specialist?
Don’t be afraid to ask different questions as they occur to you during your appointment.
Things to expect from your doctor:
Your Physician Will Probably ask you a few questions, such as:
When did you first notice that your symptoms?
Are you treated for a bladder or kidney infection previously?
How severe is the distress?
How often do you urinate?
Can you have low back pain?
Have you ever had a fever?
Perhaps you have noticed vaginal discharge or blood in your urine?
Are you sexually active?
Can you use contraception? What kind?
Can you be pregnant?
Are you currently being treated for any other medical conditions?
Have you ever used a catheter?
Ask your friends and loved ones for support.
If you’re feeling anxious or depressed, consider joining a support group or seeking counseling. Believe in your ability to take control of the pain…
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