Urinary Tract Infections

Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

Overview of Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection that is found in the urinary system. The urinary system is made up of the kidneys, the urethra, bladder, or ureters. Most UTI’s are found in the urethra or the bladder. Women are more likely to have a UTI. If the infection is found only in the bladder, it can be extremely painful. If the UTI spreads to the kidneys, serious consequences may happen. These are typically treated with an antibiotic, but there are also many home remedies to take.

Symptoms of Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

A urinary tract infection (UTI) can sometimes not come with any symptoms, but the following are the most common:

  • Strong-smelling urine
  • Persistent urge to urinate
  • Burning when urinating
  • Cloudy urine
  • Frequent, small amounts of urine
  • Red, pink, or cola colored urine
  • Pelvic pain

Symptoms will typically depend on the type of UTI that you have. Acute pyelonephritis, or a UTI in the kidneys, may come with vomiting, fever, nausea, shaking, chills, back and side pain. Cystitis, a UTI in the bladder, may show blood in the urine, pelvic pressure, painful urination, or abdomen discomfort. Urethritis, or a UTI in the urethra, comes with discharge and burning when urinating.

Contact your physician immediately if you are experiencing any of these symptoms.

Causes of Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

A urinary tract infection (UTI) occurs when a bacterium enters the urinary tract through the urethra and then they multiply in the bladder. The urinary system is designed to keep these bacteria out, but they can fail in some cases. When this happens, the bacteria begin to multiply and may grow into a UTI.

Infections in the bladder (cystitis) are typically caused by E. coli, which is a bacterium that is found in the GI tract. Sexual intercourse can cause this type of UTI. The other cause of this may be the short distance from the urethra to the anus.

Infections in the urethra (urethritis) occurs when the bacterium from the anus spreads to the urethra. It can also be caused by sexually transmitted diseases.

Risk Factors of Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

A urinary tract infection (UTI) is most common in women because of the short distance from the urethra to the anus. It is even more common in women that are sexually active. Certain types of birth control also lead to a higher risk for a urinary tract infection (UTI). After menopause, you are at a higher risk for a urinary tract infection (UTI).

Some people are born with urinary tract abnormalities and are at a higher risk for urinary tract infection (UTI). Kidney stones or other blockages in the urinary tract can also increase the risk.

It is also more common in people that have had a recent urinary procedure or who use catheters.

Complications with Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

If a urinary tract infection (UTI) is treated promptly and effectively, there are rarely complications that are found. If the UTI is left untreated, then there are serious consequences that may be found. It is common in those who do not treat the UTI that they have recurrent infections. It may also lead to permanent kidney damage. In women that are pregnant, they may be at risk for delivering low birth weight or even premature infants.

In men, a urinary tract infection (UTI) may lead to urethral narrowing.

The most serious complication with a urinary tract infection (UTI), sepsis may occur. This is a life-threatening complication, especially when it goes to the kidneys.

Prevention of Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

It is so important to drink plenty of water or cranberry juice. The water allows the urine to be diluted and makes sure that you are urinating often. This ensures that the bacterium is flushed before any infection can begin.

For women, it is so important to wipe from front to back. This prevents the anal region from spreading the bacteria. You will also want to avoid any irritating feminine products. You may also want to change your birth control method if that is the cause of your UTI’s.

After you have engaged in sexual intercourse, you will want to drink a full glass of water and then urinate.

Diagnosis of Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

There are a few tests to diagnose a UTI. The first step is typically a urine sample. This sample will be checked for white blood cells, red blood cells, and bacteria. You will want to wipe your genital area with a wipe and then collect the urine during midstream to avoid contamination.

Your physician may ask that you keep a bladder diary. You will be asked to take note of how much you drink, the amount of urine you produce, when you urinate, if you had the urge to urinate, and the number of times you had Urinary Tract Infection (UTI).

If you have frequent UTI’s, then your physician will request an imaging tests to look for an abnormality in the urinary tract. The other way to see inside of the bladder is through a scope.

Treatment of Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

Antibiotics are the first step for treatment for a urinary tract infection (UTI). The drugs that are prescribed will depend on your condition and type of bacteria in the urine. Often, symptoms are cleared up within a couple of days. Take the entire course of antibiotics as prescribed. If your UTI is more intense, you may need treatment in a hospital.

Summary of Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection that can be found in the urinary tract. This is most common in women, especially in women that are sexually active. Diagnosis is typically done through a urine sample. In more severe or recurrent cases, your physician may recommend an imaging test or a scope into the kidneys to see if there are any abnormalities. Treatment will be dependent on your health, cause, and what you would personally prefer. Antibiotics are the most common cause of treatment for a urinary tract infection (UTI). It is essential that you complete your complete round of antibiotics. It is important to take care of yourself as well. Drinking plenty of water is the most important step in ensuring that you do not contract a urinary tract infection (UTI).

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