Understanding Urinary Tract Infections
The urinary tracts of women and men are similar in many ways but there are differences that make it easier for bacteria to enter a womans urinary tract. First, the urethra in women is shorter than in men and near the vagina which is normally heavily colonized with bacteria. This makes it easy for bacteria to find their way into the bladder. Most UTIs are caused by bacteria that move up into the bladder from the vagina and rectum. Rarely, an infection can be caused by bacteria that spread from the kidneys, or by fungus. It is not unusual for women to have one or two UTIs a year. This frequency of UTIs does not usually require any special evaluation or treatment. When women have 3 or more UTIs in a year, this usually prompts more evaluation to see if there is a particular reason why they are occurring frequently.
Women can get different kinds of UTIs. UTIs usually affect the urinary bladder, but they can also involve the urethra or kidneys. Symptoms of a UTI include urgency, frequent urination, burning with urination, fever, or blood in the urine. A diagnosis of a UTI is confirmed with a test called a urine culture.
It is not possible to prevent every UTI. However, some recommendations that may reduce your risk are:
Can I Swim Or Use A Hot Tub With A Uti
While they can be a nuisance, UTIs, or urinary tract infections, can usually be treated at home by drinking plenty of fluids and taking paracetamol1. However, you might be wondering Can Isafelyswim with a UTI? In this article, we explore the potential risks and benefits of swimming with a UTI, and whether oceans, hot tubs and swimming pools are safe to use.
When not maintained and cleaned properly, hot tubs provide an ideal environment for bacteria and viruses to grow, causing skin, eye, and ear infections, as well as other serious diseases.
Because of the high temperature of water in a hot tub, some disinfectants like chlorine break down faster and become ineffective, leading to contamination. In addition to waterborne diseases, its important to keep in mind that sitting in a hot tub for too long can also cause heat-related illnesses, such as nausea, dizziness, fainting, and even death.
How Can I Prevent Urinary Tract Infections
There are several things you can remember to do to prevent urinary tract infections :
- When you go to the bathroom, wipe from front to back after you urinate or have a bowel movement.
- Wash the area between the anus and genitals.
- Showers are better than baths. Donât use douches, or sprays and powders âdown there.â
- Go to the bathroom when you feel the need â donât hold it in. Try to urinate before and after sex.
- Donât wear tight jeans or nylon underwear .
- If you use birth control, choose a kind thatâs not a diaphragm and/or spermicidal jelly.
- Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration.
- Drink unsweetened cranberry juice or ask your doctor if cranberry supplements could help. The research on how well these work to prevent UTIs is mixed.
In rare cases doctors might prescribe antibiotics for prevention. If you get a prescription for an antibiotic, follow the instructions and take all the pills.
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The Uti Test Was Never Meant To Be Used For Everyday Utis
In the 1950s a scientist named Kass conducted two small studies on two groups of females with acute kidney infections. One group of participants were pregnant females, the other non-pregnant females.
Kass discovered that a certain concentration of bacteria in a cultured urine sample was enough to indicate a kidney infection with 80% accuracy.
Kass suggested that a kidney infection was present when a certain amount of bacteria was found in the urine. This is called the Kass threshold, and you may have seen reference to it on your UTI test results.
|The Kass threshold means a concentration of 100,000 colony forming units of bacteria per milliliter of cultured urine must be present to indicate an infection. It is a very specific threshold without much room for interpretation.|
The key point here is that the Kass test was already only 80% accurate for acute kidney infections. It was never validated for use in lower urinary tract infections, like bladder or urethral infections.
Yet, this test was embraced by the medical community and has been the global standard UTI test for more than 60 years.
The Kass threshold has since been found to be far too high to detect many lower urinary tract infections. That is, much lower counts of bacteria in the urine can indicate a UTI.
Because modern urine culture tests are based on the Kass test, any bacteria count that is below the Kass threshold will not be considered an infection, and antibiotic susceptibility testing will not be done.
Uti Online Treatment Online
If natural remedies are not providing relief, you need to see a doctor to talk about your urinary tract infection symptoms. You may need antibiotic therapy in order to cure the infection and not have complications.
A board-certified PlushCare doctor can work with you to diagnose your UTI and prescribe a treatment plan all from your phone or computer. The doctor will work with you to determine the best medication for you to take and will check on you to ensure the care plan is working. You can get this care without even leaving home.
Book an online appointment here, or download the free PlushCare mobile app. The average UTI appointment lasts just 15 minutes and 97% of conditions are successfully treated on the first visit. Dont suffer with a UTI any longer, same day appointments are available.
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Treatment For More Severe Utis
Kids with a more severe infection may need treatment in a hospital so they can get antibiotics by injection or IV .
This might happen if:
- the child has high fever or looks very ill, or a kidney infection is likely
- the child is younger than 6 months old
- bacteria from the infected urinary tract may have spread to the blood
- the child is dehydrated or is vomiting and cannot take any fluids or medicine by mouth
Kids with VUR will be watched closely by the doctor. VUR might be treated with medicines or, less commonly, surgery. Most kids outgrow mild forms of VUR, but some can develop kidney damage or kidney failure later in life.
Preventing Urinary Tract Infections In Adults
A urinary tract infection, or UTI, is an infection in the part of the body that produces and eliminates urine. The urinary tract consists of the kidneys, bladder, ureters, which are tubes that carry urine to the bladder, and the urethra, which carries urine out of the body. An infection can occur at any point along this tract.
Your NYU Langone doctor may recommend making lifestyle changes to help prevent UTIs, particularly if you get them often.
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2. An STDAlthough leftover gonorrhea probably isnt floating around in there, hot tub chemicals wont sterilize the STDs your partner is carrying. So, despite what that cute cabana boy told you, you can still contract an STD from the person youre having sex with below the bubbles.
3. A RashSpend enough time knocking boots in a hot tub and you could develop pseudomonas folliculitis from bacteria in the water. This rash looks like itchy, red bumps on your skin, but it usually clears up on its own in a few days. Phew.
4. An Unplanned PregnancyWell, not instantly. But water can cause the condom to slide off. Plus, chemicals like chlorine can make latex less effective. Dont consider condoms a fool-proof form of birth control underwater, says Hoppe.
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What Is The Prognosis For A Urinary Tract Infection
A good prognosis is usual for spontaneously resolved and quickly treated UTIs. Even patients that have rapidly developing symptoms and early pyelonephritis can have a good prognosis if quickly and adequately treated. The prognosis begins to decline if the UTI is not quickly recognized or treated. Elderly and immunosuppressed patients may not have the UTI recognized early their prognosis may range from fair to poor, depending on how much damage is done to the urinary tract or if complications like sepsis occur. Like adults, most adequately treated children will have a good prognosis. Children and adults with recurrent UTIs may develop complications and a worse prognosis recurrent UTIs may be a symptom of an underlying problem with the urinary tract structure. These patients should be referred to a specialist for further evaluation.
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Can Sex Make A Uti Worse
If you already have a UTI, having sex can make the infection feel worse, exacerbating the symptoms. Using spermicides can increase discomfort because it can cause irritation. Using non-lubricated latex condoms can also increase friction leading to irritation. Using a water-based lubricant or lubricated condoms will help avoid making your UTI feel more irritated. After and before sex, be sure to urinate immediately to flush out the bacteria.
Other Ways To Prevent Recurring Utis
If you have more than 3 UTIs in 1 year, or 2 UTIs in 6 months, there are other things that may help prevent UTIs.
There is some evidence that women under 65 years old who keep getting UTIs may find it helpful to take:
- a supplement called D-mannose this is not recommended for pregnant women
- cranberry products, such as juice or tablets
Speak to your doctor before taking any of these during pregnancy.
Be aware that D-mannose and cranberry products can contain a lot of sugar.
Page last reviewed: 18 November 2020 Next review due: 18 November 2023
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How Can I Tell If I Have A Uti
Not all UTIs have obvious symptoms, but signs and symptoms of a possible UTI include the need to urinate often, pain and burning sensations during urination, low fever, nausea, vomiting, feeling ill, and back or abdominal pain. You may also notice that your urine is bloody, cloudy, or odorous.
See your doctor immediately if you think you have a UTI, or ask your pharmacist about purchasing a UTI test kit. If you decide to use the take-home UTI test strips, follow the instructions carefully and be sure to discuss your test results with your doctor.
Habits That Could Prevent Utis
1. Peeing After Sex
Use the bathroom soon after intercourse it helps to wash away bacteria that could potentially enter the urinary tract.
2. Drinking Cranberry Juice
Some studies suggest that a 10-ounce glass of cranberry juice per day may help prevent urinary tract infections, although compelling evidence is limited. However, theres little harm in trying. If you dont want to add the sugar to your diet, cranberry extract supplements may also be beneficial. Take 500 mg daily.
3. Staying Hydrated
Make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day. It will keep help your bladder flushed and will prevent constipation which is something that can further increase your risk of developing a UTI.
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What Are Uti Symptoms
Symptoms of UTIs may include the following: pain or burning when urinating, pressure in the low belly, an urge to urinate often, and fatigue and shakiness. If you have severe pain in your back or lower abdomen, vomiting, nausea, or fever, see your healthcare provider immediately. These can be signs of a serious kidney infection. Speak with your healthcare provider if you think you may have a UTI.
- Urinary Tract Infection, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . Web. 20 September 2021.
- Bladder Infection in Adults, National Institute of Health . Web. 20 September 2021.
- Urinary Tract Infections, MedlinePlus. Web. 20 September 2021.
- Urinary Tract Infections, Mayo Clinic. Web. 20 September 2021.
- Phenazopyridine, MedlinePlus. Web. 21 September 2021.
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You Can Get A Skin Rash Called Hot Tub Folliculitis
This is an infection that gives rise to inflammation of the hair follicles, and it is typically caused by the bacteria pseudomonas aeruginosa, says Nesochi Okeke-Igbokwe, M.D., M.S. over email. Hot tubs may be a breeding ground for this type of bacteria, which can cause one to experience a very itchy red rash on the body that may appear as quickly as several hours post exposure.
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Avoid Food And Beverages That May Irritate The Bladder
The most common bladder irritants are alcohol, caffeinated drinks, carbonated beverages, and spicy dishes.
Both caffeine and alcohol have been found to increase bladder spasming, which can make UTI pain worse. And when men and women increased their intake of coffee or soda, they had higher chances of getting UTI symptoms.
What Are Possible Complications Of A Urinary Tract Infection
Most UTIs cause no complications if they spontaneously resolve quickly or if treated early in the infection with appropriate medications. However, there are a number of complications that can occur if the UTI becomes chronic or rapidly advances. Chronic infections may result in urinary strictures, abscesses, fistulas, kidney stones, and, rarely, kidney damage or bladder cancer. Rapid advancement of UTIs can lead to dehydration, kidney failure, sepsis, and death. Pregnant females with untreated UTIs may develop premature delivery and a low birth weight for the infant and run the risks of rapid advancement of the infection.
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Top 8 Ways Women Can Prevent Urinary Tract Infections
A urinary tract infection or UTI is an infection that happens in the kidneys, ureter, bladder, and/or urethra.
A UTI is caused by bacteria and the problem is ten times more common in women than men.
If you recover from a UTI and then experience another episode within a six-month period, there are some things you can do to prevent more bacteria from growing in the urinary tract.
You can use the following tips to help reduce your risks of recurring UTI:
Habits That Could Cause Utis
1. Using Barrier Contraception
If you find that youre getting recurrent UTIs, you may want to consider switching your birth control method. Barrier methods, especially when used with spermicide, have been linked to a higher risk of developing UTIs. Diaphragm use with spermicide, in particular, seems to impart a higher risk.
2. Holding It
Try to avoid holding your urine. Stay well-hydrated and urinate as frequently as you need to.
3. Taking Bubble Baths
You dont need to banish sudsy relaxation from your routine altogether, but if youre frequently experiencing urinary discomfort, your soap may be the culprit. Use a mild, pH balanced soap, and avoid soaking for long periods in a bubbly tub to prevent urethral irritation.
4. Wiping in the Wrong Direction
Always wipe from front to back to avoid contaminating your urethra with any bacteria from your stool.
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Safer Worry Free Bubble Baths
Many parents ask today, Are bubble baths safe for babies and small children? It is a question I always get because in the old days, pediatricians would recommend that young children not take bubble baths. Think of all the fun they were missing back then! The reason was that harsh chemicals could aggravate a childs skin and cause irritations. Bubble baths could be linked to causing urinary tract infections in girls. According to a report released by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, many of the childrens bath products on the market have chemicals that have been linked to both cancer and skin allergies. Children soaking in huge synthetic bubbles, stripping of their natural oils and causing rougher skin would definitely deter me. And case in point, many manufacturers decreased the synthetic material so it would be less likely to occur. Today, with natural alternatives, the skin can be preserved and even protected at the same time.
Another perk, is lavender is found in several natural bubble baths and is known to relax and calm a child. Confirmed by a Wall Street Journal article in August, 2010, Lavender has been proven to aid better sleep and a greater state of relaxation. Studies confirm that using Lavender products as a part of bedtime rituals greatly enhances an infants sleep, giving parents everywhere a helping hand! And the warmth of the bath certainly helps as well!
Maintain Good Urinary And Bowel Habits
To avoid a UTI, its important to take steps to prevent bacteria from entering the urinary tract. Your doctor may advise you to urinate whenever you feel the urge. Holding urine in can trap bacteria in the bladder.
Your doctor may discuss other habits that are believed by some to be helpful in avoiding a UTI. For women, this includes wiping from front to back after urination or a bowel movement to help prevent bacteria in the anus from entering the urethra. After sexual intercourse, women may flush bacteria from the body by urinating, and both men and women should clean the opening to the urethra.
Chronic diarrhea can be associated with recurrent urinary tract infections. Your doctor determines any treatments for this condition.
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Contact Doctor Within 24 Hours
- Blood in urine and new onset since starting antibiotic
- Taking antibiotic more than 24 hours, and pain with passing urine is severe.
- Taking antibiotic more than 48 hours and fever still there or comes back
- Taking antibiotic more than 3 days and pain not better
- You think your child needs to be seen, but the problem is not urgent