Prevent Your Bladder From Getting Too Full
Empty your bladder when needed. Empty it completely each time. This will help to reduce your chances of developing two common problems that increase your risk for UTI.
What Are The Symptoms Of A Uti
- Pain or burning when urinating
- An urge to urinate often, but not much comes out when you go
- Pressure in your lower abdomen
- Urine that smells bad or looks milky or cloudy
- Blood in the urine. This is more common in younger women. If you see blood in your urine, tell a doctor or nurse right away.
- Feeling tired, shaky, confused, or weak. This is more common in older women.
- Having a fever, which may mean the infection has reached your kidneys
Things You Can Do Yourself
To help ease symptoms of a urinary tract infection :
- takeparacetamolup to 4 times a day to reduce pain and a high temperature for people with a UTI, paracetamol is usually recommended over NSAIDs such as ibuprofen or aspirin
- you can give childrenliquid paracetamol
- rest and drink enough fluids so you pass pale urine regularly during the day
- avoid having sex
Some people take cystitis sachets or cranberry drinks and products every day to prevent UTIs from happening, which may help. However, there’s no evidence they help ease symptoms or treat a UTI if the infection has already started.
About The Urinary Tract
The urinary tract is where our bodies make and get rid of urine. It’s made up of:
- the kidneys two bean-shaped organs, about the size of your fists, that make urine out of waste materials from the blood
- the ureters tubes that run from the kidney to the bladder
- the bladder where urine is stored until we go to the toilet
- the urethra the tube from the bladder through which urine leaves the body
Silent Utis: How They Start
That weekend was supposed to be so fun. I always looked forward to hosting my grandchildren, who lived 45 miles away, overnight. But this time my extreme fatigue stole most of the energy and joy from our precious time together. The strange thing is, it wasnt the I probably did too much yesterday kind of fatigue. It was concerning, Mashunkashey said. That heavy blanket of fatigue covered me the rest of the week. All I wanted to do was lie down, and that just wasnt like me Im not a napping kind of person. She visited her doctor to ask about the exhaustion, but her doctor couldnt provide an answer.
This wasnt like other health issues Id had in the past, though. Years earlier I was prone to urinary tract infections. I once had six in the span of six months. I dreaded that unmistakable backache, the painful urination, and the urgency to pee, not to mention the doctors appointments and prescription co-pays for all those antibiotics. Thankfully, I seemed to have outgrown UTIs, but this new health complaint was such a mystery It worried me, Mashunkashey said.
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How Do Utis Affect Pregnancy
Changes in hormone levels during pregnancy raise your risk for UTIs. UTIs during pregnancy are more likely to spread to the kidneys.
If you’re pregnant and have symptoms of a UTI, see your doctor or nurse right away. Your doctor will give you an antibiotic that is safe to take during pregnancy.
If left untreated, UTIs could lead to kidney infections and problems during pregnancy, including:
- Premature birth
- Low birth weight
Can Utis Be Prevented
A few things can help prevent UTIs. After peeing, girls should wipe from front to back with toilet paper. After BMs, wipe from front to back to avoid spreading bacteria from the rectal area to the urethra.
Also, go to the bathroom when needed and don’t hold the pee in. Pee that stays in the bladder gives bacteria a good place to grow.
Keep the genital area clean and dry. Girls should change their tampons and pads regularly during their periods. Bubble baths can irritate the vaginal area, so girls should take showers or plain baths. Avoid long exposure to moisture in the genital area by not wearing nylon underwear or wet swimsuits. Wearing underwear with cotton crotches is also helpful. Skip using feminine hygiene sprays or douches, as these can irritate the urethra.
If you are sexually active, go to the bathroom both before and within 15 minutes after sex. After sex, gently wash the genital area to remove any bacteria. Avoid sexual positions that irritate or hurt the urethra or bladder. Couples who use lubrication during sex should use a water-soluble lubricant such as K-Y Jelly.
Finally, drinking lots of water each day keeps the bladder active and bacteria-free.
UTIs are uncomfortable and often painful, but they’re common and easily treated. The sooner you contact your doctor, the sooner you’ll be able to get rid of the problem.
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Who Is Affected By Utis And How Are They Treated
Women are more commonly affected by them than men. Around half of women will need treatment for at least one UTI during their lifetime.
If treated with the right antibiotics, UTIs normally cause no further problems and the infection soon passes. Though complications are uncommon, they can be serious and include kidney damage and blood poisoning, which can be fatal.
How Are Utis Treated
UTIs are treated with antibiotics. After several days of antibiotics, your doctor may repeat the urine tests to be sure that the infection is gone. It’s important to make sure of this because an incompletely treated UTI can come back or spread.
If someone has a lot of pain from a UTI, the doctor may recommend a medicine to help relieve the spasm and pain in the bladder. This will turn pee a bright orange color, but it’s harmless and will usually make a person much more comfortable within hours. In the case of a kidney infection, a doctor may prescribe pain medicine.
If you’ve finished all the medicine or if your symptoms aren’t much better after 2 to 3 days of treatment, contact your doctor.
Drink lots of water during and after treatment because each time you pee, the bladder cleanses itself a little bit more. Cranberry juice may also be helpful. Skip drinks that containe caffeine , such as soda and iced tea.
People who get a doctor’s help for a UTI right away should be clear of symptoms within a week. Someone with a more severe infection may need treatment in a hospital so they can get antibiotics by injection or IV .
A doctor may tell people with UTIs to avoid sex for a week or so, which lets the inflammation clear up completely.
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What Causes Urinary Tract Infections
UTIs usually happen because bacteria enter the urethra, then make their way up into the bladder and cause an infection. Girls get UTIs much more often than guys, most likely due to differences in the shape and length of the urethra. Girls have shorter urethras than guys, and the opening lies closer to the anus and the vagina, where bacteria are likely to be.
Bacteria can get into the urethra several ways. During sex, for example, bacteria in the vaginal area may be pushed into the urethra and eventually end up in the bladder, where pee provides a good environment for the bacteria to grow. This is why females who are sexually active often get UTIs.
Bacteria may also get into a girl’s bladder if she wipes from back to front after a bowel movement , which can contaminate the urethral opening. The use of spermicides and diaphragms as contraceptives also may increase the risk of UTIs.
Sexually transmitted diseases may cause UTI-like symptoms, such as pain with peeing. This is due to the inflammation and irritation of the urethra or vagina that’s sometimes associated with chlamydia and other STDs. If untreated, STDs can lead to serious long-term problems, including pelvic inflammatory disease and infertility. Unlike UTIs, STDs are contagious.
How To Know If You Have A Uti
The scary truth: Up to 50 percent of women with energy-draining UTIs go undiagnosed, mainly because these women dont experience any of the typical symptoms theyd normally associate with other UTIs theyve had before. Most women arent used to having a UTI without pain.
At least 80 percent of women will get a urinary tract infection in their lifetime, says Laura Corio, MD, an OB-GYN in New York City. She adds that as many as 1 in 5 UTIs dont cause the red flags most women associate with the infections, like burning, pain, or frequent urges to urinate. Instead, women notice fatigue, lower-back pain, and muscle aches subtle symptoms they dont link to UTIs. As a result, says Pamela Peeke, MD, author of Body-for-Life for Women up to half of silent UTIs go undiagnosed.
Women are most at risk for UTIs in the summer, since heat can cause bacterial growth in the urethra. The risk also goes up as estrogen levels plummet, since the hormone helps bolster the production of antimicrobial proteins in the bladder. Once an infection takes hold, the body revs its immune system, leading to inflammation that impairs the function of every system in the body. The result? Fatigue, body aches, weakness, and nausea.
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How Is A Urinary Tract Infection Diagnosed How Do Healthcare Providers Test For A Uti In Toddlers
After interviewing you about your childs history and performing a physical examination, the healthcare provider may order the following tests:
- Urine tests like the leukocyte esterase and a urine culture to test for the presence of bacteria or white blood cells.
- Blood tests looking for infection or kidney function.
- Ultrasound or CT of the kidneys and bladder.
- Voiding cystourethrogram , which evaluates the bladder and urethra to detect vesicoureteral reflux .
What Is A Urinary Tract Infection
A urinary tract infection is an infection in the urinary tract, which runs from your kidneys, through the ureters, the urinary bladder and out through the urethra. UTIs are very common and, in general, easy to treat.
A lower UTI, the more common type, affects the lower part of the urinary tract, the urethra and urinary bladder. Infection of the urethra is called urethritis and of the bladder is called cystitis. If the kidney is infected, called pyelonephritis, this is an upper UTI, as the kidney is the highest part of the urinary tract.
A UTI can be caused by bacteria or a fungus.
Are Some Women More At Risk For Utis
- Are sexually active. Sexual activity can move germs that cause UTIs from other areas, such as the vagina, to the urethra.
- Use a diaphragm for birth control or use spermicides with a diaphragm or with condoms. Spermicides can kill good bacteria that protect you from UTIs.
- Are pregnant. Pregnancy hormones can change the bacteria in the urinary tract, making UTIs more likely. Also, many pregnant women have trouble completely emptying the bladder, because the uterus with the developing baby sits on top of the bladder during pregnancy. Leftover urine with bacteria in it can cause a UTI.
- Have gone through menopause. After menopause, loss of the hormone estrogen causes vaginal tissue to become thin and dry. This can make it easier for harmful bacteria to grow and cause a UTI.
- Have diabetes, which can lower your immune system and cause nerve damage that makes it hard to completely empty your bladder
- Have any condition, like a kidney stone, that may block the flow of urine between your kidneys and bladder
- Have or recently had a catheter in place. A catheter is a thin tube put through the urethra into the bladder. Catheters drain urine when you cannot pass urine on your own, such as during surgery.
Risk Factors For Urinary Tract Infection In Older Adults
Certain factors may increase the risk of UTIs in older people.
They often require people to wear incontinence briefs. If the briefs arent changed regularly, an infection may occur.
Several other things put older adults at risk for developing a UTI:
- a history of UTIs
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Smelly Or Cloudy Urine
Ramin said that sometimes, one of the early signs of an impending UTI is a distinctly unusual smell or cloudy appearance of your urine. If you suddenly notice a foul or otherwise unusual smell to it, this may indicate a urinary tract infection or urinary stones, especially if the smell is also accompanied by a cloudy appearance.
Urinary Tract Infections And Dementia
Urinary tract infections are a type of infection common among older people. If a person with a memory impairment or dementia has a UTI, this can cause sudden and severe confusion known as delirium.
Urinary tract infections and dementia
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How Long Can A Uti Go Untreated
While on vacation, Mashunkasheys fatigue got worse. By the second day, her sneaky symptoms had her frightened enough to visit the emergency room closest to her hotel.
When the doctor told me it was a UTI, I was stunned. I dont believe it, I responded. I dont have any of the symptoms. None whatsoever! Yet there was the proof on my chart, confirmed through a urine test. After my history of UTIs, I felt I was somewhat of an expert. I thought I knew how to recognize them. But this infection completely snuck up on me.
Preventing Urinary Tract Infection
You can reduce your chances of developing a UTI by keeping your bladder and urethra free from bacteria.
You can help prevent an infection by:
- drinking plenty of fluids
To help keep your urinary tract free from bacteria:
- go to the toilet as soon as you feel the need to urinate , rather than holding it in
- wipe from front to back after going to the toilet
- practice good hygiene by washing your genitals every day and before having sex
- empty your bladder after having sex
- if you’re a woman, avoid hovering over a toilet seat as it can result in your bladder not being fully emptied
Diaphragms and condoms
If you use a diaphragm and have recurring UTIs, you might want to consider changing to another method of contraception. This is because the diaphragm may press on your bladder and prevent it emptying completely when you urinate.
If you get recurring UTIs and you use condoms, try using condoms that don’t have a spermicidal lubricant on them it will say whether it does on the packet.
Spermicidal lubricant can cause irritation and may make it more likely that you’ll experience symptoms similar to a UTI.
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Check If It’s A Urinary Tract Infection
Symptoms of a urinary tract infection may include:
- pain or a burning sensation when peeing
- needing to pee more often than usual during the night
- pee that looks cloudy, dark or has a strong smell
- needing to pee suddenly or more urgently than usual
- needing to pee more often than usual
- lower tummy pain or pain in your back, just under the ribs
- a high temperature, or feeling hot and shivery
- a very low temperature below 36C
What Causes A Urinary Tract Infection
The main cause of UTIs, at any age, is usually bacteria. Escherichia coli is the primary cause, but other organisms can also cause a UTI.
In older adults who use catheters or live in a nursing home or other full-time care facility, bacteria such as Enterococci and Staphylococci are more common causes.
What Is My Risk For Uti
Anyone can get UTI. However, people with SCI have a higher risk than normal.
- People with SCI who use an indwelling Foley or suprapubic catheter may be at higher risk for UTI than those who use a clean intermittent catheterization technique or have an external sheath or condom catheter.
- Talk to your health professional about lowering your risk for UTI if you average more than one UTI per year. Your health professional may suggest another method of bladder management that works better for you.
Confusion Or Changes In Mental State
The symptoms of UTIs in older adults are often uncommon and complex. For example, seniors may have bacteria in their urine, which indicates a UTI, but not have any of the typical symptoms.
When seniors have a UTI, they often develop confusion, disorientation, and dizziness. These uncommon symptoms most likely arise due to the infections impact on their immune system.
An untreated UTI will only worsen, leading to more severe symptoms, and giving the infection time to spread to your kidneys. If youre not sure your symptoms are due to a UTI, its best to schedule an appointment so we can determine the cause of your symptoms and begin treatment if needed.
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