Tuesday, February 27, 2024

How Do Females Get Urinary Tract Infections

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Am I At Risk Of A Uti

How do you get a UTI (urinary tract infection)?

While UTIs can happen to anyone, they are more common in females who are sexually active or menopausal, or have health conditions such as diabetes or urinary incontinence. Females who use spermicides or diaphragms as contraception are also at increased risk of UTIs, and may benefit from other contraceptive options if they get recurrent UTIs.

Some people at greater risk of developing urinary tract infections:

  • Females nearly 1 in 3 females will have a UTI that needs treatment before the age of 24.
  • Males with prostate problems an enlarged prostate gland can cause the bladder to only partially empty, raising the risk of infection.
  • Older people some medications and problems with incontinence mean that older people are more likely to get a UTI.
  • People with urinary catheters people who are critically ill and people who cant empty their bladder are at a greater risk of infection.
  • People with diabetes changes to the immune system make people with diabetes more vulnerable to infection.
  • Infants babies in nappies commonly get UTIs, in particular, infants born with physical problems of the urinary system are at greater risk.

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The Link Between Utis And Sex: Causes And How To Prevent Them

One common way women get urinary tract infections is by having sex. But that doesnât mean you have to banish sex from your life to prevent painful infections.

Mosuno/Stocksy

Pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections arent the only consequences of having sex. For some women, a urinary tract infection can also be a result.

Blame it on anatomy, which makes a UTI more likely for women than for men, says Sujata Yavagal, MD, a urogynecologist at Baptist Health South Florida in Miami.

Still, it isnt inevitable that having sex will cause a UTI. Taking proper precautions can minimize your odds.

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A Pharmacist Can Help With Utis

You can ask a pharmacist about treatments for a UTI.

A pharmacist can:

  • offer advice on things that can help you get better
  • suggest the best painkiller to take
  • tell you if you need to see a GP about your symptoms

Some pharmacies offer a UTI management service. They may be able to give antibiotics if theyre needed.

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You Dont Drink Enough Water

Guzzling H2O will make you go pretty often. And thats a good thing. When you do this, the bacteria gets flushed out before they have a chance to grab hold, Minkin says.

Consider that your cue to make a giant water bottle your BFF. Hooton TM, et al. . Effect of increased daily water intake in premenopausal women with recurrent urinary tract infections: A randomized clinical trial. DOI: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2018.4204

Causes Of Urinary Tract Infection In Women

AZO Urinary Tract Defense® Eases Recurrent UTI Infections

Urinary tract infection in women may cause lower abdomen pain, and pain in the pelvic area as well as it can cause lower back pain. Many women feel burning and pain while urinating. How Does a Woman Get a Urinary Tract Infection? Frankly speaking, there are various causes of UTI in women, but we will discuss the fundamental causes.

Some specific birth control systems may cause urinary tract infections in women. If a woman uses a diaphragm for birth control she is at a higher risk of UTI. Some couples use condoms with spermicidal foam for birth control. This also may increase the risk of getting an infection.

  • Pregnancy Issue

The first argument suggests that the bladder muscle becomes relaxed in pregnant women. due to hormonal change. This delays urination and increases the risk of UTI in women. Whilst the second suggests that many women cannot fight off infection during pregnancy and become more susceptible to UTIs. Women should have to go through a regular body checkup during pregnancy to avoid UTI.

  • Holding in Urine Too Long

When you have the urge you should urinate as soon as possible. Holding urine for a long time can develop the risk of infection. As the urine stays for a long time in the bladder the risk of bacterial growth increases in the bladder. So doctors recommend women not to hold urine for a long time.

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Recurrent Urinary Tract Infection In Pregnancy

UTI is the most frequent medical complication of pregnancy. The risk factors of preterm delivery, low infant birth weight and abortions are most commonly associated with symptomatic and asymptomatic bacteriuria during pregnancy.77 In pregnancy, factors that contribute to UTI risk are ureteric and renal pelvis dilation increased urinary pH decreased muscle tone of the ureters, and glycosuria, which promotes bacterial growth. Treatment of asymptomatic bacteriuria in pregnancy reduces the risk of pyelonephritis. As RUTIs are common in pregnancy, they need prophylactic treatment if they occur. Screening for bacteriuria is recommended in all pregnant women at their first prenatal visit and then in the third trimester.82,83 They should subsequently be treated with antibiotics such as nitrofurantoin, sulfisoxazole or cephalexin.21,24,8284 Antibiotic prophylaxis for RUTI in pregnant women is effective using continuous or post-coital regimens. The causative organisms of UTI in pregnancy are similar to those found in non-pregnant patients, with E. coli accounting for 8090% of infections.85,86 Urinary group B streptococcal infections in pregnant women need to be treated and followed by intrapartum prophylaxis.21

Cranberry Juice And Tablets

Cranberry juice and tablets have been shown to reduce RUTIs as they contain a compound called tannin, or proanthocyanidin, which reduces E. coli vaginal colonisation.65,66 Although earlier, smaller studies have shown that consuming cranberry juice or tablets can prevent RUTIs, an updated Cochrane review showed that evidence for its benefit in preventing UTIs is small therefore, cranberry juice cannot be recommended any longer for UTI prevention.21,6769

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Why Do Utis Return Despite Treatment

There are about a half-dozen oral antibiotics that treat UTIs. Sometimes a doctor will prescribe one drug, then switch to another after a urine culture identifies which bacteria is at work. Adjusting the medication can take time, and recurrent infections may occur in the meantime.

Sometimes a person starts to feel better and decides to stops taking the antibiotic contrary to the doctors instructions and another infection soon follows. Its never a good idea to stop taking antibiotics before your dosage is complete.

But even people who take medication as the doctor prescribes may get recurrent infections, Dr. Vasavada says.

If youre a younger woman who is sexually active, your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic to take before and after sexual activity. For post-menopausal women, a vaginal estrogen cream may help reduce infections.

If infections persist, your doctor may test for other health problems in the kidney, bladder or other parts of the urinary system.

Urinary Infections In Children

How to Prevent a Urinary Tract Infection

A urinary infection in a child needs to be investigated as it may indicate a more serious condition.

The most common urinary system condition is urinary reflux. With this condition, the bladder valve isnt working properly and allows urine to flow back to the kidneys, increasing the risk of a kidney infection.

Urinary reflux and the associated infections can scar or permanently damage the kidney, and can also lead to:

  • high blood pressure
  • toxaemia in pregnancy
  • kidney failure.

Urinary reflux tends to run in families, so its important to screen children as early as possible if a close relative is known to have the problem.

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Treatment From A Gp For Utis That Keep Coming Back

If your UTI comes back after treatment, you may have a urine test and be prescribed different antibiotics.

Your doctor or nurse will also offer advice on how to prevent UTIs.

If you keep getting UTIs and regularly need treatment, a GP may give you a repeat prescription for antibiotics.

If you have been through the menopause, you may be offered a vaginal cream containing oestrogen.

Treatment Of Urinary Tract Infections

Doctors treat the upper and lower urinary tract infections with antibiotics. Laboratory testing can also determine the best antibiotic for the treatment.

Most of the uncomplicated lower tract infections can be treated with the help of a three-day process but for women who are pregnant or suffering from diseases such as diabetes should take the antibiotics for longer.

People suffering from the upper tract infections are treated with a 14-day course of antibiotic therapy. Those having upper tract infections may require hospital treatment with the antibiotics which are given through the vein.

This is true if there is an increase in vomiting and fever increases the risk of dehydration and it prevents the person from taking the oral antibiotics.

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Talk With Your Doctor

If you have questions about whats safe to do while youre treating a UTI, talk with your doctor or a nurse. Your doctor should also let you know if the medication theyre prescribing will interfere with any other medications you take, such as oral contraceptives.

If youre still unsure whether its safe to engage in sexual activity with a UTI, talk with your doctor.

You should also talk with your doctor if you experience any new symptoms, such as:

  • bleeding during urination

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How Do Utis Affect Pregnancy

9 Causes of UTI

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

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What Can Happen If A Uti Is Not Treated

If treated right away, a UTI is not likely to damage your urinary tract. But if your UTI is not treated, the infection can spread to the kidneys and other parts of your body. The most common symptoms of kidney infection are fever and pain in the back where the kidneys are located. Antibiotics can also treat kidney infections.

Sometimes the infection can get in the bloodstream. This is rare but life-threatening.

Urine And Blood Culture

The purpose of urine culture is to identify bacteriuria and determine sensitivity to antibiotics. A bacterial count of 105 CFU/mL is usually considered significant bacteriuria, but lower counts can also be relevant in patients with symptoms of UTI. The diagnosis of UTI cannot be solely based on urine culture as bacteriuria may be present in asymptomatic patients as discussed above. In older adults, the rate of ASB is so high that bacteriuria cannot be considered an abnormal finding. The only occasions where etiological predictive values indicated a correlation between symptoms and UTI were presence of Escherichia coli in the urine and mental state changes for at least 1 month but < 3 months.

Thus, requests for urine culture in older people should be limited to two situations. The first is patients with acute urinary symptoms typical of a urinary tract infection, to confirm susceptibility to empirical antibiotic treatment. The second is patients who are unable to provide a history of acute urinary symptoms but have features of systemic inflammation and no other more likely source of infection or explanation for their acute illness.

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Other Ways To Prevent Some Utis Coming Back

If you keep getting a bladder infection , there is some evidence it may be helpful to take:

  • D-mannose a sugar you can buy as a powder or tablets to take every day
  • cranberry products available as juice, tablets or capsules to take every day

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.

If you’re taking warfarin, you should avoid cranberry products.

Page last reviewed: 22 March 2022 Next review due: 22 March 2025

When Should You Call Your Doctor

Urinary Tract Infections

An immediate visit to a physician is warranted if you have a fever, flank pain, flu-like symptoms, or four-smelling vaginal discharge. These may be signs that your body may be fighting more than an uncomplicated UTI. Contrary to a common assumption among patients, the smell or appearance of urine by itself is not a reliable measure of infection, said Dr. Dielubanza.

Here she addresses some other common myths and truths about UTIs.

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Causes Of Bladder Infection

When the bacteria attack the urinary tract, it results in a bladder infection. Women get affected by a bladder infection also due to the short length of their urethra. In men, it is mostly caused due to sexual intercourse with an infected female. The use of contraceptive diaphragms or spermicidal agents is also a reason for bladder infection. Other causes are:

  • A feeling of pressure in the lower abdomen.

What If The Infection Does Not Clear Up With Treatment

Most infections clear up with treatment. However, if an infection does not clear up, or if you have repeated infections, you may be given some special tests such as:

  • a type of x-ray called an intravenous pyleogram , which involves injecting a dye into a vein and taking pictures of your kidney and bladder

  • an ultrasound exam, which gives a picture of your kidneys and bladder using sound waves

  • a cytoscopic exam, which uses a hollow tube with special lenses to look inside the bladder.

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Why Does Sex Cause Urinary Tract Infections

Many women suffer from urinary tract infections or UTIs after sex. This isnt always the case. Some women never end up with a UTI. Intercourse can increase your chances of getting a bladder infection, however. Eagles Landing OB/GYN explains below the correlation between sex and UTIs, how you can avoid them, and what to do if you get a bladder infection.

You Wipe From Back To Front

Interstitial Cystitis

Wiping from back to front can transport E. coli, the bacteria thats behind most UTIs, from the rectal region to the urethra. Moral of the story: Always wipe from front to back. Al-Badr A, et al. . Recurrent urinary tract infections management in women: A review.

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Imaging Evaluation Following A Uti

An algorithm for the management of children with the presumptive diagnosis of a UTI is presented in Figure 1. The literature describing various protocols for the imaging evaluation of the urinary tract following a UTI is extensive. Unfortunately, no prospective studies with long-term outcome data are available.21 Some experts recommend that all children with a UTI be investigated with urinary tract ultrasonography. With regard to children younger than one year, two years or five years, some experts recommend urinary tract ultrasonography and cystography.2226 Some would obtain only cortical imaging or cystography if these studies are normal. In addition, there are those who suggest that no imaging is needed in the child with cystitis who responds promptly to treatment.2729

After Youve Had One Your Risk For Having Recurrent Utis Increases With Each Uti You Have And 27 Percent Of Women Have More Than Two Utis Every Year

Ladies: Most of us have had a urinary tract infection at least once. If you havent, theres a pretty good chance you will. The National Kidney Foundation states one in five women will have at least one UTI in her lifetime. After youve had one, your risk for having recurrent UTIs increases with each UTI you have. And 27 percent of women have more than two UTIs every year.

Read Also: Do Urinary Tract Infections Go Away On Their Own

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About Urinary Tract Infections

Urinary tract infections are common infections that can affect the bladder, the kidneys and the tubes connected to them.

Anyone can get them, but theyâre particularly common in women. Some women experience them regularly .

UTIs can be painful and uncomfortable, but usually pass within a few days and can be easily treated with antibiotics.

This page is about UTIs in adults. There is a separate article about UTIs in children.

This page covers:

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You Dont Pee After Sex

How To Prevent Urinary Tract Infection

The threat of getting a UTI shouldnt stop you from getting it on. But that doesnt mean resigning yourself to the afterburn.

One simple way to cut your risk: Head to the potty after youve finished your romp. Youll possibly flush out the bacteria that may have made their way into your urinary tract. Urinary Tract Infection. .

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What Is The Urinary Tract

The urinary tract makes and stores urine, one of the body’s liquid waste products. The urinary tract includes the following parts:

  • Kidneys: These small organs are located on back of your body, just above the hips. They are the filters of your body removing waste and water from your blood. This waste becomes urine.
  • Ureters: The ureters are thin tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to your bladder.
  • Bladder: A sac-like container, the bladder stores your urine before it leaves the body.
  • Urethra: This tube carries the urine from your bladder to the outside of the body.

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 donât 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 theyâre common and easily treated. The sooner you contact your doctor, the sooner youâll be able to get rid of the problem.

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