Tips To Prevent A Urinary Tract Infection
A urinary tract infection, also called a UTI, is an infection that occurs in the urinary system. This could include the urethra, bladder, ureters and kidneys. Most infections involve the bladder and urethra, known as the lower urinary tract.
The most common symptoms include painful urination, tenderness above the bladder area, urgency and frequency of urination. Cloudy and a strong odor are not signs of infection.
Women are at greater risk for a UTI because the urethra is shorter than in men, so it’s easier for bacteria to travel to the bladder. UTIs also are more common in postmenopausal women because low estrogen levels change vaginal and urethral tissue to increase the risk of infection.
It’s always better to prevent an infection rather than simply treat it. UTIs are no different.
How Are Urinary Tract Infections Diagnosed
Your doctor will use the following tests to diagnose a urinary tract infection:
- Urinalysis: This test will examine the urine for red blood cells, white blood cells and bacteria. The number of white and red blood cells found in your urine can actually indicate an infection.
- Urine culture: A urine culture is used to determine the type of bacteria in your urine. This is an important test because it helps determine the appropriate treatment.
If your infection does not respond to treatment or if you keep getting infections over and over again, your doctor may use the following tests to examine your urinary tract for disease or injury:
- Ultrasound: In this test, sound waves create an image of the internal organs. This test is done on top of your skin, is painless and doesnt typically need any preparation.
- Cystoscopy: This test uses a special instrument fitted with a lens and a light source to see inside the bladder from the urethra.
- CT scan: Another imaging test, a CT scan is a type of X-ray that takes cross sections of the body . This test is much more precise than typical X-rays.
Key Points About Urinary Tract Infections
- Urinary tract infections are a common health problem that affects millions of people each year. These infections can affect any part of the urinary tract.
- Most UTIs are caused by E. coli bacteria, which normally live in the colon.
- The most common symptoms of UTIs include changes in urination such as frequency, pain, or burning urine looks dark, cloudy, or red and smells bad back or side pain nausea/vomiting and fever.
- Antibiotics are used to treat UTIs. Other treatments may include pain relievers, and drinking plenty of water to help wash bacteria out of the urinary tract.
- Other things that can be done may help reduce the likelihood of developing UTIs.
Related Conditions Of Interstitial Cystitis
A number of different health conditions are associated with interstitial cystitis, meaning theyre also present in a person with IC.
For example, people with IC are potentially 100 times more likely to have irritable bowel syndrome than the general population, and 30 times more likely to have lupus, according to the Interstitial Cystitis Association.
Conditions associated with IC include the following:
- Irritable bowel syndrome
Diaphragms And Other Barrier Methods Are Hormone
These are barrier methods of birth control. The diaphragm is a flexible cup that you place in your to block sperm from entering your uterus. Its most effective when used with spermicide.
You will have to be fitted for a diaphragm by your doctor, and its a good idea to replace it after a year. Youll have to examine it occasionally, as well, to make sure there are no holes, tears, or thinning of the latex. If youve recently gained or lost weight, youll also want to have it checked for fit.
Pros: All of these items are hormone-free. You can insert your diaphragm or cervical cap anywhere from just before sex up to six hours before intercourse. Theyre both great options if you have medical conditions, such as breast cancer, that make it unsafe to use hormones for birth control. Unlike those methods, the sponge is an over-the-counter item.
While it is extremely rare, all three methods may cause toxic shock syndrome. So dont leave a diaphragm in for more than 24 hours, and dont leave a cervical cap in for more than 48 hours.
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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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Some Myth Some Truth: Sexual Activity
Sexual intercourse indeed can be a strong trigger for a UTI, as can any activity that has the potential for putting infection-causing bacteria near the urethra.
Your partners anatomy can act as a ladder for infection of the urethra with bacteria that usually live in the bowel, said Dr. Dielubanza.
Use of spermicides with or without barrier contraceptives has been shown to increase the risk of urinary tract infections in sexually active women. Women may consider an alternative contraceptive regimen if they experience UTIs after intercourse.
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Can A Uti Cause Strange Behavior
In addition to agitation and confusion, there may be agitation, restlessness, and hallucinations. UTI symptoms can manifest in a variety of ways, depending on the individual, and this can happen regardless of age or health status. Pregnant women, women who are experiencing menopause, and those with diabetes are all at a higher risk of developing a UTI.
Should My Partner Be Tested For Uti
Ive since learned that it is indeed possible for bacteria to be passed back and forth between partners during sex. If you think about it, that makes perfect sense this is exactly how STIs occur, so why not other organisms?
Its entirely possible for males to carry bacteria without experiencing symptoms, so they wouldnt necessarily know they were contributing to your own symptoms. Same sex partners can of course pass organisms back and forth too thats one area that is truly equal.
UTIs after sex prevention tip 2: Consider whether your partner should also be tested.
Strangely, my boyfriends housemate also began to experience recurrent UTIs. That got me thinking about the environment in their share house, or their drinking water or possibly my boyfriends fidelity! It seemed like way too much of a coincidence for this to be happening to both of us at the same time.
Learn more about UTI and sex and getting your partner tested in our expert video series.
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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
What Treatments Are Available For A Uti
The most common treatment for a UTI is a course of antibiotics. After a few days of treatment, your symptoms should dissipate. If they dont, and youre still experiencing pain in your bladder, your doctor may also prescribe a pain medication to numb your bladder and urethra to relieve burning while urinating.
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What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Utis In The Elderly
Detecting UTI symptoms in seniors can be tricky because many of them affect behavior, so they can be missed or attributed to more serious illnesses.
The classic, universal symptoms for UTIs are frequent urination, burning pain, cloudy urine and lower back pain. But because senior citizens immune systems are not functioning at optimal levels, the symptoms will take a different turn and produce some unsettling side effects:
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If You Have Trouble Emptying Your Bladder Completely This Is What You Can Do To Facilitate Bladder Emptying:
- When urinating, sit in a posture that relaxes the pelvic floor, leaning slightly forward with bent knees and feet resting on the ground or on a footstool
- When you have finished voiding, stand up and sit down again a few times. This may encourage urine to be voided that was left behind the first time.
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Risk Factors For Recurrent Utis Include:
- Frequent sexual intercourse, which increases the likelihood of bacteria entering the urethra and bladder.
- Using spermicide with or without a diaphragm, as this can harm protective bacteria in the urinary tract that defend against infection.
- Vaginal atrophy, which is a postmenopausal condition caused by decreased estrogen levels.
- Genetics, especially the inherited genes that regulate the body’s immune response to infections.
It’s common for some people to have bacteria in their urine but not experience any symptoms. In these cases, no treatment is necessary.
Talk with your health care team if you think you have a UTI. You may need an appointment to discuss your symptoms and collect a urine sample.
You should seek medical attention if you develop a fever, chills, disorientation, or back or side pain. These could be signs of a kidney infection, which requires treatment, or a systemic infection of the bloodstream that requires hospitalization.
Allergies Or Other Skin Conditions
Cleaning products can trigger symptoms if youâre allergic to one or more of their ingredients. Soaps and feminine hygiene products can sometimes do this, as can laundry detergents.
Small cuts can even feel itchy and irritated while theyâre healing.
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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.
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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Do I Need To See A Doctor
Yes. Painful urination can be a symptom of a more serious problem. You should tell your doctor about your symptoms and how long youve had them. Tell your doctor about any medical conditions you have, such as diabetes mellitus or AIDS, because these could affect your bodys response to infection. Tell your doctor about any known abnormality in your urinary tract, and if you are or might be pregnant. Tell your doctor if youve had any procedures or surgeries on your urinary tract. He or she also need to know if you were recently hospitalized or stayed in a nursing home.
What Causes Urinary Tract Infections
Normal urine is sterile and contains fluids, salts, and waste products. It does not contain bacteria, viruses, or fungi. A UTI occurs when germs, most often bacteria from the digestive tract, get into the opening of the urethra and start to multiply.
Most UTIs are caused by E. coli bacteria, which normally live in the colon.
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What Causes Utis In The Elderly
Anything that introduces bacteria into the urinary tract or impedes the flow of urine and causes urine to stay in the bladder is very likely to cause a UTI.
Eighty five percent of all UTI infections are caused by Escherichia coli or E. coli bacteria. Several other types of bacteria make up the other fifteen percent, but E.coli is by far the most prominent, and it can make its way into the urinary tract several different ways.
Due to the proximity of the entry and exit of the above two pathways, poor hygiene can cause UTIs. Back-to-front wiping after a bowel movement can transfer bacteria into the urethra. Wearing soiled underwear or disposable undergarments too long can also introduce bacteria into the urinary tract. Bacteria in both cases is an infectious traveler that multiplies.
What Is Urinary Tract Infection
There are no bacteria in normal urine. The urinary tracts ensure one-way flows that prevent bacterial infection. But bacteria may get into the urinary tract in many ways and cause UTI. We can fall UTI into two main categories such as lower tract infections, and upper tract infections.
- Lower tract infections:
- Upper tract infections:
Upper tract infection mainly occurs in the ureters and kidneys. It is mainly known as a kidney infection. When bacteria move to the kidney from the bladder, then the upper tract infection may occur. Also, your bloodstream can carry bacteria from other parts of the body, and finally, these bacteria live in the kidneys.
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What Are The Symptoms Of A Urinary Tract Infection
These are the most common symptoms of a UTI:
- Frequent urination
- Pain or burning when passing urine
- Urine looks dark, cloudy, or reddish in color
- Urine smells bad
- Feeling pain even when not urinating
- Pain in the back or side, below the ribs
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Despite an strong urge to urinate, only a small amount of urine is passed
- Women may feel an uncomfortable pressure above the pubic bone
The symptoms of UTI may look like other conditions or medical problems. Always see a health care provider for a diagnosis.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Utis
If you have a UTI, you may:
- pass very small amounts of urine
- feel the need or urge to pass urine frequently
- feel that the bladder is still full after passing urine
- feel unwell with nausea and fever
- experience confusion
- have pain stinging or a burning feeling when urinating
- have smelly, cloudy, dark or blood in the urine
- pain in the lower back or sides or feel uncomfortable in your lower abdomen
Signs of UTIs in children can also include:
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Uti Symptoms In Women Important Things To Know
If youve ever had a urinary tract infection and if youre a woman, chances are you have you know theyre not fun. UTIs can make you feel an increased urge to urinate combined with a burning sensation. These symptoms tend to reappear throughout the day and can be extremely uncomfortable.
UTIs are the second most common type of infection in the body, leading to more than eight million visits to health care providers each year. Urinary tract infections are also one of the most common conditions treated by MDLIVE doctors.
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.
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Utis After Sex Are Worse Than Using The Toilet Around A New Partner
They sometimes refer to UTIs as honeymooners syndrome. Historically women became sexually active on their honeymoons.
There was probably already a mixture of fear and trepidation. Then add the potential embarrassment of showing your new husband that you needed to use the toilet. That may have been enough to leave many new brides with a desperately full bladder and bacterial growth flourishing.
New relationships encounter these same problems too. In this last instance the toilet was next to the bedroom and the door did not close. So I was less than enthusiastic about issuing the powerful jet of urine that might have saved me.
And its not just not peeing after sex that can cause problems. It turns out its about poo too! Constipation is linked to recurrent UTIs, especially in kids.
So if youre also not making regular bowel movements due to the awkwardness of a new relationship, its best to just get over it.
UTIs after sex prevention tip 5: Its important to avoid constipation. Keeping bowel movements regular can help with urinary tract health.
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