Urinary Tract Infections In Women
UTIs are common, particularly with increasing age. Women are more likely to get a UTI than men. Nearly 1 in 3 women will have a UTI needing treatment before the age of 24.
In women, the urethra is short and straight, making it easier for germs to travel into the bladder. For some women, UTIs relate to changes in their hormonal levels. Some are more likely to get an infection during certain times in their menstrual cycle, such as just before a period or during pregnancy.
In older women, the tissues of the urethra and bladder become thinner and drier with age as well as after menopause or a hysterectomy. This can be linked to increased UTIs.
During pregnancy, the drainage system from the kidney to the bladder widens so urine does not drain as quickly. This makes it easier to get a UTI. Sometimes germs can move from the bladder to the kidney causing a kidney infection. UTIs during pregnancy can result in increased blood pressure, so it is very important to have them treated as soon as possible.
Women are more at risk of repeated UTIs if they:
- use spermicide jelly or diaphragm for contraception
- have had a new sexual partner in the last year
- had their first UTI at or before 15 years of age
- have a family history of repeated UTIs, particularly their mother
- suffer from constipation
What Can I Do To Prevent A Uti
- Empty your bladder often. Urinate and empty your bladder as soon as you feel the need. Do not hold your urine for long periods of time.
- Drink liquids as directed. Ask how much liquid to drink each day and which liquids are best for you. You may need to drink more liquids than usual to help flush out the bacteria. Do not drink alcohol, caffeine, or citrus juices. These can irritate your bladder and increase your symptoms. Your healthcare provider may recommend cranberry juice to help prevent a UTI.
- Urinate after you have sex. This can help flush out bacteria passed during sex.
- Do pelvic muscle exercises often. Pelvic muscle exercises may help you start and stop urinating. Strong pelvic muscles may help you empty your bladder easier. Squeeze these muscles tightly for 5 seconds like you are trying to hold back urine. Then relax for 5 seconds. Gradually work up to squeezing for 10 seconds. Do 3 sets of 15 repetitions a day, or as directed.
Urinary Tract Infections In The Elderly
Because the elderly often do not experience or report obvious symptoms that younger people have, urinary tract infections can be easily overlooked. Confusion, feelings of general discomfort, disorientation, fatigue, weakness, behavior changes, falling, or a new, acute incontinence are reported as common complaints. Because these symptoms are so general, this often results in a delaying treatment, inviting the complication of sepsis to occur.
UTIs can cause a change in behavior in older people and people with dementia. Masquerading as confusion, agitation, or withdrawal, UTI may actually be the cause of behavioral shifts. The person may not be able to communicate how they feel, therefore it is very important to be familiar with the symptoms of UTI and seek medical help to enable appropriate treatment.
It is also important to be aware that any infection could speed up the progression of dementia and so all infections should be quickly identified and treated.
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Urinary Tract Infections In Babies And Young Children
Babies and children are at risk of UTIs. These infections always need to be investigated as they may indicate a serious underlying condition, such as urinary reflux. Reflux is caused by a bladder valve problem allowing urine to flow back into the kidneys from the bladder. Reflux can cause the urine to stay inside the body increasing the risk of infection. It may lead to kidney scarring, which in turn leads to high blood pressure and sometimes kidney problems.
Eating Diet & Nutrition
Experts dont think eating, diet, and nutrition play a role in preventing or treating bladder infections. If you have any type of UTI, talk with a health care professional about how much to drink each day to help prevent or relieve your infection.
The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases and other components of the National Institutes of Health conduct and support research into many diseases and conditions.
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How Do You Know If Pelvic Pain Is Serious
While not all pelvic pain is serious, seeking medical care when symptoms are severe is important. You should head to the nearest emergency room if:
- Pelvic pain is sharp, severe or sudden.
- Youâre unable to stand up straight.
- There is blood in your pee or poop.
- Youâre running a fever.
- Youâre pregnant or have been pregnant in the last six months.
Can You Have A Bladder Infection With Clear Urine
Common UTI Symptoms and Signs
The urine of most healthy, properly hydrated people appears light yellow or clear and is nearly free of odor. It also causes zero pain or discomfort to pass. But for the majority of people who experience a urinary tract infection, thats not the case.
What is a hidden UTI? A silent UTI is just like a regular UTI, only without the typical symptoms that prove our immune system is fighting off the infection. Thats why those with weaker immune systems, especially the elderly, are more prone to silent UTIs. Urinary tract infections are risky to begin with.
Can you have a UTI for months and not know it?
Symptoms of a UTI can vary, and its not entirely uncommon for someone to experience no symptoms of a urinary tract infection. Its estimated that 1 to 5 percent of younger women experience asymptomatic bacteriuria , which is a UTI without the classic symptoms.
What happens if UTI goes untreated for months? Untreated urinary tract infections may spread to the kidney, causing more pain and illness. It can also cause sepsis. The term urosepsis describes sepsis caused by a UTI. Sometimes incorrectly called blood poisoning, sepsis is the bodys often deadly response to infection or injury.
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How Can I Manage Bladder Irritation
You can manage discomfort by avoiding foods you have identified as bladder irritants. But removing foods from your diet doesnt mean you can never have them again. You might be able to enjoy them in moderation . Drinking plenty of water will help reduce pain from any bladder-irritating foods you might ingest, in moderation or accidentally.
When Urinary Tract Infections Keep Coming Back
If you are prone to recurrent UTIs, you can head them off before they take hold.
Unless you’re in the fortunate minority of women who have never had a urinary tract infection , you know the symptoms well. You might feel a frequent urgency to urinate yet pass little urine when you go. Your urine might be cloudy, blood-tinged, and strong-smelling. For 25% to 30% of women who’ve had a urinary tract infection, the infection returns within six months.
If you have repeated UTIs, you’ve experienced the toll they take on your life. However, you may take some comfort in knowing that they aren’t likely to be the result of anything you’ve done. “Recurrent UTIs aren’t due to poor hygiene or something else that women have brought on themselves. Some women are just prone to UTIs,” says infectious diseases specialist Dr. Kalpana Gupta, a lecturer in medicine at Harvard Medical School.
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Treatment From A Gp For Utis That Keep Coming Back
If your UTI comes back after treatment, or you have 2 UTIs in 6 months, a GP may:
- prescribe a different antibiotic or prescribe a low-dose antibiotic to take for up to 6 months
- prescribe a vaginal cream containing oestrogen, if you have gone through the menopause
- refer you to a specialist for further tests and treatments
In some people, antibiotics do not work or urine tests do not pick up an infection, even though you have UTI symptoms.
This may mean you have a long-term UTI that is not picked up by current urine tests. Ask the GP for a referral to a specialist for further tests and treatments.
Long-term UTIs are linked to an increased risk of bladder cancer in people aged 60 and over.
How Do You Get Urinary Tract Infections
The design of the human body makes it so it isnt hard to get a bacterial UTI, because the infection comes from outside, through the urethra. Bacteria in the genital area can enter the urethra and the urinary tract, either because wiping after going to the bathroom, sexual activity, or unsanitary conditions. Once the bacteria have entered the urethra, the body tries fight them off, but sometimes the bacteria multiply and cause an infection.
In the case of a fungal infection, usually the fungus gets to the urinary tract through the blood stream. Those who develop this type of infection are usually ill with a disease that has compromised their immune system, such as AIDS.
In general, people with shorter urethras get more UTIs than do cisgender men and transgender men who have had a phalloplasty, surgery to create a penis and lengthen the urethra. This increases with age. Statistics show that those with shorter urethras often get more than one. Over their life time. Almost 20% who have had one UTI will go on to have a second.
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Usually A Man With Uti Faces The Following Common Symptoms:
- Pain and burning sensation while passing urine
- Sudden and frequent urges to pass the urine
- Dark brown urine due to the presence of blood
If the urinary infection becomes severe and reaches the kidneys or to the prostate gland, the person can face the below-mentioned symptoms as well.
- Constant fatigue
These are the severe symptoms of urinary tract infections.
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.
- Urinary retention or incomplete bladder emptying caused by medications narrowing of the urethra prolapse of the bladder, uterus or vagina neurological conditions or sometimes unknown reasons.
- 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.
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Practice Healthy Hygiene Habits
Preventing UTIs starts with practicing a few good bathroom and hygiene habits.
First, its important not to hold your urine for too long. This can lead to a buildup of bacteria, resulting in infection.
Peeing after sexual intercourse can also of UTIs by preventing the spread of bacteria.
Additionally, those who are prone to UTIs should avoid using spermicide, as it has been linked to an increase in UTIs.
Finally, when using the toilet especially if you have a female urethra make sure you wipe front to back. Wiping from back to front can to the urinary tract and is associated with an increased risk of UTIs.
Benefits of healthy hygiene for UTI
Urinating frequently and after sexual intercourse can reduce the risk of UTI. Careful wiping when you use the toilet may also help decrease the risk of UTI.
Several natural supplements may decrease the risk of developing a UTI.
Here are a few supplements that have been studied and are all available in capsule form:
- D-Mannose.D-Mannose is a type of sugar that is found in cranberries. Research suggests its effective in treating UTIs and preventing recurrence.
- Cranberry extract. Like cranberry juice, cranberry extract works by preventing bacteria from adhering to the urinary tract.
- Garlic extract. shows garlic and garlic extract to have antimicrobial properties, so they it may be able to block the growth of bacteria to prevent UTIs.
How Is It Diagnosed
Your healthcare provider will ask about your symptoms and medical history. You may have lab tests of your urine and discharge from the urethra and prostate gland.
For serious or repeated infections, you may need:
- An intravenous pyelogram . An IVP is a special type of X-ray of the kidneys, ureters, and bladder.
- An ultrasound scan to look at the urinary tract.
- A cystoscopy. This is an exam of the inside of the urethra and bladder with a small lighted instrument. It is usually done by a specialist called a urologist.
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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.
Include Probiotics In Your Diet
Knowing how to prevent urinary tract infection is important if you are prone to recurrent infections in your urinary system. Probiotics in your diet are a good way to increase healthy bacteria in your gut and urinary system. If your urinary tract and immune system are healthy, you might not get UTI. Boost your urinary tract by taking probiotic supplements, yogurt, kefir, or tempeh.
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Recovery And Management Of Utis In Cats
Most cats will fully recover within 7-10 days of developing a urinary tract infection, but they may need to remain on a canned diet for longer. Your vet may check a urine sample after treatment to determine if all the bacteria are gone.
Occasionally, cats will develop repeated urinary tract infections. Cats with recurring UTIs often require more testing to determine the underlying cause.
Is Uti Common After Spinal Cord Injury
Yes. Here are 3 of the more common reasons people with SCI develop UTIs.
1. Most people lose normal urinary function after SCI. They need a bladder management option to empty the urine from their bladder to keep their bladder and kidneys healthy. Most bladder management options make it easier for bacteria to enter the bladder through the urethra.
- Please read Bladder Management Options Following Spinal Cord Injury” to learn more about normal urinary function, how it changes after SCI, and bladder management options.
2. Most people lose normal bowel function after SCI, and contact with stool is common during bowel management. Stool has bacteria that can cause a UTI. UTIs are often caused when bacteria from stool gets into the bladder when the bladder is being emptied.
- Please read Bowel Function after Spinal Cord Injury to learn more about normal bowel function, how it changes after SCI, and bowel management options.
3. Once in the bladder, bacteria are hard to get rid of. People with normal bladder function can usually get rid of most bacteria by fully emptying their bladder when they urinate. However, many people with SCI cant fully empty their bladder, even with good bladder management. This allows bacteria to stay in the bladder almost all of the time, making it easier for a UTI to develop.
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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.
Have A Good Sexual Hygiene
Sexual intercourse can invite some bacteria and other microbes to the urinary tract. So, having good sexual hygiene will help reduce the risk of lower urinary tract infections. To get good sexual hygiene, you can
urinate before and after sex
wash the genitals, especially the foreskin, after sexual acts or intercourse
use barrier contraception, which includes condoms
wash your genitals or change the condom, if you switch from anal to vaginal sex
ensure that the sexual partners are aware of the current and past UTIs
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