Symptoms Of Urinary Tract Infections
The symptoms of an infection in your upper urinary tract are different from symptoms of infection in your lower urinary tract .
However, in some cases you may notice the symptoms of both, as one can spread to the other.
Symptoms of a UTI are similar to those of many other conditions and don’t necessarily mean you have an infection.
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.
Does Cranberry Juice Prevent A Urinary Tract Infection
Many people say that cranberry juice can help treat, or even prevent, a UTI. Researchers are currently looking into the topic, but havent found a definitive answer yet. Healthcare providers recommend drinking lots of fluids if you have, or have a history of getting, a UTI. Adding a glass of unsweetened cranberry juice to your diet isnt a proven way to prevent a UTI, but it typically wont hurt you either.
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What Causes A Urinary Tract Infection
Urinary tract infections are caused by microorganisms usually bacteria that enter the urethra and bladder, causing inflammation and infection. Though a UTI most commonly happens in the urethra and bladder, bacteria can also travel up the ureters and infect your kidneys.
More than 90% of bladder infection cases are caused by E. coli, a bacterium normally found in the intestines.
Kidney And Bladder Stones
If the blood contains too little liquid and too much waste, the waste products can bind with chemicals in the urine, forming hard stones in the kidneys or bladder.
Often, the stones are small enough to pass through urination. Larger stones may remain in the kidney or bladder or get stuck elsewhere in the urinary tract.
Larger stones generally cause more noticeable symptoms, such as:
- blood in the urine
- cloudy or strong-smelling urine
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And Dont Forget: There Are Things You Can Do To Prevent Getting A Uti In The Future
Once youve gotten your first UTI, youll probably want to avoid them like the plague in the future. Here are some steps you can take to reduce your risk of UTIs, according to the Mayo Clinic:
Stay hydrated: Drinking lots of liquidsespecially watercan help stave off UTIs. The reason: Youll have to pee more often, which better ensures bacteria will be flushed from your urinary tract.
Wipe carefully: Make sure youre wiping from front to back. Doing so will help keep bacteria from your anal region from entering your vagina and urethra.
Pee after sex: This will help flush out any bacteria that may have set up shop around your urethra.
Dont use anything scented down there: Products that have a fragranceincluding tampons and douches, the latter of which you dont need, BTWcan irritate your genitals and urethra.
Maybe switch up your birth control method: Certain birth control methods may make you more likely to get a UTI because of how they affect your vaginal flora, like diaphragms or spermicide-treated condoms.
Can I Prevent A Urinary Tract Infection
You can usually prevent a urinary tract infection with lifestyle changes. These tips can include:
In some post-menopausal women, a healthcare provider may suggest an estrogen-containing vaginal cream. This may reduce the risk of developing a UTI by changing the pH of the vagina. Talk to your healthcare provider if you have recurrent UTIs and have already gone through menopause.
Over-the-counter supplements are also available for UTIs. These are sometimes recommended for people who have frequent UTIs as another way to prevent them. Talk to your healthcare provider before starting any supplements and ask if these could be a good choice for you.
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First Lets Understand How A Kidney Infection Happens
Bacteria or a virus that normally lives in the bowel can travel from the bladder to the urethra or ureter and into one or both kidneys. Medically known as pyelonephritis, kidney infections will often begin as a urinary tract infection before spreading to the kidneys.
A UTI can be so mild you might not even notice the symptoms, but normally people will start to take note when they experience:
- Pain during urination due to the inflammation of the lining of the urethra
- Frequent urination. This occurs because your inflamed bladder makes it feel like you need to pee again.
You should not wait to see Dr. Diner if you have these UTI symptoms. Treating the urinary tract infection may prevent it from developing into a kidney infection.
What Causes Bleeding During A Uti
When you have a UTI, the bacteria infect the lining of your urinary tract. This leads to inflammation and irritation, causing red blood cells to leak into your urine.
If theres a tiny amount of blood in your urine, it wont be visible to the naked eye. This is called microscopic hematuria. A doctor will be able to see the blood when they look at your urine sample under a microscope.
But if theres enough blood to change the color of your urine, you have whats called gross hematuria. Your pee might look red, pink, or brown like cola.
If you menstruate, you might wonder if your bloody urine is caused by a UTI or menstruation.
Along with urinary bleeding, UTIs and periods share symptoms like:
- lower back pain
- abdominal or pelvis pain
To determine which one you have, consider your overall symptoms. Youre likely menstruating if you have:
- bloating or weight gain
- skin issues
- food cravings
These symptoms arent typically associated with UTIs. Plus, if you have your period, you wont see blood only when you pee. Youll also have red or darker clumps of blood continuously accumulating on your underwear with menstruation.
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What Is Blood In The Urine
Although this can be alarming, passing blood in urine is often not due to a serious condition. However, it is important to see your doctor if you notice blood in your urine to determine the underlying cause for this. Blood in your urine can be due to a number of reasons, which will be discussed below.
Alternatively, some people have very small traces of blood in their urine which cannot be seen but are found when a dipstick is put in a sample of their urine.
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Prevention Of Urinary Tract Infection
There are several steps you can take to reduce your risk of getting a UTI:
- Drink plenty of water and other liquids to help flush out bacteria.
- Urinate frequently, or about every two to three hours.
- For women: Wipe from front to back after urinating or having a bowel movement.
- Urinate before and soon after having sexual intercourse.
- Avoid synthetic underwear, tight pants, and lingering in wet gym clothes or a bathing suit. Though none of this can cause a UTI, these habits can increase the spread of bacteria.
- Avoid vaginal deodorants, douches, powders, and other potentially irritating feminine products.
- Use a method of birth control other than a diaphragm, spermicide, or unlubricated condoms.
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When To See A Doctor
Get medical help as soon as you notice any UTI symptoms.
This is especially important if you have blood in your urine. Even if it only happened once or its a small amount, you should still visit a doctor.
When treated promptly, a UTI is easier to clear. Early treatment will help you avoid other complications.
Hematuria: Blood In The Urine
Blood in the urine should never be ignored. This could be the first sign of a serious condition. In order to help your doctor with the correct diagnosis, you may try to provide details such as:
- Was it associated with pain?
- Did you see blood clots?
- What shape did the clots have?
- The color of the blood
- At what time during urination did you see blood in the urine ?
Blood in the urine can present in one of two ways:
- Gross hematuria
- Microscopic hematuria .
Both types can have serious causes.
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Whats The Difference Between A Urinary Tract Infection And Bladder Infection
A urinary tract infection is a more general type of infection. There are many parts of your urinary tract. A UTI is a term for an infection that takes place throughout the urinary tract. A bladder infection, also called cystitis, is a specific infection. In this infection, bacteria makes its way into the bladder and causes inflammation.
Not all urinary tract infections become bladder infections. Preventing the spread of the infection is one of the most important reasons to treat a UTI quickly when you have symptoms. The infection can spread not only to the bladder, but also into your kidneys, which is a more complicated type of infection than a UTI.
Antibiotics For A Uti
The form of antibiotic used to treat a bacterial UTI usually depends on which part of the tract is involved.
Lower tract UTIs can usually be treated with oral antibiotics. Upper tract UTIs require intravenous antibiotics. These antibiotics are put directly into your veins.
Sometimes, bacteria develop resistance to antibiotics. To reduce your risk of antibiotic resistance, your doctor will likely put you on the shortest treatment course possible. Treatment typically lasts no more than 1 week.
Results from your urine culture can help your doctor select an antibiotic treatment that will work best against the type of bacteria thats causing your infection.
Treatments other than antibiotics for bacterial UTIs are being examined. At some point, UTI treatment without antibiotics may be an option for bacterial UTIs by using cell chemistry to change the interaction between the body and the bacteria.
There are no home remedies that can cure a UTI, but there are some things that you can do that can help your medication work better.
These home remedies for UTIs, like drinking more water, may help your body clear the infection faster.
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What To Expect At Your Office Visit
Your provider will perform a physical exam and ask questions such as:
- When did you first notice blood in your urine? Has the amount of your urine increased or decreased?
- What is the color of your urine? Does your urine have an odor?
- Do you have any pain with urination or other symptoms of infection?
- Are you urinating more often, or is the need to urinate more urgent?
- What medicines are you taking?
- Have you had urinary or kidney problems in the past, or recently had surgery or an injury?
- Have you recently eaten foods that may cause a change in color, like beets, berries, or rhubarb?
Tests that may be done include:
The treatment will depend on the cause of blood in the urine.
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How Are Chronic Utis Treated
If you have recurrent or chronic UTIs, your doctor may send you to a urologist who specializes in diseases of the urinary system. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, some of the ways that recurrent UTIs are evaluated and treated include:
- Testing The doctor will want to take a urine sample to test for bacteria and white blood cells. It may be necessary to do special X-ray studies to see if there is an obstruction or stones in the urinary tract. A urologist may look into your bladder by passing a special scope through the opening into your bladder. This exam is called cystoscopy.
- Antibiotics for Treatment Normally, UTIs responds very well to antibiotics, and you may only need to take medication for a few days. For recurrent UTIs, antibiotics may be needed for 10 days or more.
- Surgery In some cases of prostate disease, stones, or other obstruction of the urinary system, surgery may be done to restore normal flow of urine and help clear up infections.
- Antibiotics for Prevention Some strategies to prevent recurrent UTIs with antibiotics include taking low-dose antibiotics for six months or taking antibiotics after sexual intercourse.
- Frequent Urine Testing Women who have recurrent UTIs may benefit from testing their urine frequently with a dipstick that warns of any bacteria in the urine.
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Seek Medical Attention For Utis
It is important to seek medical attention if you think you may have a UTI particularly if you think you may have a bladder or kidney infection, both of which are very serious conditions. Early treatment of urinary infection can help to prevent infection spreading to the bladder or kidneys.
Your doctor will test your urine to check which micro-organism is present. Urinary tract infections usually respond quickly and well to antibiotics.
What To Do If You See It
It sounds strange, but you may not always know that you have blood in your urine. Sometimes, thereâs so little that it only shows up under a microscope when your doctor is testing you for something else. When you can see it, it can be alarming. But most of the time, the causes arenât serious. In some cases, though, the symptom points to a bigger health problem.So you should always let your doctor know about it.
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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.
Diabetes And Urinary Tract Infections Things You Need To Know
By Tammy Shifflett RN, BSN, CDE, CPT
In this article we will cover everything you need to know about diabetes and your risk for Urinary Tract Infections. Do you have an increased risk of Urinary Tract Infections now that you have diabetes?
We will cover what a Urinary Tract Infection is, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment guidelines, as well as why they are more common in people with diabetes.
More importantly, we will discuss steps you can take to prevent them!
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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.
Pelvic And/or Rectal Pain
Often UTI pain is not as localized to the genitalia or urinary tract as one would expect. It is common for there to be diffuse pain in the pelvis and a person cannot isolate the pain to one exact spot. While pelvic pain is a common complaint in women with UTIs, men often complain of rectal pain as well. Sometimes the rectal pain is mistaken for a problem with the colon especially if there are little to no urinary symptoms present. It is also not uncommon for a person to experience this diffuse pelvic pain for days or even weeks before more specific urinary symptoms arise.
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Is It Possible To Treat A Uti At Home Without The Use Of Antibiotics
Most UTIs require treatment with antibiotics. When certain groups of people, including people with a penis, have a UTI, the infection is usually considered to be complicated. Delaying treatment of complicated UTIs can lead to complications, such as a kidney infection or sepsis. If you are experiencing symptoms of a UTI, visit a doctor or healthcare professional and have a urine test performed.
When To See A Healthcare Provider
Bleeding for any reason outside of your typical menstrual period warrants a visit to your healthcare provider. If you suspect that a yeast infection is to blame for the bleeding and it continues following treatment and resolution of other symptoms, talk to your healthcare provider because it could be a sign of another health issue.
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