Infections Can Also Be Caused By:
- Kidney stones, enlarged prostates, and other conditions that obstruct the urinary tract, preventing proper emptying of urine from the body
- Spinal cord injury and other conditions that prevent you from properly emptying your bladder
- Menopause or medications that alter the hormones in your body, thus changing the bacterial environment in your urinary tract system
- Any condition that suppresses the immune system
- Certain sexually transmitted infections, including chlamydia, herpes, gonorrhea, and mycoplasma
In rare cases, a virus or fungus can cause UTIs.
Ask The Expert: Urinary Tract Infections And Asymptomatic Bacteruria
Professor of Obstetrics and GynecologyDartmouth Geisel School of Medicine
Q: What is a urinary tract infection and what causes it?
A: A UTI is an infection in your urinary tract . Your UT includes your kidneys, bladder, and the tubes that connect them. Your urinary tract makes urine and eliminates it from your body.
Most UTIs develop when bacteria usually from your feces enter your bladder. This can cause a bladder infection. If the bacteria spread farther up through the urinary tract to your kidneys, they can cause a kidney infection. Kidney infections can sometimes cause serious illnesses that require treatment with intravenous antibiotics.
Q: As you get older are you more likely to have UTIs? Can anything else increase your risk of getting UTIs?
A: The odds of getting a UTI increase with age, especially in women. In fact, UTIs are one of the most common infections among older adults.
UTIs are also more common among people who:
- Have problems with bladder control and leak urine
- Have kidney stones, an enlarged prostate gland, or other health problem that can block the flow of urine through your urinary tract
- Live in a nursing home
Q: What symptoms do UTIs cause in older adults?
A: Symptoms of UTIs in older adults can include:
- Pain or burning when you urinate
- Pain on one side of your back, below your ribs
- Feeling as though you have to urinate often, even though little urine comes out when you try
- Urine that is cloudy or smells bad
- Fever, nausea, or vomiting
Diagnosis Treatment And Prevention
Because it does not present with symptoms, this type of UTI can only be diagnosed through a urine culture examination.
Once the condition is isolated, doctors typically prescribe a single dose antibiotic for UTI.
However, except for cases enumerated above, most people without symptoms do not bother to have this procedure done. However there may be instances when bacteria growth does not require treatment because no worrisome symptoms affect the patients daily activities.
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Drink Plenty Of Liquids
Drinking plenty of liquids, particularly water, will help to wash bacteria from your bladder and urinary tract.
Drinking cranberry juice or taking cranberry extracts may also help prevent urinary tract infections . However, you should avoid cranberry juice or extracts if you’re taking warfarin, a medicine used to prevent blood clots. Cranberry juice can make the effects of warfarin more potent, so there’s a risk of excessive bleeding.
Infectious Disease And Your Kidneys
What would you do if you had a fever with irritation or pain when you urinate? Would you wait a few days and then make an appointment to see a doctor? Dont wait. Those symptoms might be from a bladder infection. Bladder infections need to be treated. If a bladder infection is not resolved, it may lead to a kidney infection.
Kidney infections are rare, but they can cause a number of problems. Urine is one of the body fluids that normally have no bacteria. When the bladder is infected with bacteria, the bacteria in the bladder can travel up to the kidney. If this happens, you may have pain in the back or side, chills and fever, irritation or pain when urinating, or orangecolored urine . Nausea and vomiting can also occur. Urine is checked for bacteria in several ways. A test of the kidney, such as a scan or an ultrasound may be ordered. A kidney infection is called pyelonephritis.
Most kidney infections start as bladder infections. Bladder infections usually get better with antibiotics in otherwise healthy people. The goal of antibiotics is to kill the bacteria in the bladder and prevent it from spreading. One dose is not enough you need to finish all of the pills in the prescription to be sure the bacteria are gone. If you still have symptoms when you finish the pills, you should call your doctor. You might need another or a different prescription.
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What Are The Symptoms Of A Uti
One of the most common symptoms of a UTI is a frequent and urgent need to pee. You might feel like you need to pee all the time, even if you just went. Other UTI symptoms include:
pain or burning when you pee
bad-smelling or cloudy urine
blood or pus in your urine
soreness, pressure, or cramps in your lower belly, back, or sides
If the infection goes to your kidneys, your UTI symptoms may also include:
pain in your mid-back
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Monitor Weight And Eat A Healthy Diet
People who are overweight or obese are at risk for a number of health conditions that can damage the kidneys. These include diabetes, heart disease, and kidney disease.
A healthy diet thats low in sodium, processed meats, and other kidney-damaging foods may help reduce the risk of kidney damage. Focus on eating fresh ingredients that are naturally low-sodium, such as cauliflower, blueberries, fish, whole grains, and more.
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Practice Good Hygiene After Sex And Ask Your Partner To Too
Overall health with increased water intake and exercise is the best way to improve health and help with decreasing UTIs, Dr. Shepherd shares. This includes good hygiene and being diligent about cleaning all of your lady parts. And make sure your partner does, too. Bacteria from sexual intercourse is one of the most common ways women can get a UTI, Dr. Shepherd explains.
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How To Treat Uti Symptoms
UTI symptoms can only be treated by eliminating the underlying infection, though over-the-counter analgesics will help with pain or fever. There are few treatment options for the infection itself outside of antibiotics. Several different antibiotics may be prescribed depending on the type of UTI and the bacteria involved. Bactrim is commonly used as a first-line agent, but other common antibiotics prescribed include amoxicillin, ampicillin, fluoroquinolones, cephalosporins, gentamicin, and nitrofurantoin. While there are natural remedies and lifestyle changes, such as drinking cranberry juice, that may help reduce the incidence of UTIs, they are not effective at combating an active infection.
Treatment source: Urinary tract infections in adults, American Family Physician
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Can Beer Cause Bladder Infections
Despite the fact that alcohol is not directly linked to UTIs, drinking excessive amounts of alcohol may increase your chances of getting a UTI. A UTI is caused by bacteria in the bladder that cause irritation and inflammation. It is therefore unlikely that alcohol will cause an UTI directly because it cannot generate bacteria in the bladder.
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When Should I See A Doctor About A Painful Bladder
As a woman, you may be familiar with the sensations that accompany urinary tract infections . Women are affected more often than men, and prompt treatment is key to both relieving the painful symptoms as well as preventing complications from the infection spreading to the kidneys and beyond.
However, UTIs arent the only cause of bladder pain or discomfort. Other conditions can cause similar symptoms, some of which again affect women than men. Understanding these less common conditions can help you make sound decisions about your health care. Contact Southeast Urogyn any time bladder pain concerns you or interferes with your daily life.
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Apple Cider Vinegar For Utis
Apple cider vinegar is widely known and used for its amazing health benefits, and its a natural remedy for UTIs, too. Its acidifying nature is great at clearing UTIs, and it helps prevent bacteria from spreading, stopping the infection before it reaches the kidneys. Try Braggs organic raw apple cider vinegar. Its gluten-free and contains Mother of Vinegar, a healthy bacteria that occurs naturally as strand-like enzymes of connected protein molecules. Its also loaded with vitamins and prebiotics, which relieve and prevent UTIs.
A version of this article first appeared in our print magazine.
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 Does A Woman Get A Urinary Tract Infection Or Uti
Women are more at risk maybe because they have shorter urethras, which allow bacteria quick access to the bladder. Having sex can introduce bacteria into the urinary tract and increase the chance of getting a UTI.
Most of the time this health problem is not serious, but sometimes it could lead you to a serious problem by damaging your kidney, particularly if septicemia occurs. Because of UTIs, women can deliver low birth weight or premature infants.
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Is It Safe To Take Antibiotics Long
While there are some common side effects and risk for creating antibiotic-resistant bacteria, it is safe to take antibiotics preventively under the guidance of your physician.
If you have recurring UTIs , you may benefit from a low-dose prophylactic antibiotic, Dr. Sussman said. Some may require intermittent treatment at the sign of symptoms, while others may require a single dose after sexual intercourse or when symptoms occur. However, its important you discuss the underlying causes with your doctor before being prescribed antibiotics prophylactically.
What About Kidney Stones Are They Involved Here Somehow
Sort of. A kidney stone isnt an infection, but a collection of salt and minerals that hardens and turns into a stone. While some stones may be small others can be much larger. They may stay in the kidney, or begin to move into the ureter, the tube that connects the kidney and the bladder. When this happens, kidney stones can become extremely painful.
Kidney stones can be tricky, since they may have many of the same symptoms as a UTI or a kidney infection pain when urinating, needing to urinate often, and cloudy or strong smelling urine, blood in the urine, fever, nausea or vomiting. And while stones often pass on their own, larger stones sometimes need to be broken up, or removed.
Sometimes, kidney stones can lead to a urinary tract infection or a kidney infection, so its important to get them checked out by your doctor. And, since the symptoms are so similar, getting a checkup is probably a good idea anyway just to rule out the possibility of an infection, and to make sure the stone is moving along as it should.
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Outpatient Treatment With Oral Antibiotics Is Usually Successful In The Following Cases:
- Absence of nausea or vomiting
- Absence of signs of dehydration
- Disorders that weaken the immune system, such as certain types of cancer, diabetes mellitus, or AIDS
- No symptoms of severe infection, such as low blood pressure or confusion
- Pain control with medications taken by mouth
Otherwise, the person is usually initially treated in the hospital. If the person has to be hospitalised and needs treatment with antibiotics, these are given intravenously for 1 or 2 days after this first phase, they frequently run orally.
Surgery is needed only in rare cases if tests show that roughly is chronically blocking the urinary tract, such as a physical abnormality or a huge stone. However, removing the infected kidney may be necessary for people with chronic pyelonephritis who will soon have a kidney transplant. The spread of infection in the transplanted kidney is particularly risky because the person takes immunosuppressive drugs, which avoid rejection of the transplanted kidney and weaken the bodys ability to fight infection.
The ideal duration of this therapy is not known. If the disease reappears, preventive medicine establishes for an indefinite time.
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Can Men Get Utis From Women
Men can get UTIs from women during sex, by getting the bacteria from a woman with the infection. However, this is unlikely.
Typically, the infection arises from bacteria that are already present in the mans body.
A doctor can diagnose a UTI by carrying out a physical examination, taking a medical history, and through laboratory tests.
The doctor may perform a physical examination that includes:
- checking the vital signs
- checking the abdomen, bladder area, sides, and back for pain or swelling
- examining the genitals
The doctor may ask if the person has had other UTIs in the past, or a family history of UTIs.
They may also question the person about their symptoms.
Laboratory tests are required to diagnose the infection as the symptoms of a UTI can be common to other diseases.
A urine sample is usually needed to look for the presence of pus and the bacteria causing the infection.
Men may be asked to give a urine sample. A man will need to start the urine stream to clean the urethra, and then collect a midstream sample in a cup. As bacteria multiply quickly at room temperature, this urine sample is either sent to the laboratory immediately or kept refrigerated until later.
The doctor may also ask for a urine test strip, also known as a urine dipstick test. This is a quick test in which a plastic or paper ribbon is dipped into the urine sample and then removed. If the person has a UTI, the ribbon will turn a particular color.
Where Is Kidney Pain Located
Your kidneys sit in the area called your flank, which is positioned mid-back, under your rib cage, on either side of your spine. When your kidneys hurt, you feel the pain in this flank area.
Depending on the issue, you may also feel pain in your sides and groin.
There are several other organs in this area, along with muscles and bones. Your medical provider can help determine where the pain is originating.
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What Is The Difference Between Back Pain & Kidney Pain
Because your kidneys are located below your ribcage and towards your back, it can be difficult to tell whether the pain youre experiencing is back pain or kidney pain.
Sinceback pain is so common, its easy for people who are actually experiencing kidney issues to brush the pain off as normal back pain.
This can be dangerous, especially if the underlying cause of kidney pain is a condition that requires immediate medical treatment.
Your symptoms can help you determine whether youre experiencing back or kidney pain.
The type of pain and its severity can also help you understand the source of your pain.
In this guide, Ill break down the causes of back and kidney pain, and provide you with tips for identifying the source of your pain. Ill also tell you when its best to talk to your doctor.
Complications Of A Kidney Infection
If it isnt treated promptly, a kidney infection can lead to a number of potentially serious complications.
Youre more likely to develop a complication from a kidney infection if you have:
- Prior kidney disease
- A history of kidney infections
- A structural abnormality in your urinary tract
The following complications can result from a kidney infection:
High Blood Pressure Your blood pressure can rise to unhealthy levels as your immune system tries to fight your infection.
Kidney Failure If its serious enough, an infection can stop your kidneys from effectively removing waste products from your blood.
Scarring If you develop scars in your kidneys from an infection, your kidneys may not be able to function properly, potentially leading to chronic kidney disease.
Blood Infection One of the main jobs of your kidneys is to filter waste products out of your blood. A kidney infection can spread to your entire bloodstream in this process.
A bloodstream infection can, in turn, lead to sepsis, which is a severe inflammatory reaction to bacteria. Sepsis can be life-threatening.
Renal or Perinephric Abscess If the infection in your kidney is not treated promptly, the bacteria may create an abscess, or pocket of pus, inside or next to your kidney.
Pregnancy Complications A kidney infection during pregnancy raises the risk of low birth weight in your baby.
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