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
Avoid Alcohol And Coffee
The kidneys most important role is to filter out harmful substances and toxins, and both alcohol and caffeine can require extra work from the kidneys. This may hinder the process of healing from an infection.
Alcohol and antibiotics also shouldnt be mixed, so avoid alcohol during your treatment for this reason as well.
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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Ive Gained My Life Back: New Tests May Help Those With Persistent Urinary Tract Infections
In 2015, Jessica Price, a 29-year-old Air Force veteran in Illinois, started experiencing urinary tract infection symptoms, including an unrelenting urge to urinate and bladder pain. But standard dipstick testing, where a doctor dips a plastic stick into a urine sample to check it for signs of bacteria, kept coming back negative. Based on her symptoms and the negative tests, doctors told Price she had interstitial cystitis , an incurable syndrome of unknown cause and suggested several invasive procedures that only worsened her pain.
I was on more medications than I can remember, none of which helped and some which made the symptoms worse, she remembers. The urologists told me things such as, This is just like having blue or brown eyes you were destined to have it.
But when a nurse practitioner turned to a new type of test that used DNA analysis of her urine, she found bacteria she said was abnormal, and Price began two years of antibiotic treatments that after some time finally brought her relief.
Other Ways To Ease Bladder Pain
Of course, if either a UTI or urinary stasis is causing your bladder pain, youll need prescription medication.
But your discomfort could be just another uncomfortable symptom of pregnancy. You may be happy to hear that there is, in fact, a beneficial tool you can use. Look for something called a maternity support belt.
This is an excellent tool to support your growing belly. It will take some of the pressure off your bladder by elevating your bump. It was something magical I discovered in my second pregnancy, and Im so glad I did.
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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.
How To Get Rid Of A Bladder Infection Fast
If youre reading this post, youre likely in the midst of a bladder infection or urinary tract infection and are in some serious need of relief now! We get it UTIs are no fun they can be really painful, leave you rushing to the bathroom nonstop, and can even lead to leaks. So its no wonder youre researching quick cures for bladder infections.
The best thing you can do for fast relief from a bladder infection is to is see your doctor, and get an antibiotic.
Antibiotics kill the bacteria that causes bladder infections and are the best way to stop a UTI in its tracks. They typically work pretty quickly, although be sure to take your medication for the full course, even if youre feeling better sooner than that. So, if youve been experiencing a UTI for more than a couple of days, make an appointment with your doctor now to get treatment.
What Is The Prognosis For A Urinary Tract Infection
A good prognosis is usual for spontaneously resolved and quickly treated UTIs. Even patients that have rapidly developed symptoms and early pyelonephritis can have a good prognosis if quickly and adequately treated. The prognosis begins to decline if the UTI is not quickly recognized or treated.
Elderly and immunosuppressed patients may not have the UTI recognized early their prognosis may range from fair to poor, depending on how much damage is done to the urinary tract or if complications like sepsis occur.
Like adults, most adequately treated children will have a good prognosis. Children and adults with recurrent UTIs may develop complications and a worse prognosis recurrent UTIs may be a symptom of an underlying problem with the urinary tract structure. These patients should be referred to a specialist for further evaluation.
Can Urinary Tract Infections Be Prevented Or Avoided
There are many lifestyle choices that can help you prevent UTIs. These are some of the things you can do to protect yourself from them:
- Drink plenty of water to flush out bacteria. For some people, drinking cranberry juice may also help prevent urinary tract infections. However, if youre taking warfarin, check with your doctor before using cranberry juice to prevent urinary tract infections. Your doctor may need to adjust your warfarin dose or you may need to have more frequent blood tests.
- Dont hold your urine. Urinate when you feel like you need to. Some children dont go to the bathroom often enough. If your child does this, teach him or her to go to the bathroom several times each day.
- Wipe from front to back after bowel movements. Teach your child to wipe correctly.
- Urinate after having sex to help wash away bacteria.
- Use enough lubrication during sex. Try using a small amount of lubricant before sex if youre a little dry.
- If you get urinary tract infections often, you may want to avoid using a diaphragm as a birth control method. Ask your doctor about other birth control choices.
- Avoid taking or giving your child bubble baths.
- Wear loose-fitting clothing , and dress your child in loose-fitting clothing.
- If you are uncircumcised, wash the foreskin regularly. If you have an uncircumcised boy, teach him how to wash his foreskin.
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How Is Bladder Pain Syndrome Treated
There is no cure for bladder pain syndrome. But your doctor will try different treatments to figure out how to improve your symptoms.
The first treatment many people try includes steps you can take at home. Sometimes, by changing what you eat, you can make your symptoms go away. But even when symptoms do go away, they may return days or years later.
If your symptoms do not get better, other treatments your doctor may suggest include:10
Why Its Important To Find The Right Practitioner
While you may be able to request UTI testing independently, the results have limited usefulness without a practitioner who can interpret the information and prescribe an appropriate treatment regimen.
Because the types of UTI testing covered above are not widely available, many practitioners may not be aware of them at all. Or they may be aware of them but have no experience using them, or may believe them to be unhelpful.
Always find a practitioner to work with before ordering testing. Weve covered recurrent UTI treatment approaches in a separate article, so dive in there for more insight.
|With Microbiome testing, you dont often get one bacteria. Certainly, I have found the usual suspects like E. coli. Ive even detected some STIs, and anaerobes that cant be grown by culture. Sometimes, you get long lists of bacteria that we know very little about, and Ill do extensive literature searches and sometimes barely come up with one or two papers. And so what I generally do in that situation is to try and figure out which are likely to be pathogenic, and treat those. This is a really different way of prescribing antibiotics compared to when I was trained.|
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Interstitial Cystitis: A Severe Form Of Bladder Pain Syndrome
More than three million American women live with pelvic pain related to interstitial cystitis, a condition in which the bladder wall becomes irritated and inflamed, according to the NIDDK. Interstitial cystitis is a severe form of bladder pain syndrome, Siddiqui says.
Bladder discomfort from interstitial cystitis may range from tenderness to severe pain, according to the institute. Another clue that interstitial cystitis is the culprit: Menstruation tends to worsen bladder pain.
Interstitial cystitis is not caused by a urinary tract infection, although the symptoms may worsen if you have interstitial cystitis and get a UTI. While the cause is not understood, according to the NIDDK, certain events or factors seem to trigger flares in symptoms. These include stress, changes in diet, allergies, and taking certain drugs, among other things.
Treatment options for interstitial cystitis include distending the bladder, taking oral medication, physical therapy, and using electrical nerve stimulation to alleviate pain, but there is no known cure. In severe cases, where other treatments havent worked, sometimes surgery is an option.
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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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Drink Lots Of Water And Empty Your Bladder Often
According to Chicago-based OB/GYN, Jessica Shepherd, MD, drinking lots of water when you are experiencing UTI symptoms can help flush away the bacteria. Draining your bladder frequently is essential to getting rid of the bacteria, Dr. Shepherd explains. The more water you drink, the more youll have to relieve yourself.
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Myth: A Uti Will Go Away On Its Own
Fact: Asymptomatic bacteriuria, which is a UTI without symptoms, could go away without treatment. However, UTIs with symptoms rarely resolve on their own.
If you are experiencing UTI symptoms, like burning, pain or frequency, talk with your health care team about obtaining a urine culture and the right treatment for you.
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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.
Avoid Food And Beverages That May Irritate The Bladder
The most common bladder irritants are alcohol, caffeinated drinks, carbonated beverages, and spicy dishes.
Both caffeine and alcohol have been found to increase bladder spasming, which can make UTI pain worse. And when men and women increased their intake of coffee or soda, they had higher chances of getting UTI symptoms.
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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 youre 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
Probiotic are known to offer great support for your bodys flora.
As a result, they will establish a line of defense for your body.
From here to staying healthy in the long run, it will be quite easy to achieve those results! Its one of the better ways to get rid of a UTI pain out there!
Also, check out this awesome video on Top 7 Home Remedies for UTIs
You can find lots of home remedies to get rid of a UTI with antibiotics out there.
Just because you deal with UTI, that doesnt mean you need to handle that pain as well.
So, try to use these great natural cures to get rid of a UTI and tips to help you deal with the problem fast and easy!
Note- if you dont feel better in the next few days, please, consult your doctor.
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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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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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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