Risk Factors For A Urinary Tract Infection
Risk factors for UTIs include age, sex, and sexual activity. Mayo Clinic notes that women have shorter urethras the tube through which urine travels from the bladder compared to men. This shorter distance means women have a greater likelihood of external bacteria reaching their bladder, resulting in a UTI. Sexual activity, especially unprotected sex with a new partner, increases your risk for a UTI due to exposure to foreign bacteria.
Furthermore, some birth control methods primarily spermicides and diaphragms can increase your UTI risk. According to AARP, postmenopausal woman have a higher risk for UTIs than younger women due to changing pelvic anatomy and reduced estrogen levels. Once youve had one UTI, you are at elevated risk for recurrent infections .
Since rheumatoid arthritis is more likely to occur in women than in men and is most often diagnosed in people of reproductive age, you may find yourself facing multiple UTI risk factors at once.
When Should I Call My Healthcare Provider
- Back pain.
If you have any of these symptoms, or your other symptoms continue after treatment, call your healthcare provider. A UTI can spread throughout your urinary tract and into other parts of your body. However, treatment is very effective and can quickly relieve your symptoms.
Complications Of Urinary Tract Infections
Urinary tract infections are an extremely common condition, and most people recover quickly with antibiotic treatment. However, if left untreated the infection can spread throughout the urinary tract system, increasing in severity and causing complications.
In some cases, the infection can reach the kidneys in the upper urinary tract, an infection known as pyelonephritis. Without medical intervention, this can lead to permanent kidney damage. Possible complications from untreated UTIs include:
- Formation of abscesses within or around the kidneys
- Swelling of the kidneys, also known as hydronephrosis
- , also known as blood poisoning
All of these complications are serious and require immediate medical attention.
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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.
What Can I Do If I Have Bladder Pain From Foods
Living with bladder irritation can be uncomfortable. But you can take steps to remove irritants from your diet and reduce pain. Avoid foods that irritate your bladder, and remember that water is important. Drinking enough water helps you feel more comfortable after you eat foods that irritate your bladder.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Bladder discomfort can be frustrating and even embarrassing. Conditions like IC can make you feel like you need to pee even after youve already gone to the bathroom, and your bladder can hurt a lot. But you can get help to reduce irritation. Talk to your healthcare provider about your bladder irritation and possible food and drink causes.
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You Dont Pee After Sex
The threat of getting a UTI shouldnt stop you from getting it on. But that doesnt mean resigning yourself to the afterburn.
One simple way to cut your risk: Head to the potty after youve finished your romp. Youll possibly flush out the bacteria that may have made their way into your urinary tract. Urinary Tract Infection. .
What Causes A Recurrent Urinary Tract Infection
Urinary tract infections are often caused when bacteria from the vagina or anus gets into and travels through the urinary system.
A common cause of a recurrent UTI is that some bacteria from a previous UTI may remain in the urinary tract system. In these cases, it may not have been completely eradicated the last time it was treated.
Another common cause of a recurring UTI could be related to your habits, such as:
- Not urinating frequently enough to flush your system
- Not urinating after sexual intercourse
- Wiping incorrectly
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Urinary Tract Infection Symptoms
People with multiple risk factors for UTIs, like taking methotrexate and living with an autoimmune condition, should be aware of the symptoms of a UTI. The earlier you identify a UTI, the easier it will be to treat it. Common UTI symptoms include:
- Frequent urination
- Burning or stinging sensation while urinating
- Cloudy, red, pink, or dark urine that has a strong odor
- Pelvic pain
If you have any of these symptoms, book an appointment with your health care provider. They may have you provide a urine sample so that they can run tests and determine whether you do have a UTI. These tests, along with your symptoms and risk factors, will help your doctor decide how to treat the infection.
Get Your Prescription Filled Right Away
Once you are done with your appointment and have received a prescription for an antibiotic, its important you get it filled at a pharmacy as soon as possible. The faster you start taking your medication, the faster your UTI will be gone.
If you usually use next-day prescription delivery or a mail order pharmacy, this is one time when you should avoid doing this. These options can cause a delay by anywhere from 1 day to 1 week . Youre better off using a local pharmacy in this case.
If going into the pharmacy is a concern due to COVID-19, many pharmacies have added options to help minimize the amount of time you are inside the building. Some options to ask about at your pharmacy include:
Same-day delivery through services like Instacart
Using the pharmacys drive-thru pick-up window
Paying ahead of time through the pharmacys smartphone app to make your time spent at the checkout counter faster
Every pharmacy is different, so make sure to ask your personal pharmacy if these options are available at your location.
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.
Urinary Tract Infection Symptoms And Signs
Symptoms of a urinary tract infection are similar in men, women, and children.
- Early symptoms and signs are usually easy to recognize and primarily involve pain, discomfort, or burning when trying to urinate.
- Accompanying this can be the sense that one needs to urinate urgently or the need for frequent urination . Even when there is a strong urge to urinate, you may pass only a small amount of urine.
- The urine itself may appear bloody or cloudy. Men may feel pain in the rectum, while women may experience pain around the pubic bone.
What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of Utis
UTIs can cause such signs as:
- pain, burning, or a stinging sensation when peeing
- an increased urge or more frequent need to pee
- waking up at night a lot to go to the bathroom
- belly pain in the area of the bladder
- foul-smelling pee that may look cloudy or contain blood
If you have any symptoms of a UTI, youâll need to go to a doctor right away. The sooner you begin treatment, the less uncomfortable youâll be. Call your doctorâs office or clinic. If you canât reach your doctor, you can visit an urgent care center or hospital emergency room. The most important thing is to take action as soon as possible.
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Cranberry Is An Excellent Remedy
Cranberry has long been used to address UTIs and is recommended by many doctors. Multiple studies have found that cranberry was as effective as antibiotics, and produced no side effects. One randomized, placebo-controlled study reported that, over a 24-week period, women who consumed cranberry juice did not experience a recurrence of infection. Cranberry juice with high concentrations of antioxidants, specifically proanthocyanidins, appears to be a helpful defense for UTIs in children.
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How Can You Avoid Genital Warts
- Get vaccinated against HPV.
- Certain types of HPV vaccines protect against the low-risk HPV that causes 90% of genital warts.
- HPV vaccine is safe for all females 9 to 26 years old.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends all 11-12 year old girls get the HPV vaccine.
Prevention Of Utis In The Elderly
Its important to address the issue in advance in the attempt to prevent UTIs in seniors. Several urinary tract infection prevention methods exist, including:
- Reminding the individual to drink plenty of water , as proper hydration keeps the urinary tract in good health
- Avoiding consumption of alcohol and caffeine as much as possible
- Encouraging the senior to use the restroom frequently, at least every three hours
- Promptly caring for soiled materials due to incontinence
- Wiping from front to back when using the restroom
- Promoting good hygiene, such as daily showers, and avoiding baths and special care should be taken if the senior citizen uses a urinary catheter
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Uti Causes And Risk Factors
Prostatitis, which is an infection of the prostate, shares many of the same symptoms as UTIs.
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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Diagnosing A Urinary Tract Infection In Older Adults
Vague, uncommon symptoms such as confusion make UTIs challenging to diagnose in many older adults. Once your doctor suspects a UTI, its easily confirmed with a simple urinalysis.
Your doctor may perform a urine culture to determine the type of bacteria causing the infection and the best antibiotic to treat it.
There are home UTI tests that check urine for nitrates and leukocytes. Both are often present in UTIs. Because bacteria are often in the urine of older adults to some degree, these tests arent always accurate. Call your doctor if you take a home test and get a positive result.
More severe infections may require a broad-spectrum antibiotic such as ciprofloxacin and levofloxacin .
You should start antibiotics as soon as possible and take them for the entire duration of treatment as prescribed by your doctor. Stopping treatment early, even if symptoms resolve, increases the risks of recurrence and antibiotic resistance.
Antibiotic overuse also increases your risk for antibiotic resistance. For this reason, your doctor will likely prescribe the shortest treatment course possible. Treatment typically lasts no more than 7 days, and your infection should clear up in a few days.
Its important to drink plenty of water during treatment to help flush out the remaining bacteria.
How Can I Take Care Of Myself
- Follow your healthcare provider’s treatment. Take all of the antibiotic that your healthcare provider prescribes, even when you feel better. Do not take medicine left over from previous prescriptions.
- Drink more fluids, especially water, to help flush bacteria from your system.
- If you have a fever:
- Take aspirin or acetaminophen to control the fever. Check with your healthcare provider before you give any medicine that contains aspirin or salicylates to a child or teen. This includes medicines like baby aspirin, some cold medicines, and Pepto Bismol. Children and teens who take aspirin are at risk for a serious illness called Reye’s syndrome.
- Keep a daily record of your temperature.
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Other Ways To Prevent Recurring Utis
If you have more than 3 UTIs in 1 year, or 2 UTIs in 6 months, there are other things that may help prevent UTIs.
There is some evidence that women under 65 years old who keep getting UTIs may find it helpful to take:
- a supplement called D-mannose this is not recommended for pregnant women
- cranberry products, such as juice or tablets
Speak to your doctor before taking any of these during pregnancy.
Be aware that D-mannose and cranberry products can contain a lot of sugar.
Page last reviewed: 18 November 2020 Next review due: 18 November 2023
Complications Of Utis In Seniors
A UTI that goes untreated in anyone can lead to complications. However, elderly individuals have a higher risk of complications from urinary tract infections than any other category of individual.
- Kidney damage. A typical UTI can become more difficult to treat and tolerate if it moves into the kidneys. In addition, it can cause scarring on the kidneys, which leads to potential for hypertension and kidney failure.
- . Because kidney function can be reduced, some of the waste the kidneys would normally filter out and push from the body with urination may flow back into the bloodstream, leading to illness, which is difficult on the seniors immune system.
- . In the same process, the infection may enter the bloodstream, leading to blood poisoning that is a life threatening issue.
- Worsening dementia. While the symptoms of confusion that a UTI causes in the elderly may not directly lead to dementia, if the condition develops in a patient who already has dementia, a urinary tract infection could cause a quicker progression of dementia, leading to worsening overall health for the elderly patient.
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Can I Become Immune To The Antibiotics Used To Treat A Uti
Your body can actually get used to the antibiotics typically used to treat a urinary tract infection . This happens in people who have very frequent infections. With each UTI and use of antibiotics to treat it, the infection adapts and becomes harder to fight. This is called an antibiotic-resistant infection. Because of this, your healthcare provider may suggest alternative treatments if you have frequent UTIs. These could include:
- Waiting: Your provider may suggest that you watch your symptoms and wait. During this time, you may be encouraged to drink plenty of fluids in an effort to flush out your system.
- Intravenous treatment: In some very complicated cases, where the UTI is resistant to antibiotics or the infection has moved to your kidneys, you may need to be treated in the hospital. The medicine will be given to you directly in your vein . Once youre home, you will be prescribed antibiotics for a period of time to fully get rid of the infection.