When To See Your Doctor
See your doctor right away if you have signs of a urinary tract infection. A bladder infection is generally not a medical emergency — but some people have a higher risk for complications. This includes pregnant women, the elderly, and men, as well as people with diabetes, kidney problems, or a weakened immune system.
Research And Statistics: Who Gets Urinary Tract Infections
In the United States, UTIs result in about 10 million doctor’s office visits annually. People of any age can get a UTI, though most commonly it affects women. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, 40 to 60 percent of women develop a UTI during their lives.
Twelve percent of men will have symptoms of at least one UTI during their lives, per the American Urological Association. While UTIs are uncommon in young men, the risk of infection increases with age, especially in men over 50.
Women are at greater risk of urinary tract infections for anatomical reasons: Women have a shorter urethra than men and their urethra is closer to the anus, which means the bacteria that live there dont have to travel far to infect the bladder.
In children, UTIs are common and also occur more frequently in girls than boys. About 3 percent of girls and 1 percent of boys will have a UTI by the time they’re 11 years old.
Utis And Hospital Stays
A hospital stay can put you at risk for a UTI, particularly if you need to use a catheter. This is a thin tube that’s inserted through the urethra to carry urine out of the body. Bacteria can enter through the catheter and reach the bladder. This is more often a problem for older adults who require prolonged hospital stays or who live in long-term care facilities.
What Causes Urinary Tract Infections
Large numbers of bacteria live in the rectal area and also on your skin. Bacteria may get into the urine from the urethra and travel into the bladder. It may even travel up to the kidney. But no matter how far it goes, bacteria in the urinary tract can cause problems.
Just as some people are more prone to colds, some people are more prone to UTIs. Women who have gone through menopause have a change in the lining of the vagina and lose the protective effects of estrogen that decrease the likelihood of UTIs. Postmenopausal women with UTIs may benefit from hormone replacement. Some women are genetically predisposed to UTIs and have urinary tracts that allow bacteria to adhere to it more readily. Sexual intercourse also increases the frequency of UTIs.
Women who use diaphragms have also been found to have an increased risk when compared to those using other forms of birth control. Using condoms with spermicidal foam is also known to be associated with an increase in UTIs in women. Women are more prone to UTIs because they have shorter urethras than men so bacteria have a shorter distance to travel to reach the bladder.
You are more likely to get a UTI if your urinary tract has an abnormality or has recently been instrumented . If you are unable to urinate normally because of some type of obstruction, you will also have a higher chance of a UTI.
What Is A Urinary Tract Infection
A urinary tract infection is an infection of the urinary system. This type of infection can involve your urethra , kidneys or bladder, .
Your urine typically doesnt contain bacteria . Urine is a byproduct of our filtration systemthe kidneys. When waste products and excess water is removed from your blood by the kidneys, urine is created. Normally, urine moves through your urinary system without any contamination. However, bacteria can get into the urinary system from outside of the body, causing problems like infection and inflammation. This is a urinary tract infection .
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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.
What If The Infection Does Not Clear Up With Treatment
Most infections clear up with treatment. However, if an infection does not clear up, or if you have repeated infections, you may be given some special tests such as:
a type of x-ray called an intravenous pyleogram , which involves injecting a dye into a vein and taking pictures of your kidney and bladder
an ultrasound exam, which gives a picture of your kidneys and bladder using sound waves
a cytoscopic exam, which uses a hollow tube with special lenses to look inside the bladder.
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It Can Introduce New Bacteria
Sexual activity is one of the most common ways bacteria get into the urinary tract. Ninety percent of UTIs are the result of Escherichia coli bacteria that have found their way into the urethra and beyond.
E. coli bacteria are most often found in the gastrointestinal tract or feces. These bacteria may move from the anus or GI tract onto you or your partners hands, mouth, genitals, or a sex toy.
Sex can also push bacteria further into your body through penetration, which sets up a higher likelihood of an infection. If you already have a UTI, penetration may reinfect you or introduce a new source of bacteria. This can lead to a longer recovery time.
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The purpose of the Southern Cross Medical Library is to provide information of a general nature to help you better understand certain medical conditions. Always seek specific medical advice for treatment appropriate to you. This information is not intended to relate specifically to insurance or healthcare services provided by Southern Cross. For more articles go to the Medical Library index page.
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Why Does My Bladder Infection Keep Coming Back
My doctor keeps giving me antibiotics, but the infection keeps coming back. What can I do? Several factors make women more likely to get recurrent bladder infections, a type of urinary tract infection . These factors include: Bacteria entering the urethra the tube that carries urine from your body during intercourse
My wonderful 90-year-old mother has been plagued with bladder infections all year and has been on 20 antibiotics. Now she has c. diff. and is struggling to recover. The bladder infections make her dizzy, cranky and combative and exhausted, and the c. diff. is a nightmare.
Treatment is with antibiotics and removal of any urinary tract catheters and obstructions.
What Affects The Amount Of Urine You Produce
The amount of urine you produce depends on many factors, such as the amount of liquid and food you consume and the amount of fluid you lose through sweating and breathing. Certain medicines, medical conditions, and types of food can also affect the amount of urine you produce. Children produce less urine than adults.
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Risk Factors That Make You More Likely To Get A Uti
UTIs are much more common in women than men, and they’re especially rare in young and middle-aged men. This is partly due to the female anatomy women have shorter urethras, making it easier for bacteria to enter the bladder.
Having sex more frequently, and with new partners, can increase a person’s risk of developing a UTI. A womans urethra is located next to both the vagina and anus, enabling bacteria to easily travel into the urinary tract during sexual intercourse.
Other factors that can increase the risk of a UTI include:
- Wearing thong underwear
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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What Is The Prognosis For A Person With A Urinary Tract Infection
Urinary tract infections typically respond very well to treatment. A UTI can be uncomfortable before you start treatment, but once your healthcare provider identifies the type of bacteria and prescribes the right antibiotic medication, your symptoms should improve quickly. Its important to keep taking your medication for the entire amount of time your healthcare provider prescribed. If you have frequent UTIs or if your symptoms arent improving, your provider may test to see if its an antibiotic-resistant infection. These are more complicated infections to treat and may require intravenous antibiotics or alternative treatments.
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, you’ll need to go to a doctor right away. The sooner you begin treatment, the less uncomfortable you’ll be. Call your doctor’s office or clinic. If you can’t 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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Can A Person With Dementia Have A Bladder Problem
Urinary incontinence may be a small occasional leak, a trickling after passing urine, or total loss of bladder control. There are several different types of urinary incontinence. Probably the most common form in people with dementia is an overactive bladder. This gives the feeling of a sudden and intense need to go, and frequent urination.
Can Utis Be Prevented
A few things can help prevent UTIs. After peeing, girls should wipe from front to back with toilet paper. After BMs, wipe from front to back to avoid spreading bacteria from the rectal area to the urethra.
Also, go to the bathroom when needed and don’t hold the pee in. Pee that stays in the bladder gives bacteria a good place to grow.
Keep the genital area clean and dry. Girls should change their tampons and pads regularly during their periods. Bubble baths can irritate the vaginal area, so girls should take showers or plain baths. Avoid long exposure to moisture in the genital area by not wearing nylon underwear or wet swimsuits. Wearing underwear with cotton crotches is also helpful. Skip using feminine hygiene sprays or douches, as these can irritate the urethra.
If you are sexually active, go to the bathroom both before and within 15 minutes after sex. After sex, gently wash the genital area to remove any bacteria. Avoid sexual positions that irritate or hurt the urethra or bladder. Couples who use lubrication during sex should use a water-soluble lubricant such as K-Y Jelly.
Finally, drinking lots of water each day keeps the bladder active and bacteria-free.
UTIs are uncomfortable and often painful, but they’re common and easily treated. The sooner you contact your doctor, the sooner you’ll be able to get rid of the problem.
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Your Uretha Is Irritated After Having Sex
“I have many patients with urethritis after intercourse who believe they have UTIs, but when I culture before and after, the cultures are negative,” Rice says. People sometimes even call the UTI-like symptoms you can get from intercourse “honeymoon cystitis.”If this is what you’re dealing with, the symptoms should go away within a few days without antibiotics. “Often, if I prescribe natural supplements and bladder pain relief medications, the symptoms are limited to less than 24 hours,” Rice says. You should still consult your doctor, but don’t be surprised if they advise pain relief rather than antibiotics.
What Happens If An Antibiotic Doesn’t Work For A Urinary Tract Infection
Antibiotics are the mainstay of treatment for urinary tract infections , most of which are caused by a bacteria called Escherichia Coli . Infections of the lower urinary tract, which includes bladder infections , are the most common type of UTI and are usually treated with a 3-5 day course of antibiotics. Sometimes, however, the antibiotic prescribed to treat a bladder infection doesnt work.
If you suspect your antibiotic isnt working you should promptly contact your healthcare provider. Left untreated a UTI may become more serious and in rare cases cause permanent or life-threatening complications.
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What To Do If Your Child Has An Overactive Bladder
Your doctor may also want to check for constipation and take a sample of urine to analyze for infection or other abnormalities. Your child may also need to participate in voiding tests. These tests may include measuring the volume of urine and anything left in the bladder after voiding, or measuring the flow rate.
How Are Urinary Tract Infections Treated
You will need to treat a urinary tract infection. Antibiotics are medicines that kill bacteria and fight an infection. Antibiotics are typically used to treat urinary tract infections. Your healthcare provider will pick a drug that best treats the particular bacteria thats causing your infection. Some commonly used antibiotics can include:
- Quinolones .
Its very important that you follow your healthcare providers directions for taking the medicine. Dont stop taking the antibiotic because your symptoms go away and you start feeling better. If the infection is not treated completely with the full course of antibiotics, it can return.
If you have a history of frequent urinary tract infections, you may be given a prescription for antibiotics that you would take at the first onset of symptoms. Other patients may be given antibiotics to take every day, every other day, or after sexual intercourse to prevent the infection. Talk to your healthcare provider about the best treatment option for you if you have a history of frequent UTIs.
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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
A Pharmacist Can Help With Utis
You can ask a pharmacist about treatments for a UTI. A pharmacist can:
- offer advice on things that can help you get better
- suggest the best painkiller to take
- tell you if you need to see a GP about your symptoms
Some pharmacies offer a UTI management service and can prescribe antibiotics if they’re needed.
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Relief Without A Prescription
An over-the-counter drug called phenazopyridine can help ease your pain, burning, and irritation. It also controls your need to pee frequently and urgently.
But there’s a catch. It only works on your symptoms. It doesn’t cure your infection. You still need to see your doctor to make sure you get treatment to fight the bacteria that’s causing your UTI.
Also, one common side effect: It turns your pee dark red or orange while you take it.
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 you’re 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
- Low birth weight
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Things You Can Do Yourself
To help ease pain:
- takeparacetamolup to 4 times a day to reduce pain and a high temperature for people with a UTI, paracetamol is usually recommended over NSAIDs such as ibuprofen or aspirin
- you can give childrenliquid paracetamol
- rest and drink enough fluids so you pass pale urine regularly during the day, especially during hot weather
It’s important to follow the instructions on the packet so you know how much paracetamol you or your child can take, and how often.
It may also help to avoid having sex until you feel better.
You cannot pass a UTI on to your partner, but sex may be uncomfortable.
Taking cystitis sachets or cranberry products has not been shown to help ease symptoms of UTIs.
What Can Happen If A Uti Is Not Treated
If treated right away, a UTI is not likely to damage your urinary tract. But if your UTI is not treated, the infection can spread to the kidneys and other parts of your body. The most common symptoms of kidney infection are fever and pain in the back where the kidneys are located. Antibiotics can also treat kidney infections.
Sometimes the infection can get in the bloodstream. This is rare but life-threatening.
Also Check: Urinary Tract Infection In Children