Key Points About Utis
Are Some Women More At Risk For Utis
- Are sexually active. Sexual activity can move germs that cause UTIs from other areas, such as the vagina, to the urethra.
- Use a diaphragm for birth control or use spermicides with a diaphragm or with condoms. Spermicides can kill good bacteria that protect you from UTIs.
- Are pregnant. Pregnancy hormones can change the bacteria in the urinary tract, making UTIs more likely. Also, many pregnant women have trouble completely emptying the bladder, because the uterus with the developing baby sits on top of the bladder during pregnancy. Leftover urine with bacteria in it can cause a UTI.
- Have gone through menopause. After menopause, loss of the hormone estrogen causes vaginal tissue to become thin and dry. This can make it easier for harmful bacteria to grow and cause a UTI.
- Have diabetes, which can lower your immune system and cause nerve damage that makes it hard to completely empty your bladder
- Have any condition, like a kidney stone, that may block the flow of urine between your kidneys and bladder
- Have or recently had a catheter in place. A catheter is a thin tube put through the urethra into the bladder. Catheters drain urine when you cannot pass urine on your own, such as during surgery.
What Is Frequent Urination
Inconvenient and disruptive to your daily life, frequent urination is when you need to urinate many times throughout a 24-hour period. This is a symptom of many different conditions and can have a wide variety of solutions. At some points in your life, like during pregnancy, you may need to pee more frequently. This can be a normal symptom of something like pregnancy and it usually passes after birth. However, frequent urination can be linked to other health issues that arent normal parts of life and dont fade over time. It can be a symptom of more serious conditions like diabetes, overactive bladder syndrome, UTIs or prostate problems. Needing to urinate frequently can even disturb your sleep. That full bladder that keeps waking you up in the middle of an otherwise good nights sleep is a condition called nocturia.
In many cases, your healthcare provider can help relieve this symptom by treating the underlying condition.
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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.
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Should I Drink Less Water Or Other Fluids If I Have Urinary Incontinence
No. Many people with urinary incontinence think they need to drink less to reduce how much urine leaks out. But you need fluids, especially water, for good health.
Women need 91 ounces of fluids a day from food and drinks.11 Getting enough fluids helps keep your kidneys and bladder healthy, prevents urinary tract infections, and prevents constipation, which may make urinary incontinence worse.
After age 60, people are less likely to get enough water, putting them at risk for dehydration and conditions that make urinary incontinence worse.12
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Risk Factors For Urinary Tract Infections
And now a brief note about reproductive parts: Although people with penises do get UTIs, people with vaginas are more at risk. It all boils down to the anatomy, Minkin says.
Bacteria that cause UTIs often make their way from the back door to the front and then up the urethra to wreak havoc on the urinary system.
Because the male reproductive system has a longer urethra than the female reproductive system, the bacteria have farther to travel, which makes it more difficult for a UTI to develop.
But regardless of anatomy, once youve had one UTI, youre more likely to get another, especially if you have a vagina. Hickling DR, et al. . Management of recurrent urinary tract infections in healthy adult women.
About Dr Alyssa Dweck:
Dr. Alyssa Dweck is a practicing OB-GYN in Westchester County, NY. She has been voted Top Doctor in New York Magazine and Westchester County. She is proficient in gynecologic surgery, has expertise in female sexual health and provides gynecologic care to women of all ages. Dr. Dweck has co-authored three books. The newly released The Complete A to Z for Your V: A Women’s Guide to Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Your VaginaHealth, Pleasure, Hormones, and More, tells women of all ages what they need to know about their own unique health as a woman.
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Managing Urinary Tract Infections
If symptoms such as painful or overly frequent urination occur, as in the case of a urinary tract infection, consult your healthcare provider. Infections are easily treated with antibiotics but often tend to recur. To help prevent these infections, urinate before and after intercourse, be sure your bladder is not full for long periods, drink plenty of fluids, and keep your genital area clean. Douching is not thought to be effective in preventing infection. Currently, a vaccine is being developed which may help prevent recurrent bladder infections.
Verywell / Gary Ferster
For some women with recurrent urinary tract infections associated with menopause, low-dose antibiotics may be needed. A 2016 study also found that a supplement of hyaluronic acid, chondroitin sulfate, curcumin, and quercetin was effective in reducing the frequency of urinary tract infections in post-menopausal women, especially when combined with topical vaginal estrogen therapy .
You’re Making Potty Stops All The Timebut Not Much Is Coming Out
Feeling like you have to pee all the time, even right after using the bathroom, is a telltale sign of a urinary tract infection, Ross says. It isn’t that you really have to pee every 10 minutes, but rather that you feel the urge to pee constantly. Why? When you have a UTI, bacteria irritate the urethra and bladder.
However, since you likely arent actually filled with pee, when you do sit on the toilet instead of finding sweet, sweet relief, not much urine comes out. All you get for your trouble is frustration . If you constantly feel the need to pee, but only a drop or two is coming out, it’s time to call your doctor, Ross says.
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What To Expect At Home
UTIs can lead to infection. Most often the infection occurs in the bladder itself. At times, the infection can spread to the kidneys.
Common symptoms include:
- Pain or burning when you urinate
- Needing to urinate more often
- Hard to empty your bladder all the way
- Strong need to empty your bladder
These symptoms should improve soon after you begin taking antibiotics.
If you are feeling ill, have a low-grade fever, or some pain in your lower back, these symptoms will take 1 to 2 days to improve, and up to 1 week to go away completely.
If You Have Trouble Emptying Your Bladder Completely This Is What You Can Do To Facilitate Bladder Emptying:
- When urinating, sit in a posture that relaxes the pelvic floor, leaning slightly forward with bent knees and feet resting on the ground or on a footstool
- When you have finished voiding, stand up and sit down again a few times. This may encourage urine to be voided that was left behind the first time.
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Your Pee Smells Like A Kitty Litter Box
Urine that smells like ammoniaa pungent chemical commonly used in kitty litter and window cleanersis one of the first really noticeable signs of a urinary tract infection, says ob-gyn Sherry Ross, MD, women’s health expert and author of She-ology: The Definitive Guide To Women’s Intimate Health.
Stinky pee can be a side effect of many things, ranging from medical issueslike other types of infectionsto silly things, like eating certain foods. Still, it can be difficult to know what’s causing the down-there smell, so give your doc a call, Dr. Ross says.
One of the main determinants in terms of *what* type of infection you’re dealing with is discharge, says ob-gyn “Dr. Lady Doctor,” Kelly Culwell, MD. “Yeast infections, bacterial vaginosis, or sexually transmitted infections will have vaginal discharge as one of the symptoms, which doesn’t happen with UTIs,” she notes.
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
Complications Of A Uti
Complications of UTIs arent common, but they can be serious and require immediate treatment by a doctor. They usually affect people diagnosed with diabetes, a weakened immune system, men with recurrent UTIs, or women who are pregnant.
If a UTI is left untreated, bacteria may travel to the kidneys causing kidney infection, damage and even kidney failure. Blood poisoning can happen and occurs when the infection spreads from the kidneys to the blood-stream.
If the infection moves to the kidneys, there may be high fever, back pain, diarrhoea and vomiting. If you have these symptoms, it is important to see your doctor.
How Are Urinary Tract Infections Diagnosed
Your doctor will use the following tests to diagnose a urinary tract infection:
- Urinalysis: This test will examine the urine for red blood cells, white blood cells and bacteria. The number of white and red blood cells found in your urine can actually indicate an infection.
- Urine culture: A urine culture is used to determine the type of bacteria in your urine. This is an important test because it helps determine the appropriate treatment.
If your infection does not respond to treatment or if you keep getting infections over and over again, your doctor may use the following tests to examine your urinary tract for disease or injury:
- Ultrasound: In this test, sound waves create an image of the internal organs. This test is done on top of your skin, is painless and doesnt typically need any preparation.
- Cystoscopy: This test uses a special instrument fitted with a lens and a light source to see inside the bladder from the urethra.
- CT scan: Another imaging test, a CT scan is a type of X-ray that takes cross sections of the body . This test is much more precise than typical X-rays.
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About Urinary Tract Infections
Urinary tract infections are common infections that can affect the bladder, the kidneys and the tubes connected to them.
Anyone can get them, but they’re particularly common in women. Some women experience them regularly .
UTIs can be painful and uncomfortable, but usually pass within a few days and can be easily treated with antibiotics.
This page is about UTIs in adults. There is a separate article about UTIs in children.
This page covers:
How Is A Uti Diagnosed
To find out whether you have a UTI, your doctor or nurse will test a clean sample of your urine. This means you will first wipe your genital area with a special wipe. Then you will collect your urine in midstream in a cup. Your doctor or nurse may then test your urine for bacteria to see whether you have a UTI, which can take a few days.
If you have had a UTI before, your doctor may order more tests to rule out other problems. These tests may include:
- A cystogram. This is a special type of x-ray of your urinary tract. These x-rays can show any problems, including swelling or kidney stones.
- A cystoscopic exam. The cystoscope is a small tube the doctor puts into the urethra to see inside of the urethra and bladder for any problems.
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What Are The Available Treatments
Most urinary tract infections are usually treated with antibiotics. The choice of antibiotic treatment depends on the type of infection and personal characteristics .
Improvement of signs and symptoms of infection are generally noted 24 to 48 hours after the start of antibiotic treatment. However, it is important to take all the doses of the prescribed antibiotic to avoid the development of resistant bacteria. Severe urinary tract infections may require taking antibiotics for a long period of time and sometimes, hospitalization.
To help eliminate bacteria, drink plenty of fluids. Taking an over-the-counter pain reliever will help if you feel pain. Pain in the lower abdomen can also be relieved by applying warm compresses to the affected area. Remember that it is always recommended to speak to a pharmacist before taking over-the-counter medication to ensure that it is suitable for you.
Who Experiences Frequent Urination
The need to urinate is something that everyone feels. This shared experience isnt always consistent though. Sometimes you may need to urinate much more often than what is typical for you. This can happen to anyone. Men, women, and children can all have this symptom. However, its more common at certain times in your life or when you have other conditions. Youre more likely to frequently urinate if youre:
- A middle-age or old adult.
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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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How Do You Diagnose And Treat A Uti
Most UTIs are diagnosed via a urine sample, collected mid-stream , according to the Mayo Clinic. This will likely be followed up with a lab culture of your urine in order to determine precisely which bacteria strain is behind the infection. This will allow your doctor to prescribe the right antibiotic able to fight that bacteria.
Cranberry juice and cranberry-based products have been touted as a natural means of healing UTIs. These methods have been extensively studied, and while there is some support for their effectiveness, overall, per the Mayo Clinic, the evidence is inconclusive. Most experts advise discussing with a doctor before embarking on using cranberry juice or tablets to heal a UTI.
Repeat UTIs or more severe infections may require imaging, or a cystoscopy, which allows a doctor to see inside the urethra and bladder. Severe UTIs may also require treatment with antibiotics via an IV.
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The Top 6 Supplements For Uti Prevention
If you have ever had a UTI, you probably want to make sure you never have another one. We have researched which urinary health products have the best science to support their use.
Our selections are the top 6 urinary tract health products, with a link to find them on Amazon.
Why we love it: This product contains many of the best-researched supplements to help prevent UTI. D-mannose, cranberry, hibiscus and dandelion are all packed together in a vegan-friendly cellulose capsule.
The product is free of gluten, soy, wheat, dairy and additives. It also contains no genetically modified organisms and is, therefore, non-GMO.
The product is made in the USA and is cGMP certified, meaning that it complies with the FDAs Good Manufacturing Processes. A single bottle contains 120 capsules. As the serving size is 2 capsules a day, the item will last 60 days. Each serving contains 1000mg of D-mannose, 150mg of cranberry juice powder from the fruit, 150mg of hibiscus flower, and 100mg of dandelion root extract. Since dandelion is related to ragweed, you may want to avoid the product if you have a ragweed allergy. Further, because hibiscus is in the mallow family with marshmallow and hollyhock, it may cause a reaction if you are allergic to those plants.
Amazon users like this product, which is a strong seller among urinary health products. Many reviewers have noted that it seems to prevent or reduce their UTIs.