Urinary Tract Infection Information
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What is a Urinary Tract Infection UTI?
A Urinary Tract Infection is a curable bacterial infection of the lower urinary system (the bladder and urethra), and occurs significantly more often in women than men. The infection is often accompanied by several uncomfortable symptoms, but can be treated with antibiotics. There are several things that can be done to ease your discomfort and effectively speed up treatment. If left untreated, urinary tract infections can spread to the upper urinary system, including the kidneys, and can be very dangerous.
How do you get or contract a UTI?
Women are more prone to a Urinary Tract Infection simply because of their anatomy. An infection of the urinary system occurs from an external introduction of bacteria to the urethra, and can move into the bladder and then the kidneys. The bacteria Estericia coli (E.coli) is found in feces, and therefore the close proximity of the urethra to the anus is a common cause of infection. One easy method of prevention is to get into the crucial habit of wiping front to back when using the bathroom. Urinary tract infections can be acquired through sexual intercourse as well for both men and women through the spread of excess bacteria that commonly occurs on the body.
How to prevent a UTI?
Simple lifestyle habits will aid in the prevention of a urinary tract infection for both sexually active and non sexually active individuals.
For both men and women, it is a good idea to shower before sex, and urinate after sex. Showering before intercourse helps reduce the spread of bacteria from one person to another, although it is not recommended that women use soap in their vaginal area. Simply rinsing the area with warm water, or using a clean white washcloth to gently cleanse the vagina is sufficient. Using soap, and scented/ dyed products can disturb the balance of natural flora in the vagina, and this can lead to other infections such as a yeast infection or bacterial vaginosis.
Drinking a glass of water and urinating after sex will help flush the urethra of any bacteria that was introduced during intercourse. Drinking enough water (8- 8oz glasses each day) tends to have the same effect for those who experience frequent urinary tract infections.
Women: Wipe from front to back. The close proximity of the anus and urethra causes women to experience urinary tract infections much more often than men.
UTI Urinary Tract Infection Symptoms
Generally, you will know right away if you have a urinary tract infection because of the uncomfortable symptoms.
Common UTI Symptoms may include:
- A continuous false sense of urgency to urinate.
- Frequently passing very small amounts of urine
- Painful urination
- Passing urine that contains blood or bacteria (appears cloudy or is foul smelling)
- pain or pressure in the lower abdomen
These are all common symptoms of an infection that is contained in the lower portion of the urinary system, and a more serious infection of the kidneys can occur if the infection is left untreated.
Common UTI symptoms in the lower urinary system may include:
- Pain in the side or middle part of your back
An infection of the kidneys is very serious. If you have any of these symptoms after having the symptoms of infection in the bladder or urethra (even after receiving medication) you should seek medical attention immediately.
What is the treatment for a Urinary Tract Infection?
Antibiotics are typically prescribed to clear up an infection, and with the proper use of your medication you should notice a dramatic difference in less than a day. Make sure to notify your doctor if you have any drug allergies. Sulfa drugs are commonly prescribed Sulfamethaxazole-trimethoprim (Bactrim). Other prescribed antibiotics may include Amoxicillin, Nitrofuratoin (Furadantin, Macrodantin) Ciprofloxacin (Cipro), or Levofloxacin (Levaquin).
Your doctor may also prescribe a pain relieving medication to ease the symptoms of the infection during treatment. These medications tend to change the color of your urine, so do not be alarmed if your urine is fluorescent orange or blue.
Drinking lots of water will help to flush out your urinary system, and will also help to ease discomfort. Try to avoid sugar in your diet until your infection has cleared up.
What should I expect from my doctor?
Your doctor will ask for a urine sample to determine the level of bacteria in your urine. You may be asked to cleanse yourself with a disinfecting wipe to prevent the transfer of external bacteria into your urine sample. If your doctor determines that you do have a urinary tract infection, they will prescribe antibiotics. Use your prescription exactly as directed, because missing a dose or not finishing antibiotics will usually cause an infection to reoccur.
To speak with other people regarding this condition, please visit the forums.