What Causes A Uti
Most bladder infections are caused by bacteria that is normally found in the bowel. Some common ways that bacteria is introduced into the urinary tract include:
- Wiping from back to front when using the toilet
- Holding your urine, which allows bacteria to accumulate
- Sexual intercourse
Some medical conditions can increase the risk of developing a UTI.
- Diabetes increases the amount of sugar that is in the bladder, making it more likely that bacteria will accumulate.
- Some medicines, such as antibiotics, can increase the risk of bacteria growth, leading to a UTI.
- If your bladder isnt functioning properly, it may be difficult for it to completely empty, making it easier for bacteria to accumulate in the remaining urine.
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What Is A Urinary Tract Infection In Children
A UTI is when bacteria gets into your urine and travels up to your bladder. As many as 8 in 100 of girls and 2 in 100 of boys will get UTIs. Young children have a greater risk of kidney damage linked to UTI than older children or adults.
How Does the Urinary Tract Work?
The urinary tract is the organs in your body that make, store, and get rid of urine, one of the waste products of your body. Urine is made in the kidneys and travels down to the bladder through the ureters . The kidneys make about 1Â½ to 2 quarts of urine a day in an adult, and less in children, depending on their age. In children, the bladder can hold 1 to 1Â½ ounces of urine for each year of age. For example, a 4-year-old childs bladder can hold 4 to 6 ouncesa little less than a cup.
The kidneys also balance the levels of many chemicals in the body and check the bloodâs acidity. Certain hormones are also made in the kidneys. These hormones help control blood pressure, boost red blood cell production and help make strong bones.
Normal urine has no bacteria in it, and the one-way flow helps prevent infections. Still, bacteria may get into the urine through the urethra and travel up into the bladder.
Urgent Advice: Ask For An Urgent Gp Appointment Or Get Help From Nhs 111 If:
You think you, your child or someone you care for may have a urinary tract infection and:
- a very high temperature, or feeling hot and shivery
- a very low temperature below 36C
- are confused, drowsy or have difficulty speaking
- have not been for a pee all day
- have pain in the lower tummy or in the back, just under the ribs
- can see blood in their pee
These symptoms could mean you have a kidney infection, which can be serious if it’s not treated as it could cause .
You can call 111 or get help from 111 online.
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Other Ways To Prevent Cystitis Coming Back
If you keep getting cystitis, there is some evidence you may find it helpful to take:
- D-mannose a sugar you can buy as a powder or tablets to take every day
- cranberry products available as juice, tablets or capsules to take every day
Be aware that D-mannose and cranberry products can contain a lot of sugar. If you’re taking warfarin, you should avoid cranberry products.
Page last reviewed: 11 February 2022 Next review due: 11 February 2025
What Are The Symptoms Of A Urinary Tract Infection
These are the most common symptoms of a UTI:
- Frequent urination
- Pain or burning when passing urine
- Urine looks dark, cloudy, or reddish in color
- Urine smells bad
- Feeling pain even when not urinating
- Pain in the back or side, below the ribs
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Despite an strong urge to urinate, only a small amount of urine is passed
- Women may feel an uncomfortable pressure above the pubic bone
The symptoms of UTI may look like other conditions or medical problems. Always see a health care provider for a diagnosis.
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Healing An Irritated Bladder
The healthy bladder is coated with a mucosal tissue called the glycosaminoglycan layer, generally referred to as the GAG layer. This layer protects the bladder from direct contact with urine. The GAG layer can become damaged by bacteria or other trauma, such as pelvic surgery, repeated infections, or a complicated pregnancy. I went on a regimen designed to heal the GAG layer.
First of all, go on a low-acid diet. If you look up an Interstitial Cystitis diet or IC diet, you will get varying advice on this. Different people seem to have different triggers. The ones I mention in the âcommon food triggersâ section, should be avoided. Most of them definitely affected me.
One book I read said, âIf you wouldnât put it on an open wound, donât eat it,â and this resonated with me. So things like hot spices, lemon and vinegar would be off limits. If I ate acidic food, I could feel my bladder burning within 10 minutes.
This list is a good starting point. Pay attention to you body. If you feel worse, ask yourself, âWhat did I eat?â
Uti Diagnosis And Treatment
Think you may have a UTI? The standard way to diagnose one is a urine culture. Most doctors will ask for a clean catch sample, where you pee into a cup midstream after carefully wiping your outer vaginal area.
If you are diagnosed with a UTI, your doctor will likely provide a pregnancy-safe antibiotic for seven to 14 days to get rid of all of the bacteria. Be sure to take the recommended full course, even if you start to feel better midway through treatment, and drink plenty of water.
If the infection has reached your kidneys, your practitioner may suggest staying in the hospital, where you can receive IV antibiotics.
Keep in mind: Some women have a UTI with no symptoms at all. Because an untreated infection can lead to complications including kidney infection and, potentially, an increased risk of fetal growth restriction, preeclampsia and preterm birth notify your provider immediately if you have any UTI-like symptoms.
Likewise, the urine tests at your regular prenatal visits are really important.
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How Are Utis Diagnosed
Visit your doctor if you have UTI symptoms. They may perform a physical examination and a sample of urine will be collected for testing.
The Australasian Society for Infectious Diseases recommend that if your urine tests results show bacteria in your urine but you dont have any symptoms of a UTI, it is unlikely you will need antibiotics. For more information, visit the Choosing Wisely Australia website.
Things You Can Try Yourself
If you have mild symptoms of cystitis, it can help to:
- take paracetamol up to 4 times a day to reduce pain
- give children liquid paracetamol follow the instructions on the bottle
- drink plenty of water
- avoid drinks that may irritate your bladder, like fruit juices, coffee and alcohol
Some people take cystitis sachets or cranberry drinks and products every day to prevent cystitis from happening, which might help. However, theres no evidence they help ease symptoms or treat cystitis if the infection has already started.
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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.
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.
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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.
Can Urinary Tract Infections Be Prevented
These steps may help reduce the chance of getting UTIs:
- Drink plenty of water every day.
- Drink cranberry juice. Large amounts of vitamin C limit the growth of some bacteria by acidifying the urine. Vitamin C supplements have the same effect.
- Urinate when you feel the need. Do not wait.
- Take showers instead of tub baths.
- Clean the genital area before and after sex, and urinate shortly after sex.
- Women should not use feminine hygiene sprays or scented douches.
- Cotton underwear and loose fitting clothes help keep the area around the urethra dry. Tight clothes and nylon underwear trap moisture. This can help bacteria grow.
- Repeated bouts of urinary tract infections can be treated with small doses of regular antibiotics.
Please consult your health care provider with any questions or concerns you may have about UTIs.
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Do You Think You Have A Bladder Infection Here’s What You Need To Know
Posted June 15, 2020 by Naveen K Arora, MD
Risk FactorsSexually active:Pregnant:Menopausal:Diabetic:Suffering from kidney stones:Experiencing prolonged use of catheters:Diagnosis and TreatmentUTI PreventionDont hold your urine.Urinate before and after sex.Wipe from front to backStay hydrated to allow your urethra to flush itself out.Wear cotton underwear that is breathable.Take showers instead of baths.If you have suffered with multiple UTIs, this is an indication to see a Urologist or Advance practice Provider to find the underlying cause.
What To Do If You Keep Getting Utis
“It’s also important to consult your doctor if you’re getting UTIs frequently which is about three or more times per year,” Dr. Kannady recommends.
Recurrent UTIs are fairly common, and they’re also often effectively controlled via lifestyle changes. In some cases, though, your doctor may recommend that you see a urologist for further evaluation.
“Frequent UTIs are sometimes the result of an underlying health issue, such as kidney stones or abnormalities in your kidneys, bladder, or urethra,” Dr. Kannady adds. “A urologist can rule out or diagnose and treat issues such as these, as well as provide further guidance on how to prevent UTI reoccurrence.”
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Urinary Tract Infection Symptoms
Ninety percent of the time when a healthy adult woman experiences painful urination and a urge to frequently urinate, it is a UTI. In addition, many women who have bladder infections may notice that their urine looks cloudy or dark. Some may even see blood in their urine.
While burning and a frequent or intense urge to urinate are the most common symptoms associated with UTIs, sometimes more painful or uncomfortable symptoms arise.
These rare symptoms include:
If you have a high fever , back or flank pain, or nausea and vomiting it may indicate something more serious and you should seek urgent medical attention.
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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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When To Make An Appointment
Make the call if your frequent trips are beginning to negatively affect your day. You should also contact your doctor if you have pain when peeing or notice blood in your urine. These symptoms may indicate a bacterial infection or something more serious, such as bladder cancer.
Make a doctors appointment within a day or two if you experience:
- Change in your urine color
- Mental health disorder
- Side or back pain
Immediately go to the hospital if you are experiencing weakness in your legs as this could be a sign of spinal cord disorder.
What to Expect
Your primary care physician will conduct a blood test to rule out any underlying medical issues, such as diabetes, as well as a urine culture to rule out any infections.
They may also perform a rectal exam to assess the size of your prostate. Your doctor may request that you keep a diary of your eating and toilet habits as this can help rule out any lifestyle factors such as excessive caffeine consumption.
Before a diagnosis of overactive bladder can be made, they need to rule out other possible causes. For example, your doctor may prescribe an ultrasound to look for kidney stones.
Treatment is determined by the underlying cause of the problem: Antibiotics may be prescribed by your doctor to treat any bacterial illness. They may advise you to practice pelvic exercises like Kegels.
What Are The Symptoms Of A Urine Infection
- Infection in the bladder usually causes pain when you pass urine, and you pass urine more frequently. You may also have pain in your lower tummy . Your urine may become cloudy, bloody or smelly. You may have a high temperature .
- Infection in the kidneys may cause pain in a loin and a high temperature . It may cause you to feel sick or be sick . You may feel generally unwell.
In some elderly men, the only symptoms may be a recent onset of confusion or just feeling generally unwell, even without any actual urinary symptoms.
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When To Get Medical Advice
It’s a good idea to see your GP if you think you might have a UTI, particularly if:
- you have symptoms of an upper UTI
- the symptoms are severe or getting worse
- the symptoms haven’t started to improve after a few days
- you get UTIs frequently
Your GP can rule out other possible causes of your symptoms by testing a sample of your urine and can prescribe antibiotics if you do have an infection.
Antibiotics are usually recommended because untreated UTIs can potentially cause serious problems if they’re allowed to spread.
Which Infections Are Worse
NIDDK . A kidney infection is usually caused by a bladder or urethra infection where the bacteria multiply and travel upward toward the kidneys.
Kidney infections can be extremely serious and painful, sometimes leading to hospitalization to receive intravenous antibiotics. If left untreated, kidney infections due to UTIs can cause infections in the bloodstream. This can be life-threatening.
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