What Causes Urinary Tract Infections
Normal urine is sterile and contains fluids, salts, and waste products. It does not contain bacteria, viruses, or fungi. A UTI occurs when germs, most often bacteria from the digestive tract, get into the opening of the urethra and start to multiply.
Most UTIs are caused by E. coli bacteria, which normally live in the colon.
How Do You Get Urinary Tract Infections
The design of the human body makes it so it isnt hard to get a bacterial UTI, because the infection comes from outside, through the urethra. Bacteria in the genital area can enter the urethra and the urinary tract, either because wiping after going to the bathroom, sexual activity, or unsanitary conditions. Once the bacteria have entered the urethra, the body tries fight them off, but sometimes the bacteria multiply and cause an infection.
In the case of a fungal infection, usually the fungus gets to the urinary tract through the blood stream. Those who develop this type of infection are usually ill with a disease that has compromised their immune system, such as AIDS.
In general, people with shorter urethras get more UTIs than do cisgender men and transgender men who have had a phalloplasty, surgery to create a penis and lengthen the urethra. This increases with age. Statistics show that those with shorter urethras often get more than one. Over their life time. Almost 20% who have had one UTI will go on to have a second.
What Causes A Urinary Tract Infection
The main cause of UTIs, at any age, is usually bacteria. Escherichia coli is the primary cause, but other organisms can also cause a UTI.
In older adults who use catheters or live in a nursing home or other full-time care facility, bacteria such as Enterococci and Staphylococci are more common causes.
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Key Points About Urinary Tract Infections
- Urinary tract infections are a common health problem that affects millions of people each year. These infections can affect any part of the urinary tract.
- Most UTIs are caused by E. coli bacteria, which normally live in the colon.
- The most common symptoms of UTIs include changes in urination such as frequency, pain, or burning urine looks dark, cloudy, or red and smells bad back or side pain nausea/vomiting and fever.
- Antibiotics are used to treat UTIs. Other treatments may include pain relievers, and drinking plenty of water to help wash bacteria out of the urinary tract.
- Other things that can be done may help reduce the likelihood of developing UTIs.
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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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.
What Is A Uti And What Is A Bladder Infection
A urinary tract infection is an infection in your urinary system. Around 50-60% of women will experience at least one UTI in their lifetime, and an unlucky number of them get UTIs frequently. The American Urological Association estimates that 20-40% of women who have had one UTI will get another one, and 25-50% of those women will end up having at least one more after that. Men can also get UTIs, though this happens less frequently than it does in women.
UTIs occur when unwanted bacteria end up in your urinary tract and trigger inflammation. They are caused by a variety of factors, including sexual activity, poor hygiene, genetics, age, and certain types of contraceptives.
The most reliable sign of a UTI is a stinging or burning sensation with urination, though other symptoms may also occur.
A bladder infection is a type of UTI that occurs specifically in your bladder.
Think of it this way: Your urinary tract includes your urethra, bladder, ureters, and kidneys.
Your bladder is the closest organ to your urethra , so its the area of the body most commonly affected by UTIs. Doctors call inflammation in the bladder cystitis and inflammation in the urethra urethritis.
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Urinary Tract Infections: How They Show Up Causes And Solutions
Urinary Tract Infections are common infections in women of childbearing age. But men, children, and the elderly can get them, too. Because they are 30 times more common in women, we can easily overlook UTIs in other populations especially because they dont always present with the same symptoms. Heres a short overview of UTIs, how they may show up symptom-wise, and what to do if you get one.
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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Bladder Infection Is A Specific Type Of Urinary Tract Infection
Cystitis is inflammation of the bladder. Most cystitis is from bacterial infections involving the bladder and less commonly may be the result of yeast infections, viral infections, chemical irritants of the bladder, or for unknown reasons . Bladder infection is a type of urinary tract infection . This review will specifically address infectious cystitis.
The urine in the bladder is normally free of bacteria . However, bacteria may be present in the bladder but not cause inflammation or symptoms of an infection. This is called asymptomatic bacteriuria and is not cystitis.
Cystitis can be complicated or uncomplicated. Uncomplicated cystitis is a bladder infection in a healthy person with a structurally and functionally normal urinary tract. A complicated bladder infection is one that occurs in association with factors that increase the chance of developing a bacterial infection and decrease the chance of antibiotic therapy being effective. Such abnormalities include obstruction from stones, congenital blockages, urethral strictures, and prostate enlargement.
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Is There A Connection Between Bladder Infection And Yeast Infection
Urinary tract infection is one of the most common infections in the community, accounting for an estimated 7 to 10 million adult physician office visits each year in the USA . The urinary tract comprises of the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. Urinary tract infections are twice as common in women as men, and around 50 % of women have at least one episode of UTI in their lifetime. The high prevalence of UTI in children, women and the elderly, and the need for antibiotic therapy results in a significant public health problem with considerable personal impact on the individuals life.Before I continue with this article, you should know I’ve recently compiled a list of science-backed ways to get rid of candida yeast infections. You can if you haven’t yet.What is Bladder Infection?
The urinary bladder is normally sterile. The presence of disease causing bacteria, or uropathogens, in the bladder leads to bladder infection or acute cystitis, characterized by an inflammatory reaction of the bladder to the bacteria.
What are the causes of Bladder Infection?The causes of bladder infection are:
1. Bacteria: Escherichia coli , other bacteria like Proteus, Klebsiella and Enterococcus.2. Viral cystitis due to adenovirus is sometimes seen in children but is rare in adults.3. Fungus: A lesser known cause can be yeast, or organisms of the Candida species.
The connection between Bladder Infection and Yeast:
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Causes Of Utis And Bladder Infections
UTIs and bladder infections occur as a result of bacterial growth in your urinary tract. Your body is naturally home to billions of species of bacteria, and not all of them are bad.
In fact, bacteria help keep your body functioning the way its supposed to. But some bacteria dont belong in sensitive places in your body, and they can trigger some pretty miserable symptoms when they end up in the wrong place.
For example, E. coli, which is most commonly found in your digestive system, is also the most common type of bacteria to cause a UTI or bladder infection.
Several things can increase the risk of UTIs and bladder infections. While some of these risk factors are out of your control, you can control others.
- Sexual intercourse: As fun as sex is, it can increase the risk of developing UTIs. The friction and movement around your genital area during sexual activity can facilitate bacteria moving around down there.
- Hygiene: Things like forgetting to change your underwear, wiping from back to front, or sitting in wet or sweaty clothes for prolonged periods can up your chances of getting a UTI.
- Genetics: Some people are simply more prone to UTIs than others. If someone in your immediate family gets UTIs regularly, youre probably more susceptible to them too.
- Age: Due to urinary incontinence and estrogen deficiency, research shows that women are more likely to get recurrent UTIs after menopause.
Can I Get Uti Treatment Online Without Insurance
Yes! You dont need insurance to use Virtuwell. A visit to Virtwells online clinic is never more than $59. This includes a diagnosis, treatment plan and free follow-up care. If youre prescribed antibiotics or other prescription medication, your prescription is sent to your pharmacy where you pay for it just like you would if you visited an in-person clinic. If you do use insurance, your cost for care will likely be reduced or with some insurance plans covered completely.
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Can I Prevent A Urinary Tract Infection
You can usually prevent a urinary tract infection with lifestyle changes. These tips can include:
In some post-menopausal women, a healthcare provider may suggest an estrogen-containing vaginal cream. This may reduce the risk of developing a UTI by changing the pH of the vagina. Talk to your healthcare provider if you have recurrent UTIs and have already gone through menopause.
Over-the-counter supplements are also available for UTIs. These are sometimes recommended for people who have frequent UTIs as another way to prevent them. Talk to your healthcare provider before starting any supplements and ask if these could be a good choice for you.
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What Are The Treatments For A Bladder Infection Vs A Uti
How a doctor deals with a patient’s UTI depends on where it’s located, what caused it, how severe the infection is, and whether there are other complicating factors to consider.
An uncomplicated bladder infection can sometimes clear up on its own. But given that it can turn into a more severe infection, you might be better off with a prescription for some oral antibiotics to kill off the bacteria. Per the American Urological Association , treatment for uncomplicated bladder infections typically involves taking one of the following:
- A single dose of Fosfomycin.
- Nitrofurantoin for five days.
- Trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole DS for three days.
If you have a more complicated bladder infection, you may need to rely on other types of antibiotics and take them for up to 14 days to clear out the infection. Either way, you should start to feel better within a couple of days of taking the meds but be sure to finish the full course of antibiotics. Otherwise, resistant bacteria could grow and create a new infection that’s harder to cure.
Doctors may also give you additional fluids through the IV. And that’s assuming you don’t get a complication, such as sepsis. Once the IV antibiotics help you feel better, you can generally go home and finish treating the UTI with more antibiotics for a total of 14 days, per the AUA.
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Complications Of Urinary Tract Infections
Delayed treatment for UTIs can lead to complications. Most UTIs cause no lasting damage if they are treated quickly. But if left untreated, UTIs can lead to complications that include:
- Recurring infections
- Narrowing of the urethra in men
- A potentially life-threatening infection called sepsis, especially when kidneys are infected
You Dont Drink Enough Water
Guzzling H2O will make you go pretty often. And thats a good thing. When you do this, the bacteria gets flushed out before they have a chance to grab hold, Minkin says.
Consider that your cue to make a giant water bottle your BFF. Hooton TM, et al. . Effect of increased daily water intake in premenopausal women with recurrent urinary tract infections: A randomized clinical trial. DOI: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2018.4204
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Signs And Symptoms Of Urinary Tract Infections
UTI symptoms can vary, and its possible for someone who has a urinary tract infection to experience no symptoms. But for many people, UTI symptoms are uncomfortable and painful. Besides a strong, persistent urge to urinate, common symptoms include:
When a urinary tract infection moves to the kidneys, symptoms such as fever, shaking, chills, and pain in the upper back, side, or groin may occur.
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How Long Does Treatment Last
Treatment for complicated UTIs tends to take longer compared with simple UTIs, and may take between 7 and 14 days. While a course of antibiotics may treat a typical UTI at home, complicated cases may require broad-spectrum, intravenous antibiotics as well as hospitalization.
The exact treatment timeline depends on how soon your body responds to broad-spectrum antibiotics, as well as whether any complications develop.
Complicated UTIs are most common in people predisposed to risks from infections. The following may increase your risk for complicated UTI:
- age, older adults and young children
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Causes Of Utis And Bladder Infections In Men
Women are more likely to get urinary tract infections and bladder infections than men because they have a shorter urethra located closer to their rectum.
For them, sexual activity or even wearing a pair of underwear for too long can cause bacteria like E. coli to come in contact with the urinary tract.
Men can get UTIs too, but in their case, its usually due to genetics, prostate changes with age, or an abnormal immune response. STDs such as chlamydia are another frequent cause of UTIs in men.
When To See A Doctor
Although the body may sometimes fight off a UTI on its own, waiting for this to happen carries risks. UTIs can quickly spread, causing serious kidney infections.
A person should see a doctor for any symptoms of a UTI, particularly if they are pregnant or have an underlying health condition that affects their immune system.
A person with should go to the emergency room for immediate medical care. The symptoms of a kidney infection include:
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Urinary Tract Infections In Babies And Young Children
Babies and children are at risk of UTIs. These infections always need to be investigated as they may indicate a serious underlying condition, such as urinary reflux. Reflux is caused by a bladder valve problem allowing urine to flow back into the kidneys from the bladder. Reflux can cause the urine to stay inside the body increasing the risk of infection. It may lead to kidney scarring, which in turn leads to high blood pressure and sometimes kidney problems.
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.
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How Can You Prevent A Bladder Infection Or Uti
UTIs are incredibly common, but there are steps you can take to help prevent both UTIs and bladder infections specifically.
First and foremost, the NIDDK suggests drinking enough liquids dailythat means about six to eight glasses. Having enough to drink is also a good option for when you’re treating a UTI, too. It helps you pee more, and “every time you pee, you’re clearing out the infection,” says Dr. Eilber.
The NIDDK also says watching your bathroom habits is a good idea. That means making sure to empty your bladder completely each time you pee, wiping front to back , and to try your best to urinate after sex to flush away any bacteria. Wearing loose-fitting clothing can also keep your urethra dry and free from bacteria.
The CDC adds that taking showers instead of baths can help reduce your chance of getting a UTI, as can minimizing unnecessary vaginal cleaning products .
And if you do happen to get a UTI, it’s in your best interest to see a doctor as soon as you feel any possible symptomsthat way, you can treat the condition early and minimize your risk of complications.
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