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 Urinary Tract Infection In Men
Urinary tract infections involve the parts of the body the kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra that produce urine and carry it out of the body. Urinary tract infections often are classified into two types based on their location in the urinary tract:
- Lower tract infections These include cystitis and urethritis . Lower urinary tract infections commonly are caused by intestinal bacteria, which enter and contaminate the urinary tract from below, usually by spreading from the skin to the urethra and then to the bladder. Urethritis also may be caused by microorganisms that are transmitted through sexual contact, including gonorrhea and Chlamydia. Another form of male urinary infection is prostatitis which is an inflammation of the prostate.
- Upper tract infections These involve the ureters and kidneys and include pyelonephritis . Upper tract infections often occur because bacteria have traveled upward in the urinary tract from the bladder to the kidney or because bacteria carried in the bloodstream have collected in the kidney.
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.
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How Are Utis Diagnosed
Only a health care provider can treat urinary tract infections. The first thing a doctor will do is confirm that a person has a UTI by taking a clean-catch urine specimen. At the doctor’s office, you’ll be asked to clean your genital area with disposable wipes and then pee into a sterile cup.
The sample may be used for a urinalysis or a urine culture . Knowing what bacteria are causing the infection can help your doctor choose the best treatment.
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:
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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How Long Will The Effects Last
For most UTIs, the symptoms go away within 24 hours after you begin treatment. Take all of the medicine your healthcare provider prescribes, even after the symptoms go away. If you stop taking your medicine before the scheduled end of treatment, the infection may come back.
Without treatment, the infection can last a long time. If it is not treated, the infection can permanently damage the bladder and kidneys, or it may spread to the blood. If the infection spreads to the blood, it can be fatal.
How Common Are Urinary Tract Infections
Urinary tract infections are very common, occurring in 1 out of 5 women sometime in their lifetime. Though UTIs are common in women, they can also happen to men, older adults and children. One to 2% of children develop urinary tract infections. Each year, 8 million to 10 million visits to doctors are for urinary tract infections.
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Condom Use During Sex
Non-lubricated latex condoms may increase friction and irritate the skin during sexual intercourse. This may increase the risk of a UTI.
To help prevent friction and skin irritation from condoms, be sure to use enough water-based lubricant during sex.
Avoid using condoms coated with spermicide.
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 Can Cause Frequent Urinary Tract Infection
Certain women are predisposed to having frequent episodes of urinary tract infection. Even if they take all the care, avoiding staying more than 3 hours without drinking liquids, cleaning themselves properly and keeping the genital region always clean and dry, they can have more than 6 urinary infections in the same year.
In addition, diabetic and menopausal women are also more at risk of having a urinary tract infection, so adopting a low-carb diet is also an excellent strategy to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria in the urinary tract, thus preventing the recurrence of urinary tract infection. Here are some tips on how to eat daily to avoid infections:
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You Wipe From Back To Front
Wiping from back to front can transport E. coli, the bacteria thats behind most UTIs, from the rectal region to the urethra. Moral of the story: Always wipe from front to back. Al-Badr A, et al. . Recurrent urinary tract infections management in women: A review.
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When Urinary Tract Infections Keep Coming Back
If you are prone to recurrent UTIs, you can head them off before they take hold.
Unless youre in the fortunate minority of women who have never had a urinary tract infection , you know the symptoms well. You might feel a frequent urgency to urinate yet pass little urine when you go. Your urine might be cloudy, blood-tinged, and strong-smelling. For 25% to 30% of women whove had a urinary tract infection, the infection returns within six months.
If you have repeated UTIs, youve experienced the toll they take on your life. However, you may take some comfort in knowing that they arent likely to be the result of anything youve done. Recurrent UTIs arent due to poor hygiene or something else that women have brought on themselves. Some women are just prone to UTIs, says infectious diseases specialist Dr. Kalpana Gupta, a lecturer in medicine at Harvard Medical School.
What Causes Bladder Infections
Bladder infections are uncomfortable and can often be reoccurring if the proper treatment and preventative measures are not taken. Before we think of how to clear up bladder infections we need to understand how bladder infections occur so that you can stop them from happening in the future.
Bladder infections are usually caused by a common gut bacteria called E.coli. This bacteria can be passed via the rectum and then get passed to the urethra. Once the bacteria travels up the urethra it can attach itself to the bladder wall and multiply. Usually the excess bacteria and germs can be passed when urinating but when the bacteria spreads quickly, urination is not enough to rid the bladder of bacteria.
Females are more prone to bladder infections because of the position of the urethra in relation to the rectum. The female urethra is closer to the rectum and so it is easier for bacteria to travel to and up the urethra. Many women experience bladder infections after sexual intercourse and also during pregnancy. During pregnancy women experience hormonal changes and so this may provide a particularly habitable environment for bacteria.
There are a number of other factors which could cause in both females and males. The aged are also more prone to infections and which could be due to immobility. Surgery in the urinary tract and the insertion of a catheter in the urethra have also caused the infections in the past.
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Youre Using Certain Methods Of Birth Control
When it comes to UTI prevention, not all birth control methods are created equal. Luckily, only one method is associated with UTIs: a diaphragm.
Because of where the diaphragm sits, it puts pressure on the urethra, which might lead to an increased risk, says Minkin. The good news? There are plenty of other great birth control options.
Why Do Women Get Utis More Often Than Men
The main reason that urinary tract infections are more common in women is their anatomy. A womans urethra is much shorter than a mans, making it much easier for E. coli and other bacteria to reach the bladder in women. In other words, bacteria dont have to travel as far to reach in the bladder in women.
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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.
Utis And Taking Baths Or Swimming
While there is no formal research recognizing taking a bath or swimming as risk factors, e. coli or other bacteria that washed off from the skin or urogenital area, or already in the water could move to the urinary tract when doing so. This could be why many women report UTIs following swimming or bathing. Many women who have noticed this pattern avoid taking baths because of it. In addition, following swimming, going a long period of time in a wet or damp bathing suit without letting the area breath and dry and without showering provides more opportunity and time for bacteria to travel to the urinary tract and establish an infection.
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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:
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.
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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.
How Does A Woman Get A Urinary Tract Infection
How Does a Woman Get a Urinary Tract Infection? Frankly speaking, there are various causes of UTI in women, but we will discuss the fundamental causes.
The risk of urinary tract infection in women is greater than in men. Why are women more vulnerable to UTI? There are various causes of urinary tract infections. However, how does a woman get a urinary tract infection? The first aspect to point out is that women have shorter urethras in comparison with men. This easily allows bacterial transformation into the bladder.
One should note here that bacteria may spread through sexual intercourse. Spermicides and contraceptive diagrams may change the environment around the urethra of women. There are also several causes that make women more vulnerable to UTI. In this article, well discuss some causes of UTI in women.
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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.
Prostatitis Epididymitis Urethritis And Orchitis
In contrast to UTI, prostatitis affects men of all ages and, from 1990-1994, accounted for almost 2 million office visits per year in the United States. Prostatitis syndromes account for 25% of male office visits for genitourinary complaints, 8% of visits to urologists, and 1% of visits to primary care physicians. Of these men, 5% have bacterial prostatitis, 64% have nonbacterial prostatitis, and 31% have prostatodynia. Digital examination of the prostate in the setting of probable or possible UTI should be avoided to prevent the risk of inciting bacteremia.
Epididymitis has a bimodal distribution, corresponding to different age groups and pathogens. Most cases in men younger than 35 years are due to sexually transmitted pathogens. Older patients are more likely to have obstructive prostatism or a history of instrumentation or catheterization.
Gonococcal urethritis is more common in ethnic minorities, lower socioeconomic groups, and persons living in urban centers. The risk to a male having intercourse with an infected female is 17%. Some of these associations may be limited by confounding. The peak age for urethritis is 20-24 years.
Mumps orchitis occurs in 18% of postpubertal boys infected with the mumps virus.
John L Brusch, MD, FACP Corresponding Faculty Member, Harvard Medical SchoolJohn L Brusch, MD, FACP is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Physicians, Infectious Diseases Society of AmericaDisclosure: Nothing to disclose.
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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
Living With Urinary Tract Infections
If you have 3 or more urinary tract infections each year, your doctor may want you to begin a preventive antibiotic program. A small dose of an antibiotic taken every day helps to reduce the number of infections. If sexual intercourse seems to cause infections for you, your doctor many suggest taking the antibiotic after intercourse.
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Youve Got A Cold The Flu Or Allergies
You may be tempted to curse your seasonal sneezes, a cold, or the dreaded flu for making your life even more miserable with a UTI, but these ailments arent the cause. The meds you take to manage symptoms could be.
Though theyre the bomb at keeping your runny or stuffy nose in check, antihistamines and decongestants might make you go less by causing urinary retention. And see No. 6 that may lead to a UTI.