Urinary Tract Infections

Urinary Tract Infections

How do Urinary Tract Infections develop?

Most UTIs start in the lower urinary tract, which is made up of the urethra and bladder.  Bacteria from the bowel live on the skin near the anus or in the vagina. Since women’s urethras are located at the in the front of the vagina, they are more prone to getting a UTI. 

Cystitis is a bladder infection caused when the bacteria travel to the upper urinary tract, ureters and kidneys.

What causes UTIs?

During sex, the bacteria near the vagina can get into the urethra from contact with the penis, fingers or stimulating devices. Infections can also occur when the bladder is not emptied completely. This condition can be caused by the following:

  • Ureters (the duct by which urine passes from the kidney to the bladder or cloaca), kidneys, or bladder blockage
  • A narrowed tube in the urinary tract
  • Issues with the pelvic muscles or nerves

What are other factors that increase the risk of getting a UTI?

You have an increased risk of getting an infection if you:

  • Previously had a UTI
  • Have several children
  • Have diabetes
  • Suffer from obesity

What increases risk of getting regular and reoccurring UTIs?

  • Frequent sex
  • Young age at first UTI
  • Spermicides
  • Diaphragms
  • New sexual partner
  • Lack of cleanliness in the anus and genital areas

UTI Symptoms

  • The most common sign of a UTI is a strong urgency to urinate.
  • Dysuria is when sharp pains or burning is felt when urinating.
  • The urge to urinate returns minutes later (frequency).
  • Soreness may be felt in the lower abdomen, in the back or in the sides.If you notice a strong odor, cloudy urine or even blood presence, you should walk-in to the GYN Emergent Care Center for immediate care.

If bacteria enters the ureters and spreads to the kidneys, symptoms may include back pain, chills, fever, nausea and vomiting.

What to do to treat your UTI?

What can UTIs cause if left untreated?
If a UTI goes untreated, you can risk permanent kidney damage from an acute or chronic kidney infection (pyelonephritis) due to an untreated UTI.

How is it diagnosed and with what type of tests?
Urinalysis is a simple urine test to check your white and red blood cells and the presence of bacteria.

Are there medications that help treat UTIs?
Antibiotics are used to treat UTI’s.  The type, dose and length of the antibiotic treatment depend on the type of bacteria causing the infection.

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