What is it?
A Urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection located in any part of the urinary system. These common infections can be located in the kidneys, bladder, urethra, and ureters. Urinary tract infections mainly involve the lower tract which consists of the bladder and urethra. They are usually caused by bacteria entering through the urethra and then spreading to the bladder. Most cases are caused by the E. coli bacteria.
The symptoms of a urinary tract infection can include:
Urinary tract infections are more common in women than men due to women having a shorter urethra, which cuts down on the length of distance the bacteria has to travel.
UTIs that are left untreated can move to the kidneys, which is then called pyelonephritis or kidney infection and is more serious.
The typical test to determine whether the patient has a UTI is a urine sample. By examining the sample for excessive white blood cells or bacteria doctors can make a determination. Doctors may also perform a urine culture. A urine culture grows the bacteria found in the urine so the doctor can determine which type of bacteria is causing the issue and prescribe the most effective medicine. In abnormal cases doctors may perform an ultrasound or CT scan of the urinary tract.
The typical treatment for UTI is antibiotics. Usually symptoms will clear up within a few treatments but patients should take the entire course prescribed by their doctor to ensure that the infection is gone. There are other types of treatment for more extreme cases.
It is recommended that once you have had a UTI you take steps to prevent future infections. Patients should drink a lot of fluids. Women should wipe from front to back, empty their bladder after sexual intercourse, and avoid using scented feminine products and tight-fitting clothing.
Talk to your doctor about the best treatment for based on your condition.