Learn to identify, treat and prevent a UTI
If you’ve never had one, you may not know what a urinary tract infection is and therefore, not know the signs, treatment or ways to prevent one. It is important to know the facts about urinary tract infections.
What is a urinary tract infection?
A urinary tract infection, or UTI, is an infection that occurs anywhere in the urinary tract, including the kidneys, bladder and urethra. This type of infection is usually caused by bacteria entering the urethra and is more common in females than males. Urinary tract infections are the second most common type of infection, accounting for close to 10 million doctor visits each year. It is estimated that 1 out of every 5 women will experience a urinary tract infection at some point in their lifetime.
Who is most at risk for this type of infection?
- Women. Urinary tract infections are more frequently seen in women because they have a shorter urethra than males. This means that it is easier for bacteria to reach the bladder and cause an infection.
- Diabetes. Those that suffer from diabetes are also at a higher risk for contracting a UTI. This is could be due to several factors: the sugar content in their urine is higher; they may urinate much more frequently; their bodies’ immune systems may be less able to fight off an infection. There are also certain diabetes medications that can increase the risk of urinary tract infections.
- Enlarged prostate. Men who have an enlarged prostate may experience more frequent UTI’s. An enlarged prostate can block the flow of urine, making it much easier for an infection to occur.
What are the symptoms of a UTI?
The most common symptoms of a urinary tract infection are:
- Frequent urination.
- The feeling of urgently needing to urinate, but only passing a few drops of urine.
- A burning sensation when urinating.
- Cloudy, discolored urine.
- Blood in the urine.
- Foul-smelling urine.
A severe urinary tract infection that has moved up into the kidneys may also have the following symptoms:
- Abdominal or lower back pain.
What treatment options are available?
A doctor can treat a common, uncomplicated urinary tract infection easily with a course of antibiotics. Symptoms should clear up within a few days, but be sure to complete all medication as prescribed to avoid bacterial resistance or a recurrent infection.
A more complicated, advanced infection that has spread to the kidneys may require a hospital stay and a more aggressive antibiotic regimen. If not treated quickly, this type of infection may cause permanent damage to the kidneys.
How can I prevent a UTI?
There are a few things that you can do to help prevent a urinary tract infection:
- Drink lots of water.
- Drink cranberry juice (some studies have shown that a certain compound in pure cranberry juice may inhibit bacteria from causing an infection).
- Women should wipe from front to back to avoid spreading bacteria to the urethra.
- Practice good hygiene.
- Don’t hold it! If you feel the need to urinate, go to the bathroom.
If you suspect that you may have a urinary tract infection, our team of doctors is here to help. A quick visit to a walk-in urgent care clinic will have you feeling better and can help to prevent any future complications.
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