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Urinary Tract Infection - UTI

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A urinary tract infection is a type of urine infection that can occur anywhere in the urinary tract. The urinary tract removes urine from the body and includes the urethra, ureters, kidneys and bladder. The urinary tract infection (UTI) can occur in any or all areas, though an infection of the urethra is the most common. The different types of UTIs cause different symptoms, such as a kidney UTI causing flank pain, shaking and chills while a UTI of the urethra causes burning with urination. Most UTIs are caused by bacteria called E. coli though other bacteria, parasites and fungi can cause the infection. UTIs are common and treatable, but complications occur without proper treatment including sepsis, kidney failure, dehydration and death in the most severe cases. According to, urinary tract infections are responsible for 7-10 million doctor visits each year, though many of them go unnoticed.

Causes and Risk Factors of Urinary Tract Infection

Bacteria, fungi or parasites cause urinary tract infections. This could occur from improper wiping in females (not wiping front to back), sexual intercourse which pushes bacteria into the urethra, not passing urine when you feel the urge to go, using spermicides or a diaphragm as birth control, having a kidney stone which makes it hard to urinate, having hormonal changes following menopause such as low estrogen, having a catheter or having a medical condition that lowers your immune system, such as diabetes. Risk factors for UTIs include being a woman, being sexually active, having gone through menopause, using birth control like diaphragms, having a blockage in the urinary tract, a lowered immune system or using a catheter to urinate. If you meet any of these risk factors, you should be more careful to avoid a UTI.

Symptoms, Signs and Tests of Urinary Tract Infection

While many urinary tract infections go unnoticed, there are a variety of signs and symptoms that can point to having one. Its important to pay close attention to the symptoms and see a doctor if you experience any of them. Symptoms include having burning or discomfort while urinating, not being able to empty your bladder, having a tender or heavy abdomen, cloudy urine, smelly urine or strong smelling urine, pain on one side of your back where your kidneys are, nausea and vomiting, fever and chills or blood in urine. If you have any of these symptoms, consult a doctor right away. They will run a series of tests to diagnose a UTI, including a urinalysis to look for white blood cells in urine, urine culture, CT scan of your urinary tract and a scope of your bladder.

Treatment, Drugs and Prevention of Urinary Tract Infection

Anyone who suspects a UTI should get medical attention as soon as possible. The first course of treatment following a diagnosis is getting antibiotics to get rid of the infection. You should also call your doctor immediately if you show symptoms of a UTI and are pregnant, are older than 65, have a fever, nausea or vomiting, or have a medical condition like kidney problems or diabetes. To prevent a urinary tract infection, drink plenty of fluids, always wipe front to back, urinate when you feel the urge and dont attempt to hold it, urinate after having sexual intercourse and consider using a different form of birth control. You should always consult your doctor if you suspect you have a UTI, but there are some ways to treat it at home until you can get into the doctors office. Drink plenty of fluids, including cranberry juice which helps fight and prevent infections. Avoid drinks that may irritate your bladder such as caffeine or alcohol and avoid feminine products like scented tampons, douche and powders. There isnt a cure for UTIs as the infection can return, but they are treatable with antibiotics. Consult a medical professional today about your condition.