Urinary tract infections are infections that occur in the urethra and can spread into the bladder and the kidneys. They happen most commonly in women. In this article we will look at the symptoms, causes, treatment and diagnosis of urinary tract infections.
You may have a urinary tract infection if you have: fever and chills, are having nausea, are vomiting, your belly is tender and sore, it burns when you urinate, your urine smells bad, your urine is cloudy, or if you are urinating a lot or feel like you have to urinate a lot. You should call a doctor immediately if you: are pregnant, have diabetes, have a fever and are vomiting and have pain in your ribs, if you have kidney problems, are older than 65, or if you have a weak immune system.
Urinary tract infections are caused by germs getting into your urethra and traveling up into your bladder and kidneys. These germs come from your large intestine and travel out in your stool. Urinary tract infections happen to both men and women but is far more common in women. This is due to the fact that the female’s urethra is a lot shorter and closer to the anus. You may run a higher risk of getting a UTI if you are pregnant, don’t drink enough fluids, engage in intercourse, have an enlarged prostate or have kidney stones. It is recommended that you drink a lot of water.
The most common treatment for those who get a urinary tract infection for the first time is a simple 3 to 7 day antibiotic treatment. If for some reason this does not help to get rid of the UTI then additional tests can be done and perhaps a longer antibiotic treatment might be used. People with diabetes, pregnant women and those with obstructions to their urinary flow may need longer antibiotic treatment (anywhere from 7 to 10 days of treatment). To make sure that the treatment has worked cultures of your urine may be taken by the doctor. It is important for pregnant women who have experienced an infection to get cultures done once a month as UTIs came happen quite frequently to them leading up to giving birth.
During a urinary tract infection you may experience discomfort or pain in your bladder and while you urinate. In this case your doctor could prescribe you a bladder anesthetic to help. It is recommended that you drink a lot of water when you have a UTI as it will help to wash the infection away.
If you have a urinary tract infection, don’t worry, you will live. If you get it diagnosed and start treatment symptoms can go away within a day or two. If it has been left until a kidney infection has occurred it may take up to a week for the symptoms go away (once you have begun treatment). Kidney infection is one of the worst things that can happen as a result of a UTI. Other complications may include: kidney scarring, kidney damage, or blood infections (these can be life threatening but very seldom happen). It is important that you get medical attention if you are vomiting, have chills, a fever or side or back pain.