Urinary Tract Infection
Urinary Tract Infection
UTIs can cause very uncomfortable symptoms including…
Usually doctors prescribe antibiotics to treat UTIs…
You can reduce your risk of developing urinary …
See our qualified physicians
Our Urinary Tract Infection Specialists
Dr. Korman, Howard
Dr. Kearney, David
Urinary Tract Infection
UTIs can cause very uncomfortable symptoms including:
- Pressure or pain in your lower pelvis or abdomen
- Frequent or urgent need to urinate
- Need to urinate but only a small amount of urine comes out
- Foul-smelling urine
- Urine leakage
- Pain or burning when urinating
- Urine that looks cloudy or milky
- Blood in urine
- Penis discharge (in men)
Large numbers of bacteria live in the area around the vagina and rectum, and also on your skin. Bacteria may get into the urine from the urethra and travel into the bladder. They may even travel up to the kidney. But no matter how far they go, bacteria in the urinary tract can cause problems.
Just as some people are more prone to colds, some people are more prone to UTIs. Women are more likely to get a UTI than men because women have shorter urethras than men, so bacteria have a shorter distance to travel to reach the bladder.
Some factors that can add to your chances of getting a UTI are:
Women who have gone through menopause have a change in the lining of the vagina and lose the protection that estrogen provides, that lowers the chance of getting a UTI. Some women are genetically predisposed to UTIs and have urinary tracts that make it easier for bacteria to cling to them. Sexual intercourse can also affect how often you get UTIs.
Women who use diaphragms have also been found to have a higher risk of UTIs when compared to those who use other forms of birth control. Using condoms with spermicidal foam is also known to be linked to greater risk of getting UTIs in women.
You are more likely to get a UTI if your urinary tract has an abnormality or has recently had a device (such as a tube to drain fluid from the body) placed in it. If you are not able to urinate normally because of some type of blockage, you will also have a higher chance of a UTI.
Anatomical abnormalities in the urinary tract may also lead to UTIs. These abnormalities are often found in children at an early age but can still be found in adults. There may be structural abnormalities, such as outpouchings called diverticula, that harbor bacteria in the bladder or urethra or even blockages, such as an enlarged bladder, that keep the body from draining all the urine from the bladder.
Issues such as diabetes (high blood sugar) also put people at higher risk for UTIs because the body is not able to fight off germs as well.
Can UTIs be Prevented?
There are steps women can take to avoid UTIs:
- Certain forms of birth control, such as spermicidal foam and diaphragms, are known to increase the risk of UTIs in women. Check with your health care provider about other types of birth control.
- Drink plenty of fluids (approximately 2 L / day) to keep well hydrated.
- Don’t put off urinating when you need to and don’t rush to finish. Holding in urine and not draining your bladder fully can increase your risk of UTIs.
- Cranberry juice or tablets may help prevent UTIs.
If you are worried about a UTI, then you should talk with your health care provider. UTIs can be found by analyzing a urine sample. The urine is examined under a microscope for bacteria or white blood cells, which are signs of infection. Your health care provider may also take a urine culture. This is a test that detects and identifies bacteria and yeast in the urine, which may be causing a UTI.
If you ever see blood in your urine, you should call your health care provider right away. Blood in the urine may be caused by a UTI but it may also be from another problem in the urinary tract.
If you are having fevers and symptoms of a UTI, or symptoms that won’t go away despite therapy, then you should call a health care provider. You may need further tests, such as an ultrasound or CT scan, to check the urinary tract.
Testing and Treatment
Usually doctors prescribe antibiotics to treat UTIs. Once you start taking medication, your symptoms should go away in a few days, but this doesn’t mean you can stop taking the medicine. While you are on the mediation, drink plenty of water to help flush the bacteria out of your system.
To help ease the pain of a UTI, you can take an over-the-counter pain reliever and try putting a heating pad on your lower abdomen.
If you have recurrent UTIs (three or more in a year), your doctor may recommend additional treatments.
You can reduce your risk of developing urinary tract infections with these steps.
- Drink plenty of water (enough that your urine is clear or a light yellow)
- Urinate when you first get the urge. Holding urine can increases bacteria growth in your bladder.
- Wipe from front to back after a bowel movement to avoid germs from the anus getting into the urethra
- After sex, urinate and drink a glass of water to help flush bacteria that may have been pushed into the urethra during intercourse
- Avoid genital cleansing products such as douches and deodorants. These remove your body’s natural protective secretions and oils
- Take showers instead of baths
- Wear cotton underwear
Frequently Asked Questions
You can’t treat an active UTI by drinking cranberry juice, but substances in cranberries may help prevent UTIs by making it harder for bacteria to stick to the bladder wall. Keep in mind that fruit juices have a lot of sugar and consider cranberry pill instead.
Pay attention to when the burning or itching feeling occurs. A yeast infection causes vaginal itching or burning with a white discharge. In contrast, a urinary tract infection causes a burning sensation during or shortly after urination.
Request an appointment now
Getting an accurate diagnosis can be one of the most impactful experiences that you can have — especially if you’ve been in search of that answer for a while. We can help you get there.