Urinary tract infection (UTI) is a general term for infection of the parts of the urinary tract. An infection of the urethra is called urethritis, an infection of the bladder is called cystitis and a kidney infection is called pyelonephritis.
UTI’s are the second most common type of infection in the body. Women are especially prone to UTI’s for anatomical reasons. Most UTIs are caused by bacteria that live in the bowel and, a women’s urethra is shorter, allowing bacteria quicker access to the bladder. UTI’s in men are not as common as in women but can be serious when they occur. Recurrent UTI’s are defined as having more than 2 infections in 6 months or 3 infections in a year.
Women’s Health Concerns
• Urgency to urinate
• Burning when urinating
• Cloudy urine
• Foul smelling urine
• Pelvic pain in women
• Rectal pain in men
• Red, pink or cola colored urine – a sign of blood in the urine
• Being female
• Being sexually active
• Using a diaphragm for birth control
• Being post menopausal
• Urinary tract abnormalities
• Blockages in the urinary tract – Kidney stones or an enlarged prostate for example
• A suppressed immune system – Diabetes for example
• Using a catheter to empty bladder
A urine culture is a test that can find the type of bacteria that caused the infection, which will help Dr. Bankhead choose an antibiotic to give you. If you tend to get UTIs often, or if you’re a man, he may want to see if something is blocking the flow of your urine or if your pee is going the wrong way, back up through your urinary system. In that case, you may get additional tests such as:
• Blood tests
• CT scans
• Cystoscopy, in which your doctor inserts a long, thin instrument into your urethra (the tube that carries urine out of your body from your bladder) to check inside your urinary tract
Treatment of UTIs depends on the cause. Your doctor will be able to determine which organism is causing the infection from the test results used to confirm the diagnosis. In most cases, the cause is bacteria. UTIs caused by bacteria are treated with antibiotics.
In some cases, viruses or fungi are the causes. Viral UTIs are treated with medications called antivirals. Often, the antiviral cidofovir is the choice to treat viral UTIs. Fungal UTIs are treated with medications called antifungals.
The form of antibiotic used to treat a bacterial UTI usually depends on what part of the tract is involved. Lower tract UTIs can usually be treated with oral antibiotics. Upper tract UTIs require intravenous antibiotics. These antibiotics are put directly into your veins.
Treatments other than antibiotics for bacterial UTIs are being examined. At some point, UTI treatment without antibiotics may be an option for bacterial UTIs by using cell chemistry to change the interaction between the body and the bacteria.
There are no home remedies that can cure a UTI, but there are some things that you can do to help your medication work better.
These home remedies for UTIs may help your body clear the infection faster. Cranberry juice or cranberries don’t treat a UTI once it’s started. However, a chemical in cranberries may help prevent certain types of bacteria that can cause a bacterial UTI from attaching to the lining of your bladder. This may be helpful in preventing future UTIs.
It’s important to treat a UTI — the earlier, the better. Untreated UTIs become more and more severe the further they spread. A UTI is usually easiest to treat in the lower urinary tract. An infection that spreads to the upper urinary tract is much more difficult to treat and is more likely to spread into your blood, causing sepsis. This is a life-threatening event.
You don’t have to live with urinary pain. Give us a call or send us an email to find a solution that fits your lifestyle.