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What is a Urinary Tract Infection?

A Urinary Tract Infection is an infection anywhere in the urinary system: kidneys, ureters, bladder, and or urethra. The infection is often caused by bacteria and women are usually more susceptible to these infections than men. When the infection is limited to the bladder, the symptoms are often mild to moderate and annoying: burning with urination, urinary frequency. The Symptoms are:

  • Burning with urination
  • Frequent urination
  • Discolored urine or blood present
  • Strong smelling urine
  • Pelvic discomfort or pressure

However, if the infection reaches the kidneys, the symptoms and consequences can become more serious. Fever, back pain, fatigue, nausea and vomiting may be signs that the infection has traveled to the kidneys and immediate medical attention should be sought.

How is a Urinary Tract Infection Diagnosed?

This type of infection is diagnosed when the physician listens to your symptoms, examines you and your urine. urine that is infected will displays certain markers on a test strip that will help your provider make the diagnosis. Often the urine is also sent to a lab for a cultural which identifies the type of bacteria and it also tells the doctor if you are on an antibiotic that will kill the bacteria found in your specimen.

How is a UTI Treated?

An antibiotic is used to treat urinary tract infections. The provider will choose an appropriate medication and confirm its efficacy when the culture results are back from the lab. In rare instances, the doctor may have to change your prescription depending upon those results. Drinking plenty of fluid can help and there are over the counter remedies that will help with the symptoms but not kill the bacteria: i.e. Phenazopyridine.

How can I prevent a Urinary Tract Infection?

  • Urinate before and after vaginal intercourse
  • Wipe from front to back after a bowel movement
  • Avoid feminine products like sprays
  • Cranberry juice might be helpful