If you constantly need to urinate, experience pain when urinating, or experience lower back pain, you may have a urinary tract infection (UTI). Most UTIs can be prevented, diagnosed, and treated effectively. This post highlights the symptoms, treatment, and prevention options for Urinary Tract Infections.
What is Urinary Tract Infection?
A UTI affects the urinary system. The four major parts of the urinary system include the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. Essentially, the urinary tract plays an integral role in making and storing urine. In this case, urine is a by-product of the body's filtration process. Normal urine does not contain bacteria, and it moves through the urinary system without causing infections. However, when bacteria enter the urinary tract from outside your body, it can cause infections and inflammations known as UTI.
UTIs are very common, especially among women. However, men and children can also develop a urinary tract infection. The high prevalence of UTI among women is because they have a shorter urethra close to the anus where the E.coli bacteria thrives. Besides, the risk of contracting a UTI is higher among older adults due to incomplete emptying of the bladder. UTIs are different from a bladder infection (cystitis) that affects only the bladder.
Symptom of Urinary Tract Infection
A person with a UTI may have any of the following symptoms:
- Pain or pressure in the abdomen, pelvic area, penis, flank, or lower back
- Frequent urination and urinary incontinence
- Painful urination and blood in the urine
- Abnormal urine color and foul smell
- Pain during sex
Urinary Tract Infection Management Approach
A doctor can run the following types of tests to diagnose UTI:
- Urinalysis – the test examines the number of white and red blood cells in urine
- Urine culture – a test designed to analyze the type of bacteria in the urine
- Ultrasound – a test utilizing sound waves to develop images of the internal organs
- Cystoscopy – that uses a particular device with a lens fitted inside the bladder through the urethra
- CT scan – an imaging test that uses X-rays
Healthcare providers use antibiotics to treat UTIs. Essentially, antibiotics work by killing bacteria. Thus, your doctor will prescribe the best type of antibiotic to treat particular bacteria causing your UTI. Some common types of antibiotics include amoxicillin, sulfonamides, nitrofurantoin, quinolones, doxycycline, and cephalosporin. Importantly, you must complete the entire course of antibiotics for a full recovery. However, it is possible to get an antibiotic-resistant infection after treating frequent UTIs using antibiotics. The doctor may recommend alternative treatment like waiting and intravenous medication in such cases.
It is possible to prevent UTIs through lifestyle changes. Healthcare providers recommend practicing good personal hygiene or changing clothes. Then you can change your urination habits, birth control method and ensure you drink plenty of fluids. Besides, using water-based sex lubricants and estrogen-containing vaginal creams can reduce the risk of developing UTIs.
A UTI can be a painful and uncomfortable medical condition. Consult your healthcare provider for diagnosis and the best urinary tract infection management option.
For more information on UTI treatment, contact a doctor near you.