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Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) by MariJo Day Ahr

By at October 19, 2011 | 6:04 pm | Print

UTI stands for urinary tract infection. That means that germs have infected a part of our body’s urinary system: bladder, urethra, kidney(s) or the tubes that connect the kidneys and the bladder. UTIs are the second most common type of infection in the body and are the reason for more than eight million doctor visits per year.

Most often, UTIs are bladder infections, but if they go untreated, they can spread to the kidneys. Kidney infections can be serious and can cause permanent damage, so your best bet is to act quickly when you first have symptoms.

Although not everyone has symptoms, most adults do and the most common symptoms include an urge to urinate frequently and a burning, painful feeling while urinating.  Also, realize that even though you may have a frequent urge to urinate, you may only pass just a small amount of urine at a time.  The urine may look cloudy and if it is reddish then that indicates blood in the urine. UTIs of the bladder or urethra do not usually cause fevers but if you have a fever in addition to other symptoms, you probably have a kidney infection. Remember, having a urinary tract infection in the kidneys is a serious matter and should not be “endured” or ignored. Other symptoms of a kidney infection may include pain in your back or your side under the ribs or possibly nausea and vomiting.  Both men and women get UTIs but women get them far more often then men.  Something not everyone talks about but I feel is important for you to know, is that women often feel pressure above the pubic bone, and men may experience a fullness in the rectum.

In children, the symptoms of a UTI can get overlooked or attributed to another disorder. A UTI should be considered when an infant or child is not eating normally, seems irritable, has persistent, unexplained fever, has loose bowels or isn’t able to control urination. Children, unlike adults, are more likely to have fever and no other symptoms.

There are a few factors that increase your risk of getting a UTI:  having diabetes or any disorder that suppresses the immune system, previously having had UTIs, using condoms with a spermicidal and having prostate problems. Also, according to several studies, women who use a diaphragm are more likely to develop a UTI than women who use a different form of birth control.  A bit of information that is valuable but not mentioned in much literature is that females should wipe themselves from “front to the back”.

The primary treatment for UTIs is taking antibiotics.  There are many different antibiotics used and your doctor will decide which is best for you.  Often, a UTI can be cured with just one or two days of treatment but many doctors advise to take antibiotics for a week or two to be sure that the infection has been cured.

Other things may help you get through a UTI a bit easier.  One is drinking lots of water, especially during the first 24 hours of your symptoms appearing.  This will help make the urine less concentrated and may wash out the infection-causing bacteria.  Also, urinating frequently and completely, to empty your bladder each time is a good habit when getting through a UTI.
To relieve pain, a hot bath or using a heating pad will probably bring some relief.

Resources

National Kidney & Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NKUDIC)

NIH.gov UTI’s http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/Kudiseases/pubs/utiadult/

WebMD UTI’s

 

 

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