Urinary Tract Infection
A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection in any part of your urinary system—your kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra. Most infections involve the lower urinary tract—the bladder and the urethra. If you are a woman, your chances of getting a UTI is high. Many women have repeat infections, sometimes for years on end. Infection that is limited to your bladder can be painful and annoying. However, serious consequences can occur if a UTI spreads to your kidneys.
UTI Symptoms may include:
- A burning sensation when urinating
- A strong, persistent urge to urinate
- Passing frequent, small amounts of urine
- Urine that appears cloudy, dark or bloody
- Strong smelling urine
- Pain or pressure in your back of lower abdomen
If you suspect you have a urinary tract infection, head to the doctor. You’ll be asked to give a urine sample, which will be tested for the presence of a UTI causing bacteria. UTI’s are normally treated with antibiotics. Be sure to finish off the prescribed cycle of medicine completely, even after you start to feel better. Drink lots of water to help flush the bacteria from your system. Your doctor may prescribe a medication to soothe the pain, and a heating pad may be helpful.
When treated promptly and properly, lower tract infections rarely lead to complications. But left untreated, a urinary tract infection can have serious consequences. Complications of UTI may include, recurrent infections, permanent kidney damage, pregnancy risks of developing low weight or premature infants, urethral narrowing, Sepsis which is a life-threatening complication of an infection.
Preventative measures include:
- Drink plenty of liquids, especially water. Drinking water helps dilute your urine and ensures that you’ll urinate more frequently allowing bacteria to be flushed out.
- Wiping from front to back helps prevent bacteria from spreading to the vagina and urethra
- Drink cranberry juice. Studies are not conclusive that this prevents UTI’s, but it is likely not harmful.
- Empty your bladder soon after intercourse
- Avoid potentially irritating feminine products such as body sprays, douches and powders.
Any adult or child who develops any symptoms of a UTI needs to be evaluated by a medical professional within 24 hours. Infants and elderly people with signs and symptoms should see their health care professional as soon as possible or go to an emergency department for an evaluation.