A UTI is an infection in the urinary tract. Infections are caused by microbes—organisms too small to be seen without a microscope. Bacteria are the most common cause of UTIs. Normally, bacteria that enter the urinary tract are removed by the body before they cause symptoms. But sometimes bacteria overcome the body’s natural defenses and cause infection. Urinary tract infections are one of the most common reasons for visiting a doctor about an infection. A UTI can range from an infection of the bladder to an infection of the kidney.
UTIs occur in people of any age or sex. But about four times as many women get UTIs as men. Women have a shorter urethra, which makes it easier for bacteria to reach the bladder. Also, the opening of a woman’s urethra is nearer to areas where bacteria live. Women who use a diaphragm are also more likely to get UTIs than women who use other birth control forms. You’re also at higher risk if you have diabetes, need a tube to drain your bladder or have a spinal cord injury.
A faint prickly feeling during urination is usually the first sign of a urinary tract infection. Bacteria can be present in a urine sample without causing any symptoms. This bacteria is more common in women who have diabetes, repeated UTIs, or in the elderly. This type of UTI may not always need treatment except in special situations, such as in pregnant women. UTIs with symptoms are most common among sexually active women. The most common symptoms include:
- Pain or burning when you urinate
- An urge to urinate often, even if you only pass a small amount
- Pressure in your lower belly
- Urine that smells bad or looks cloudy or reddish
- Pain in your back or side below the ribs
- Fever, tiredness, or shakiness
If you notice any of these symptoms, it is important to contact your medical professional immediately.
The earlier that you treat a UTI, the easier and quicker it is to recover.
Your doctor will test a sample of your urine for bacteria and blood cells. UTIs are common and easily treated with antibiotics. Their physician determines the length of time a patient needs to take an antibiotic for a UTI. Some of the factors your physician will consider are how bad the infection is, recurrence, and personal history. Your doctor may also suggest you take a pain reliever, use a heating pad, and drink plenty of fluids.
Do you have questions about your health or need a healthcare provider? The team at Creekside Center for Women is here to help you. Call today. 479.582.9268