Dr Sam answers how you get a urinary tract infection (UTI), how to prevent a UTI and how to stop UTI pain fast!
What is a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)?
A Urinary Tract Infection (also known as a bladder infection or cystitis) is very common in women. As a matter of fact, one in two women will have one in their lifetime. Specifically, they are caused by bacteria (bugs) in the urine and are easily treated with antibiotics.
What are the symptoms of Urinary Tract Infection?
* Passing urine urgently and more often
* Burning or stinging when you urinate.
* Blood in the urine.
* Discomfort in your lower abdomen.
* Feeling unwell and tired, with a fever.
Why do women get UTIs?
Unfortunately, women have short bladder entrances which means that bacteria don't have far to travel to infect the bladder. Coupled with other reasons such as:
* Being sexually active.
* Using spermicide.
* Having a catheter in your bladder.
* Problems with your kidneys, bladder or urinary system.
* Having a suppressed immune system.
Why do men get UTIs?
* Abnormal urinary tract, e.g. hydronephrosis, stones, inadequate emptying
* Impaired immunity, e.g. diabetes
* Had a catheter inserted or urinary tract surgery recently
* Spinal cord impairment
Antibiotics work very quickly to treat symptoms. Specifically, doctors can prescribe Trimethoprim or an alternative antibiotic like Norfloxacin or Nitrofurantoin if you are allergic. However, if your symptoms are very mild you may not need to take an antibiotic. Usually your immune system will clear the infection by itself. Bear in mind that symptoms can last for a week or so without antibiotics. Importantly, you must get antibiotics if you are pregnant or you have other longterm illnesses. Moreover, if the antibiotic treatment does not work within a few days, you should see a doctor for a blood and urine test.
Occasionally the infection can spread up from the bladder into the kidneys. Kidney infections can make you develop a high fever with shaking, back pain and other bladder symptoms. In fact, if you have these symptoms you must see a doctor for blood tests and IV antibiotic medicine.
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