Urinary tract infections (UTI's) are caused by foreign bacteria in the urinary tract (kidneys, bladder, ureters, urethra, and, in men, prostate). This illness is most common in women and older people.
UTI's are caused when bacteria travel into the urinary tract from the digestive system or (for women) the vagina. Shape of a person's organs, genetic tendencies and catheter use can all contribute to the development of UTI's. Additionally, sexual activity and the use of certain contraceptive methods can lead to urinary tract infections. Though sex itself doesn't cause UTI's, it does promote the movement of bacteria from the penis, vagina, or anus to the urethra.
There are a variety of tests your physician can use to determine the presence of a UTI.
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Symptoms usually appear 1 week after infection.
There are several signs of UTI and if you experience them, you should see your doctor:
If left untreated, UTI's can cause damage to the kidneys, decreasing their effectiveness at cleaning the blood.
While re-infection isn't common, it also isn't rare. Roughly 20% of women who have a UTI will have another one sometime in the future.
Bacterial UTI's are treated with antibiotics. The specific antibiotic chosen will depend largely on the bacteria present, and treatment usually runs somewhere between three and fourteen days (though severe infections may be treated for longer periods of time).
Specific recovery time will vary based on the treatment used and should be discussed with your doctor. If you still have symptoms after the timeframe given by your doctor, you should return for a re-check.
Care should be taken with sexual activity as it is known to promote UTI's. Additionally, use of spermicidal gels increase the risk of developing a urinary tract infection. Urinating after sex, or gently cleaning the area around the urethra can help to reduce the risk of a sexually related UTI.
While it does nothing to treat an infection, there is reason to believe that drinking cranberry juice can reduce the risk of developing a urinary tract infection. There is also a link between reduced risk of contracting a UTI and fully emptying your bladder when you urinate, as well as urinating shortly after sex. If you already have an infection, be sure to finish all your medication, as stopping early can lead to re-infection. If your UTI's are the result of an anatomic problem, surgery to correct the issue may be recommended.
Yes. Urinary tract infections are easily treated with antibiotics.
Bacterial. UTI's are caused by a variety of bacteria.
Antibiotics. Various antibiotics are used depending on the offending bacterium.
Variable. Specific time for recovery is dependent on the medication prescribed.
No. Sex is not recommended as it can promote movement of bacteria.
Yes. There is roughly a 20% probability of re-infection.
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