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Urinary tract infections

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are caused by bacteria that can proliferate in the bladder, urethra, ureters, or kidneys. In most cases, UTIs affect the urethra and bladder. Since women are much more likely to develop UTIs than men, it’s helpful to learn how to detect the signs and symptoms, and to know when to see a urologist.

Causes and Risk Factors

A UTI can develop when bacteria enter the urethra and spread to the bladder. Cystitis is the infection of the bladder, and urethritis is the infection of the urethra. In addition to having female anatomy, other risk factors of UTIs include:

  • Being sexually active
  • Having a new sexual partner
  • Going through menopause
  • Using diaphragms or spermicidal agents for birth control
  • Having kidney stones
  • Using a urinary catheter
  • Having a suppressed immune system
  • Having a recent pelvic surgery

Patients should note that, although most UTIs affect women, it is still possible for men to develop these infections—particularly if they need to use a urinary catheter.

Signs and Symptoms

Urinary tract infections generally make themselves known by causing a painful, burning sensation during urination. Women sometimes report suffering from pelvic pain and urinating frequently but in small amounts. In some cases, the urine may look reddish or pinkish, which indicates the presence of blood. If the UTI involves the kidneys, women should seek emergency care, as permanent kidney damage or even death can result from an untreated kidney infection. Kidney infections can cause:

  • High fever
  • Shaking and chills
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • The pain of the side and back
Treatment and Prevention

Antibiotics are the primary UTI treatment, although some women might also be prescribed a medicine to control the pain during urination. Severe UTIs, such as those that involve the kidneys, might require hospitalization and intravenous antibiotics. Women who suffer from recurrent UTIs can consult a urologist to discuss a preventive approach, which may include the following:

  • Wiping from front to back
  • Urinating shortly after sex
  • Drinking plenty of water
  • Avoiding feminine products that irritate the area

Urinary tract infections can be painful, but you can find the rapid relief you need at Urology Associates, P.C. In addition to UTI treatment at our locations throughout Tennessee, our dedicated, courteous team provides comprehensive sexual health evaluations and treatments. Call 888-656-0667.