Urinary tract infections, or UTIs, are a common problem that plaques the female population. In fact, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, 40 to 60 percent of women will have a UTI at some point in their lifetimes, and one in four women will have an infection that comes back after initial treatment. UTIs can produce highly disruptive and painful symptoms. For some women, UTIs are recurrent and stubborn to treat. It is important for women to understand the facts about urinary tract infections, including who is at risk and what warning signs to look for.
What’s a UTI?
A UTI can involve any part of the urinary tract, from the kidneys to the urethra. Most UTI’s involve the bladder. It is common to question whether UTIs are the same as bladder infections. The truth is that all bladder infections are UTIs, but not all UTIs are bladder infections. A UTI involving the kidneys is a more serious and often painful infection than one that involves the urethra.
Like most infections, an infection within the urinary tract begins with the presence of bacteria. Due to the shorter anatomy of the female urethra and the proximity of the urethra to the anus, females are at a much higher risk for UTIs than men.
Warning Signs of a UTI
Every patient is different. While some women may notice symptoms of a UTI right away, others may have mild symptoms that go undetected. In general, UTIs produce the following warning signs:
- Burning sensation with urination (dysuria)
- Urgency to urinate
- Blood in the urine
- Cramping or pain in the pelvis
- Frequent urination
- Cloudy or strong-smelling urine
Treating and Preventing Urinary Tract Infections
Some women have success treating uncomplicated UTIs at home. This can be accomplished with drinking more water, taking a probiotic and increasing Vitamin C. However, for women who are experiencing pain or fever associated with a UTI, a course of antibiotics is needed. At the office of Dr. Brent Michael, we routinely treat UTIs with an antibiotic designed to target the bacteria in your urine sample. If your UTI symptoms are worsening, causing you to miss work or keep coming back after treatment, please call our office.
Once you’ve treated your UTI, it is important to know how to prevent another one. Some women are more prone than others to this type of infection. However, all women can benefit from the following preventative tips:
- Drink plenty of water
- Urinate when you feel the urge
- Wipe front to back
- Wash up before sexual intercourse
- Urinate after sex
- Avoid scented feminine products
- Consider other birth control options
To learn more about UTIs in women or to schedule an urgent office visit for UTI treatment, please contact Dr. Brent Michael in Santa Monica today!