The "Whats" of UTIs

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March 25,2011 – A urinary tract infection, or UTI, is an infection that can happen anywhere along the urinary tract.

What are the Causes?
Urinary tract infections are caused by germs, usually bacteria that enter the urethra and then the bladder. This can lead to infection, most commonly in the bladder itself, which can spread to the kidneys.
Most of the time, your body can get rid of these bacteria. However, certain conditions increase the risk of having UTIs.
Women tend to get them more often because their urethra is shorter and closer to the anus than in men. Because of this, women are more likely to get an infection after sexual activity or when using a diaphragm for birth control. Menopause also increases the risk of a UTI.
Pregnancy and diabetes also increase the chances of getting UTIs.

What are the Symptoms?
• Cloudy or bloody urine, which may have a foul or strong odour
• Low fever (not everyone will have a fever)
• Pain or burning with urination
• Pressure or cramping in the lower abdomen (usually middle) or back
• Strong need to urinate often, even right after the bladder has been emptied
If the infection spreads to your kidneys, symptoms may include:
• Chills and shaking or night sweats
• Fatigue and a general ill feeling
• Fever above 101 degrees Fahrenheit
• back, or groin pain
• Flushed, warm, or reddened skin
• confusion (in the elderly, these symptoms often are the only signs of a UTI)
• Nausea and vomiting
• Severe abdominal pain (sometimes)

Treatment:
Your doctor must first decide whether you have a mild or simple bladder or kidney infection, or whether your infection is more serious.

MILD BLADDER AND KIDNEY INFECTIONS
Antibiotics taken by mouth are usually recommended because there is a risk that the infection can spread to the kidneys.
It is important that you finish all the antibiotics, even if you feel better. People who do not finish their antibiotics may develop an infection that is harder to treat.
Everyone with a bladder or kidney infection should drink plenty of water.

Some women have repeat or recurrent bladder infections. Such women may also try taking a single, daily dose of an antibiotic to prevent infections.. Taking a single dose of an antibiotic after sexual contact may prevent these infections, which occur after sexual activity.
If a structural (anatomical) problem is causing the infection, surgery may be recommended.
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