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A urinary tract infection is an infection located in any part of your urinary system (kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra). If the infection is located in your kidneys this is called acute pyelonephritis and you could suffer from flank pain, high fever, shaking and chills or nausea and vomiting. If located in your bladder this is called cystitis and you could suffer from pelvic pressure, lower abdomen discomfort, frequent and painful urination and blood in your urine. If located in your urethra this is called urethritis and could cause burning with urination or discharge. Urinary tract infections occur when bacteria enter the urinary tract through the urethra and then multiply in the bladder. UTI’s most commonly affect women and occur in the bladder and urethra. Infections in the bladder are typically caused by E. Coli or sexual intercourse. Infections of the urethra can occur when bacteria spread from the anus to the urethra or from sexually transmitted diseases.
UTI’s are more common in women because they have risk factors that include having a shorter urethra than men, which shortens the distance the bacteria must travel to reach the bladder, being sexually active with a new partner, certain types of birth control and menopause. Other risk factors include urinary tract abnormalities, blockage in the urinary tract, having a suppressed immune system, catheter use and having a recent urinary procedure.
Vesicoureteral Reflux is most commonly found in a child after they have a UTI. It is typically a birth defect and is defined as a shorter than normal attachment between the ureter and bladder with a short flap valve that does not work. Reflux is found by a test called a voiding cystourethrogram and uses x-rays of the bladder when it is full and when it is emptying to detect abnormalities. VUR can be detected at birth by ultrasound. If it is detected, testing can help to prevent serious kidney infections. A urinary culture is a test that can detect bacteria in your urine. It finds and identifies germs that can cause a UTI. Your physician will typically order a urinary culture when you present with symptoms that suspect a UTI. This will help the physician determine which antibiotic is needed to fight the infection.
Treatment for UTI’s include antibiotics. Which antibiotics and the duration of treatment depend on your physician because they need to determine which bacteria is causing the infection. Common antibiotics include Bactrim, Monurol, Macrobid, Keflex and Ceftriaxone. If you have frequent UTI’s the doctor may order a low dose of antibiotics for 6 months or longer.
In order to prevent UTI’s I would suggest drinking plenty of water because it will help to dilute your urine and flush out any bacteria, avoid drinks that can irritate your bladder such as coffee, alcohol and citrus drinks or use a heating pad if you are having abdominal discomfort to minimize pressure. I would also suggest drinking cranberry juice or taking the tablet form because some feel this contains infection-fighting agents. (Unless the patient takes blood thinners because cranberries can increase the risk of bleeding.)
According to the CDC, 75% of UTI’s acquired in the hospital are associated with urinary catheters. 15-25% of hospitalized patients receive catheters during their hospital stay. Because the most common risk factor for developing a catheter associated UTI is prolonged use of a urinary catheter they should only be used when necessary and removed as soon as they are no longer needed. Hospitals are concerned with preventing catheter associated UTI’s because they are required to report these numbers to the National Healthcare Safety Network tracking system. This will allow the facilities with the greatest burden of infections to target a way to create prevention methods so their infection numbers decrease.
A urinary tract infection is an infection located in any part of your urinary system (kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra). If the infection is located in your kidneys this is called acute pyelonephritis and you could suffer from flank pain, high fever, shaking and chills or nausea and vomiting.