A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection in a part of a patient’s urinary system. This can occur in the ureters, kidneys, bladder, or urethra. The lower urinary tract, which includes the urethra and bladder, is the portion that is most affected by UTIs.
There are a few causes for a UTI, mainly the presence of bacteria in the urinary tract. This can occur after a bowel movement (wiping from back to front), sexual intercourse, using a diaphragm or spermicides, diabetes, waiting too long to urinate, kidney stone, or a catheter.
Women experience UTIs more often than men. Over 50 percent of women will have a UTI in their lifetime.
There are occasions when a UTI will not cause any symptoms, but a patient may experience the following symptoms:
A urologist will diagnose a UTI using a urinalysis. If the patient experiences UTIs regularly, an X-ray or ultrasound is used to determine the cause of repeat UTIs, and to see if there is a blockage or swelling within the urinary tract.
Antibiotics are used for the treatment of a UTI, which will kill the bacteria. Although the patient may have less severe symptoms in one to two days, it is recommended that the entire course of antibiotics is taken.
A bladder infection, also known as cystitis, is inflammation of the bladder, which is part of the urinary tract. Women are more prone to bladder infections than men, which is possibly due to a woman’s shorter urethra. A shorter urethra allows bacteria to more easily find its way to the bladder. A bladder infection, if left untreated, can progress to the kidney, which can lead to permanent kidney damage.
There are a few different kinds of bladder infections:
Bladder infection symptoms include frequent urination in women, burning sensation while urinating, cloudy or bloody urine, urinating in small amounts, and bladder spasms. If the patient is experiencing a fever or chills, it may be a sign that the infection had spread to the kidneys.
Bladder infection treatment is dependent on the severity of the condition. If the infection does not affect the kidney, a urologist will prescribe a round of antibiotics. If the bladder infection has spread to the kidneys, a stronger dose of antibiotics will be used. No matter the severity, it is recommended that the patient drinks plenty of water to flush the bacteria out.
The urologists at Academic Urology and Urogynecology of Arizona understand the importance of treating urinary tract infections at its onset to prevent damage to the kidneys. Our experienced urologists have a vast knowledge in the diagnosis and treatment of the numerous urologic conditions that affect women. Call us to schedule an appointment at one of our seven convenient locations throughout Arizona.