UTIs usually begin in the lower part of the urinary tract. Bacteria that comes from the bowel is found around the anus and vagina. If the bacteria is spread, it can move into the urinary tract via the urethra. Once that bacteria has entered the urinary tract, it can cause infection in the bladder. The bacteria can also move even further up to cause infection in the kidneys and the ureters.
Women get UTIs more often than men due to their shorter urethra. It's easier for the bacteria to enter the bladder and the rest of the urinary tract in women.
Some kinds of birth control, including the diaphragm, may increase risk of UTIs.
Menopausal women may be more prone to UTIs because declining estrogen increases risk of infection.
Patients who have a suppressed immune system due to diabetes or other illnesses may be more likely to have UTIs since the body is less able to protect itself from germs.
The main indicators of UTI can include:
A UTI diagnosis is usually made with the help of a urine sample. The lab analysis evaluates white blood cell levels and red blood cells levels, and also checks for the presence of bacteria in the urine.
In some cases, especially if an abnormality within the urinary tract is suspected, imaging like a CT may be used to make the diagnosis.
For patients who have recurrent UTIs, a cystoscopy may be done. In a cystoscopy, an ultra thin tube is inserted into the urethra to allow for an up-close view of the urinary tract.
The standard treatment for a UTI includes short term use of antibiotics. Common antibiotics for UTIs include Bactrim, Septra, Keflex, Rocephin, Cipro, and Levaquin along with many others. Antibiotics may be taken for anywhere from a few days to a week. In some cases, an analgesic medication is also prescribed to numb the bladder and urethra.
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