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What is a Urinary Tract Infection?

What is a urinary tract infection?
What causes urinary tract infections?
What are the symptoms?
How are they treated?
How can they be prevented?

What Is A Urinary Tract Infection?

A urinary tract infection (UTI) is any infection that occurs in kidneys, ureter, bladder, urethra, prostate.

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What causes urinary tract infections?

Urinary tract infections are caused by bacteria entering the normally sterile urethra. The bacteria is typically E. Coli, although the STDs Chlamydia and Mycoplasma can cause it as well. In women, sexual intercourse increases the likelihood for urinary tract infections. The friction from the penis can cause bacteria to enter the urethra. Women are also more suceptible to infections because of the vagina's proximity to the anus. Some suspect that a women's short urethra also leads to easier infections. In men, urinary tract infections are cause by an enlarged prostate or obstruction.

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What are the symptoms?

Symptoms for a urinary tract infection include:
  • Frequent urge to urinate.
  • Painful, burning sensation while urinating.
  • Cloudy or bloody urine.
  • For men, pressure in the rectum.
  • For women, pressure above the pelvic bone.

Note: Fever is usually not present if the infection is in the urethra. If the infection has spread to the kidneys, then fever, vomiting, and chills may be present. Fevers are, however, more common in children and could be an indication of a urinary tract infection. Check to see if the child has loose bowels. If he or she does, consult with a physician.

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How are they treated?

A variety of antibiotics can be prescribed. Common drugs used include: Trimpex, Bactrim, Septra, Cotrim, Amoxil, Trimox, Wymox, Macrodantin, Furadantin, Omnipen, Polycillin, Principen, Totacillin. A group of drugs called Quinlolones inhibit bacterial growth. These drugs include: Floxin, Noroxin, Cipro, Trovan.

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How can they be prevented?

Although there is no fail-proof way to prevent infections, there are a few simple steps that can help prevent them from occurring.
  • Drink plenty of fluids. For people with recurring infections can try drinking cranberry juice, which seems to prevent bacteria from attaching to the urethra.
  • Don't hold urine in excessively. The longer urine stays in the bladder, the more likely infection will occur.
  • After a bowel movement, wipe from front to back so that bacteria from the anus doesn't spread.
  • Urinate after sex to help flush away bacteria.
  • Wear cotton underwear and avoid tight-fitting clothes. This helps prevent moisture from becoming trapped.
  • Women using spermicide, foams, and unlubricated condoms are at a higher risk for urinary tract infections. If an infection occurs, they should change to a lubricated or nonspermicidal condom.

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Sources

Urinary Tract Infections In Adults

What I need to Know About Urinary Tract Infections

Helpful Articles

Urology Channel - Overactive Bladder

EmedincineHealth - Bladder Control Problems

Urinary Incontinence: Embarrassing But Treatable

The Bladder Control Forum

Poise - Bladder Control Basics

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