Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

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UTI Treatment in Metro Atlanta

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are bacterial infections that occur in any part of the urinary system, which includes the kidneys, bladder, ureters (tubes connecting the kidneys to the bladder), and urethra (tube through which urine is expelled from the body). UTIs are more common in women than men, but they can affect anyone at any age.

Symptoms

Symptoms of a urinary tract infection can vary depending on which part of the urinary system is affected, but commonly include:

  • Frequent and strong urge to urinate
  • Pain or burning sensation during urination
  • Cloudy or bloody urine
  • Foul-smelling urine
  • Pain or pressure in the lower abdomen or back
  • Fatigue
  • Fever or chills (in more severe cases)

Risk Factors

Certain factors increase the risk of developing UTIs. These include:

  • Gender: Women have a shorter urethra, which makes it easier for bacteria to reach the bladder.
  • Sexual activity: Sexual intercourse can introduce bacteria into the urinary tract.
  • Menopause: Hormonal changes in menopause can affect the urinary tract, making it more susceptible to infection.
  • Urinary tract abnormalities: Structural problems in the urinary system can increase the risk.
  • Urinary catheter use: People who use urinary catheters are at higher risk of developing UTIs.
  • Reduced immune function: Conditions like diabetes or HIV weaken the immune system, making it harder to fight off infections.

Prevention

Prevention strategies for UTIs include:

  • Hygiene: Wipe from front to back after using the toilet to prevent bacteria from the anal area reaching the urethra.
  • Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water to flush out bacteria from the urinary tract.
  • Urinate regularly: Empty your bladder frequently to prevent bacteria from multiplying.
  • Urinate before and after sexual intercourse: This helps to flush out any bacteria that may have entered the urethra during intercourse.
  • Avoid irritating products: Avoid using irritating feminine hygiene products and opt for mild, unscented soaps.
  • Manage constipation:  It is important to have a smooth bowel movement 1-2 times per day.  Miralax, or polyethylene glycol, can be taken safely every day and is available over-the-counter. 

Treatment

Treatment options for UTIs typically involve antibiotics to eliminate the bacterial infection. The choice of antibiotic depends on the type of bacteria causing the infection and its susceptibility to specific medications. It’s essential to complete the full course of antibiotics as prescribed, even if symptoms subside, to ensure complete eradication of the infection.

In addition to antibiotics, over-the-counter pain relievers, such as phenazopyridine or Urogesic blue, can help alleviate discomfort during urination. Drinking plenty of water can also be beneficial as it helps to flush out bacteria from the urinary tract.

Recurrent UTIs

Recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs) are defined as 2 episodes of culture-proven infection, along with associated symptoms, within the last six months or three episodes within the last year. The urinary tract includes the kidneys, bladder, ureters (tubes connecting the kidneys and bladder), and urethra (tube through which urine is passed out of the body).

Typically, a UTI happens when bacteria enter the urinary tract and multiply, leading to an infection. While UTIs can happen to anyone, recurrent UTIs occur when a person experiences frequent episodes of infection, usually defined as three or more UTIs within a year or two UTIs within six months.

Risk Factors

Several factors can contribute to recurrent UTIs. Some common risk factors include:

  • Female anatomy: Women have a shorter urethra, which makes it easier for bacteria to reach the bladder and cause an infection.
  • Sexual activity: Sexual intercourse can introduce bacteria into the urinary tract, increasing the risk of UTIs.
  • Menopause: Hormonal changes during menopause can affect the urinary tract and make it more vulnerable to infections.
  • Urinary tract abnormalities: Certain structural abnormalities in the urinary tract can increase the likelihood of UTIs.
  • Urinary catheter use: People who require urinary catheters, such as those with certain medical conditions or undergoing surgery, have an increased risk of UTIs.

Prevention

Prevention strategies for recurrent UTIs may include:

  • Hydration: Drinking plenty of water helps flush out bacteria from the urinary tract.
  • Urinating and cleansing: Urinating frequently and wiping from front to back after bowel movements can prevent the spread of bacteria.
  • Urinary hygiene: Using gentle, fragrance-free products for cleansing the genital area and avoiding harsh chemicals may help prevent irritation and infections.
  • Emptying the bladder: Avoid holding urine for prolonged periods and try to completely empty the bladder during each trip to the bathroom.
  • Urinary tract health: Cranberry juice or supplements may help prevent UTIs, as they contain compounds that can prevent bacteria from sticking to the urinary tract walls.
  • Antibiotics: In some rare cases, Dr. Bhalani or his associates may prescribe a low-dose antibiotic regimen to prevent recurrent UTIs, especially in individuals with frequent infections.

It’s important to consult with a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis, treatment, and advice on preventing recurrent UTIs. They can provide personalized recommendations based on individual circumstances and medical history. Call our office to schedule an appointment at (678) 321-7227.

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