Urinary Tract Infection - Bladder Infection
IntroductionUrinary Tract Infections (UTIs) are a common condition. Most UTIs result from infection caused by bacteria that enters the urinary tract system. UTIs can be quite uncomfortable and lead to problems with urination. Fortunately, most UTIs respond well to prescription medication in a short amount of time.
An infection in the urethra or bladder is termed a “lower urinary tract infection.” An infection in the urethra is called “urethritis.” An infection in the bladder is called “cystitis.” The infection may spread through the urinary tract to the ureters and kidneys. An infection in this area is termed an “upper urinary tract infection.” An infection of the kidneys is called “pyelonephritis.” In general, the higher the location of the infection, such as the kidneys, the more serious it is.
UTIs can cause pain and difficulty with urination. You may feel pressure or aching over your bladder in your lower pelvic area. You may have low back and flank pain. It may hurt, sting, or burn when you urinate. Your urine may appear cloudy or have blood in it. Your urine may smell bad or have a strong urine odor. You may feel like you need to urinate very frequently; however, you may only pass small amounts of urine at a time. You may urinate several times during the night.
Am I at Risk
Certain people appear more likely to get UTIs than others. Females are more susceptible to UTIs than males because their urethra is shorter and located near their anal area. UTIs are especially common in women between the ages of 20 and 50 years old. Sedentary or immobile people, such as people in a nursing home or some people of older age are at higher risk for developing UTIs. Some children develop UTIs. Girls tend to get UTIs around age three, during the toilet training period.
Risk factors may increase your likelihood of developing a UTI. People with all of the risk factors may never develop a UTI; however, the chance of developing a UTI increases with the more risk factors you have. You should tell your doctor about your risk factors and discuss your concerns.
Risk factors for UTIs:
_____ Women that are pregnant or experiencing menopause are more likely to develop a UTI.
_____ Elderly men and women are more likely to develop a UTI.
_____ People that are immobile or do not move much. For example, people in a nursing home have an increased risk for developing a UTI.
_____ People with neurological conditions that affect the bladder’s nerve conduction including diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and spinal cord injuries are more prone to developing UTIs.
_____ People that use a catheter, a tube placed in the body that drains the urine from the bladder to a collection bag, are more likely to develop infections.
_____ People with a urine blockage, such as from a kidney stone, narrowed urethra, tumor, or enlarged prostate gland are prone to getting UTIs.
_____ People with bowel incontinence, the inability to control when they have a bowel movement, are more likely to develop UTIs.
_____ Not drinking enough liquids can lead to development of a UTI.
_____ Sexual intercourse can increase the risk of getting a UTI, especially in women. Birth control such as a contraceptive diaphragm or spermicides can cause irritation.
_____ Men that participate in anal intercourse have an increased risk for UTIs.
_____ Men that have never been circumcised are at risk for developing UTIs.
_____ People with HIV have a greater risk of getting UTIs.
_____ People with multiple sex partners or who get certain sexually transmitted diseases, such as Chlamydia and mycoplasma, have recently been linked with bladder infections.
UTIs can cause complications for pregnant women. UTIs increase a woman’s risk of delivering her baby early. Babies that are born early carry the risks associated with prematurity. Pregnant women susceptible to UTIs may be tested regularly and are sometimes treated with preventative antibiotics.
Some people develop chronic or recurrent UTIs. This is defined as UTIs that occur twice within a six-month period or at least three times in one year. Some UTIs may be resistant to antibiotics and difficult to treat. If you experience recurrent UTIs your doctor may order tests to help determine the best treatments for you.