Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are caused by bacteria entering and infecting a person’s urethra. UTIs are the primary reason that women are advised to wipe from front to back after using the bathroom. Since the opening to the urethra is located so close to the anus, bacteria from the large intestine can escape the anus and invade the urethra. From there, the bacteria travel through the urethra and urinary tract, and if the infection isn't treated, continue on to infect the bladder and kidneys. Women are more prone than men to develop UTIs because they have shorter urethras allowing bacteria easier access to the bladder. Sexual intercourse can introduce bacteria into the urinary tract, too.
Urinary tract infections cause a number of painful or uncomfortable symptoms including:
Patients who experience any of the symptoms listed above and think they have a UTI should make an appointment with the doctors at Leavitt Women’s Healthcare for diagnosis and treatment. Patients will be asked to give a urine sample, which will be tested for UTI-causing bacteria. If a patient has a UTI, the doctor will prescribe an antibiotic to clear the infection. Patients should finish the prescribed cycle of medicine completely, even if they start to feel better. It is also important to drink plenty of water to help flush the bacteria from the urinary tract. The doctor may prescribe medication to ease any pain or may suggest using an over-the-counter painkiller and heating pad to relieve the symptoms. Chronic UTIs may indicate a more serious condition requiring further testing and treatment.
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