A urinary tract infection (UTI) – sometimes called a bladder infection – is usually the result of a bacterial infection somewhere along the urinary tract. Areas that may become infected include the:
- Urethra (duct from the bladder through which urine exits the body)
- Bladder (where urine is stored)
- Ureters (ducts that transfer urine from the kidneys to the bladder)
- Kidneys (which filter waste from the food and drinks we consume, creating urine)
Bacteria commonly found in the gastrointestinal tract – and otherwise harmless – may enter the urethra from the anus, which is common in women because of short distance between the two on their bodies. Bacteria may also be spread through sexual intercourse.
For men, an enlarged prostate can prevent the bladder from emptying completely, which can foster bacterial growth and lead to infection.
The most common UTI symptoms are a burning sensation during urination, pelvic pain, and persistent urges to urinate.
UTIs are easily treatable with antibiotics. Left untreated, a UTI can ultimately cause permanent kidney damage and life-threatening sepsis if the infection travels all the way to the kidneys.
Prevention is the best cure, as the famous saying goes. Here are some tips to help you avoid the occurrence of UTIs in the first place:
- Flush your urinary tract. You should drink a lot of liquids, preferably water, which can keep your urinary tract flushed of any bacteria that may be present. This can be especially helpful after sexual intercourse when bacteria may have been introduced to the urinary tract.
- Stay clean. Wipe from front to back after a bowel movement.
- Wear cool and comfortable undies. Bacteria thrive in warm, moist places. Avoiding too-tight pants and wearing cotton briefs can help protect against bacterial growth.
Diagnosis and Medical Treatment
Your doctor will require a urine sample to make a UTI diagnosis; the lab analysis will determine if there are bacteria in your urine that may causing an infection.
In some cases, your doctor may recommend an magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT) scan to determine if a structural abnormality may be the cause of the infection.
Antibiotics are the preferred method to treat UTIs.
Urology Expert in Phoenix
Both men and women are at risk for urinary tract infections, and you can contract a UTI at any time. To get an expert opinion on your symptoms and risk factors, as well as how you can prevent UTIs in the future, contact Dr. Desiderio Avila Jr. of Ironwood Urology in Phoenix, Arizona. He can expertly guide you through whatever urological concerns you may have. Call (480) 961-2323 or request an appointment now.