Urinary tract infections (UTI) are common, affecting more than 8 million people every year. Although the infections are more common in women, they can also affect men and children. In most cases, UTIs can be easily treated with antibiotics, but it’s important to see your family doctor right away if you have symptoms to prevent serious complications. Here’s what you should know about UTIs.
What Is a UTI?
The term UTI refers to an infection in any part of your urinary system, including the kidneys, bladder, ureters, and urethra. The majority of these infections are in the lower part of the urinary tract, causing discomfort when you urinate. However, women also tend to be especially susceptible to bladder infections, which cause pain when urinating, abdominal pain, and blood in the urine.
What Causes a UTI?
These infections occur when bacteria enters the urinary tract and multiplies within the bladder, causing inflammation. This bacteria can come from number of sources, including sexual activity, improper hygiene, and other illnesses, including sexually transmitted infections. Women are more susceptible to these infections because they have shorter urethras than men, so it’s easier for bacteria to enter the urinary tract.
Other risk factors for UTIs include diabetes, menopause, and certain forms of birth control. Doctors also note that not drinking enough fluids and urinating frequently can also contribute to infections because the harmful bacteria isn’t flushed out of the system.
How Are UTIs Treated?
Most UTIs can easily be treated. Your family doctor will likely prescribe a course of antibiotics and recommend drinking plenty of fluids. You should experience relief from symptoms, including a burning sensation while urinating and a consistent urge to go, within a few doses.
Complicated UTIs, on the other hand, may require a longer course of medication, or even antibiotics in the hospital. Doctors typically consider kidney infections complicated, as well as UTIs in men and children. When the bacteria present in the urinary tract doesn't respond to the typical antibiotics, the infection is also considered complicated, and more aggressive treatment is necessary.
If you are experiencing symptoms of a UTI, call a family doctor at HDR Healthcare Network for diagnosis and treatment. This medical practice offers comprehensive urgent care treatment, as well as pediatric, primary care, and internal medicine services. Since 2013, they have served upper Manhattan and the west Bronx, caring for the health of people of all ages. Call (929) 256-5005 or visit their website to learn more about their services.