When bacteria get into the bladder or kidney and multiply in the urine, a UTI can result. There are three main types of UTI. With this type of UTI, a person often has back pain, high fever, and vomiting. The most common type of UTI, the bladder infection, causes mostly just discomfort and inconvenience. Bladder infections can be quickly and easily treated. And it’s important to get treatment promptly to avoid the more serious infection that reaches the kidneys.
When the bacteria enter the urethra, they can make their way up into the bladder and cause an infection. Girls get urinary tract infections much more frequently than guys, most likely due to differences in the shape and length of the urethra. Girls have shorter urethras than guys, and the opening lies closer to the rectum and vagina where bacteria are likely to be. Some people seem to get frequent UTIs, but they often have other problems that make them more prone to infection, like an abnormality in the urinary tract structures or function. Bacteria can get into the urethra several ways. During sexual intercourse, for example, the bacteria in the vaginal area may be pushed into the urethra and eventually end up in the bladder, where urine provides a good environment for the bacteria to grow. Bacteria may also be introduced into a girl’s bladder by wiping from back to front after a bowel movement, which can contaminate the urethral opening.
UTI-like symptoms, such as pain with urination. Unlike UTIs, STDs are contagious. If you have any symptoms of a urinary tract infection, you’ll need to go to a doctor right away. The symptoms won’t go away if you ignore them — they’ll only become worse. The more quickly you begin treatment, the less uncomfortable it will be. Call your doctor’s office or clinic immediately.
If you can’t reach your doctor, you can visit an urgent care center or hospital emergency room. The most important thing is to take action as soon as possible. Only your health care provider can treat urinary tract infections. The first thing a doctor will do is confirm that a person has a UTI by taking a clean-catch urine specimen. If an infection is suspected when the specimen is examined, a doctor will probably prescribe antibiotics. Because there are many different antibiotics available, the doctor may send the urine specimen for a urine culture, which is a test to identify the exact type of bacteria causing your infection. It takes about 48 hours to get results from a urine culture, and a doctor may ask patients to switch antibiotics depending on the results.
Although antibiotics begin fighting the infection right away, they can’t stop all the symptoms immediately. If someone has a lot of pain from a UTI, the doctor may recommend a medication to help relieve the spasm and pain in the bladder. This will turn urine a bright orange color, but it’s harmless and will usually make a person much more comfortable within hours. In the case of a kidney infection, a doctor may prescribe pain medication. For some infections, a person may only have to take antibiotics for 3 days, but usually people with UTIs need to stay on medicine for 7 to 14 days. It’s important to take the antibiotics until the prescription is finished.
Many people stop taking medication when they begin to feel better, but that doesn’t allow the antibiotics to completely kill the bacteria, which increases the risk that the infection will reappear. If you’ve been diagnosed with a UTI and symptoms continue after you’ve used up all your medication or if your symptoms aren’t much better after 2 to 3 days of treatment, contact your doctor. It’s important to drink lots of water during and after treatment because each time you urinate, the bladder cleanses itself a little bit more. Cranberry juice may also be helpful. People with UTIs should avoid coffee and spicy foods, which can irritate the bladder. Smoking also irritates the bladder, and cause bladder problems later on.
People who get a doctor’s help for a UTI right away should be clear of symptoms within a week. For a more serious kidney infection, most people have to return to the doctor’s office for a follow-up visit to ensure that the infection has responded completely to the medication. In either case, a doctor may tell people with UTIs to avoid sexual intercourse for a week or so, which allows the inflammation to disappear completely. There are several ways people may be able to prevent urinary tract infections. After bowel movements, be sure to wipe from front to back to avoid spreading bacteria from the rectal area to the urethra. Another thing both girls and guys can do to prevent UTIs is to go to the bathroom frequently. Avoid holding urine for long periods of time. Males and females should also keep the genital area clean and dry. Frequent bubble baths can cause irritation of the vaginal area, so girls should take showers or plain baths. Avoid prolonged exposure to moisture in the genital area by not wearing nylon underwear or wet swimsuits. Wearing underwear with cotton crotches is also helpful.