Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are common bacterial infections. They can affect any part of your urinary system, including the bladder, kidneys, ureters and urethra. Urinary tract infections are more common in women because of the shorter length of their urethra. This makes it easier for bacteria to reach the bladder.
- Sexual activity
- Urinary tract abnormalities
- A weakened immune system
- Catheter use
- Hormonal changes
Symptoms of Urinary Tract Infections
If you have a UTI, you may experience frequent urination, urgency or rushing to the bathroom more than normal. Some people have pain with urination, known as dysuria; cramping; or seeing blood in the urine. You may notice your urine is cloudy or has a strange odor.
Some older people, particularly postmenopausal women, might always have bacteria in their urine. If you don't have any symptoms, your urine may just contain an asymptomatic bacteria. Your doctor can recommend the right treatment, and you may not need antibiotics.
Men with enlarged prostates often don’t empty the bladder all the way. As a result, stale urine gives bacteria the perfect environment in which to grow.
Treatments for Urinary Tract Infections
Some people find relieve from over-the-counter medications. You may have heard about treating UTIs with cranberries. There is an ingredient in cranberries called proanthocyanidin (PAC), which can prevent bacteria from sticking to the bladder wall. But drinking cranberry juice alone won’t give you enough PAC to prevent urinary tract infections. Look for cranberry tablets with a minimum of 36 milligrams of PAC.
The first step in treating your urinary tract infection is asking your doctor to get a urine culture. This helps your doctor or urologist recommend the right antibiotic to treat your UTI.
If you have a urinary tract infection, see your family physician or urologist right away for treatment.