Urinary Tract Infections

Urinary Tract Infections (UTI) are common in both women and men. UTIs are most often caused by bacteria. These are germs that can invade your urinary tract. The good news is that a UTI can be treated. The sooner you’re treated, the sooner you’ll feel better.

A Problem for Women and Men

Women have more urinary tract infections than men. But men suffer from UTIs too.

Common Symptoms are:

  • A burning feeling or pain in your urinary tract
  • Frequent urination
  • A sudden urge to urinate
  • Blood in your urine
  • Pain in your kidneys (felt in the upper back)
  • Unpleasant-smelling or cloudy looking urine

Your Role in Recovery

You can help get rid of your UTI. First, you’ll need to get a medical exam. An early diagnosis helps you feel better faster. Quick treatment also helps keep and infection from turning into a more serious problem. Next, learn what causes UTIs. Then you’ll understand your treatment program better. And you’ll know how to prevent future UTIs. Lastly, follow your treatment program. In most cases, UTIs don’t go away by themselves. You’ll need to take medication, such as antibiotics or a pain reliever. Lifestyle changes, such as drinking plenty of water, also help.

Understanding Urinary Tract Infections

The urinary tracts of women and men differ slightly. Female anatomy makes it simpler for bacteria to enter a woman’s urinary tract. So women get UTIs more often, although men can get them too. There are many types of UTIs. Learn which type you have and how it is treated.

How UTIs Occur

Most UTIs are caused by bacteria in the urinary tract. The bacteria may come from outside your body. Or they may come from the rectum or vagina. In some people, the bacteria grow, causing a UTI. The risk factors listed below can cause bacteria to grow:

  • Poor Hygiene
  • Sexual activity
  • Urine the remains in your bladder after you urinate
  • A kidney or bladder stone
  • A blockage caused by an enlarged prostate (in men)

Your Role in Treatment and Prevention

Medications relieve symptoms and help you recover from UTIs. But you need to take other actions as well. The lifestyle changes below will help get rid of your current infection. They may also help prevent future UTIs.

  • Take medications as directed: so your infection doesn’t return. You may want to write down when to take them.
  • Drink plenty of fluids: such as water, juice, or other caffeine-free drinks. This helps flush bacteria out of your system. Cranberry juice (or tablets) may help prevent an infection from coming back.
  • Empty your bladder: when you feel the urge to urinate and before going to sleep. Urine that stays in your bladder promotes infection. Women should always try to urinate before and after sex.
  • Practice good personal hygiene: Women should wipe themselves from front to back after using the toilet. Avoid bubble baths and scented or colored toilet paper, and use condoms to help prevent UTIs caused by sexually transmitted bacteria.
  • Avoid foods: that may make your symptoms worse, especially if you have prostatitis. Limit or stay away from spicy foods, chocolate, and food and drink containing caffeine or alcohol.
  • Keep follow-up appointments: with your healthcare provider. He or she can check that the bacteria are gone. And new treatment can be started if problems recur.