A urinary tract infection occurs when bacteria migrate up the urethra and into the bladder. The bacteria irritate the bladder (cystitis)—resulting in frequent urges to urinate small amounts of urine and burning with urination (lower tract symptoms). If the bacteria migrate out of the bladder and up to the kidneys (pyelonephritis) this may result in back pain, fever, chills, nausea and vomiting. Contact us to schedule an appointment to get tested for a UTI.
Several factors can contribute to the risk of UTI:
- Sexual intercourse
- Use of contraceptive spermicide
- Immune suppression
- Incomplete bladder emptying
- Low levels of estrogen (often after menopause)
- Catheterization (single-use, sterile catheters and proper care can reduce risks)
Common symptoms of a Urinary Tract Infection:
- Intense urge to rush to the bathroom
- Accidents without warning
- Frequent bowel movements
- Diarrhea and/or constipation
A urine culture confirms the diagnosis of a UTI. The culture report will indicate the name of the bacteria causing the infection and the type of antibiotic(s) that will treat your specific UTI. A simple UTI can typically be treated with a three-day course of antibiotics. Length of antibiotic treatment depends on the severity of the infection as well as the type of antibiotic prescribed. If your UTI symptoms do not improve after using the prescribed antibiotic treatment, additional examination and testing may be required to diagnose an alternate condition.
If you experience three or more UTIs within a year, it is known as a recurrent UTI and should be addressed with your physician immediately.
Urinary Tract Infections in the Elderly
Because the elderly often do not experience or report obvious symptoms that younger people have, urinary tract infections can be easily overlooked. UTIs can cause a change in behavior in older people, such as fatigue, agitation, delirium, or feelings general discomfort. The person may not be able to communicate how they feel, therefore it is very important to be familiar with the symptoms of UTI and seek medical help to enable appropriate treatment.