Urinary tract infections usually start in the lower urinary tract which is made up of the bladder and urethra. Bacteria that live on the skin near the anus or in the vagina may travel from the bowel and enter the urinary tract through the urethra.
Bacteria can move up the urethra to the bladder and cause a bladder infection, which is called cystitis. If bacteria has infected the bladder and the condition is not treated, it may continue to travel into the upper urinary tract, into the ureters, and to the kidneys. An infection of the kidneys, called pyelonephritis, is a more severe illness than a bladder infection.
Women are more likely than men to get urinary tract infections due to their anatomy. The rectum is close to the opening of the vagina and the urethra. The urethra is also shorter in a woman than in a man, thus the bacteria can more easily reach the urethra in a woman.
Some women may be prone to urinary tract infections after having intercourse because the opening of the urethra is in front of the vagina. During intercourse, bacteria near the vagina can get introduced into the urethra from contact with the fingers, devices, or penis.
Conditions when bladder infections can occur:
The following situations are signs of a bladder infection:
In the case of blood in the urine, it may be caused by a urinary tract infection, but could also be caused by other problems, such as a kidney stone. When blood is seen in urine, contact a Rosemark gynecologist promptly.
If the bacterial infection spreads to the ureters and the kidneys, additional symptoms may also include:
If a kidney infection is diagnosed, treatment will likely take longer and may require hospitalization for intravenous medications. Kidney infections are serious and must be treated promptly.
Urinary tract infections will likely be treated with an antibiotic that will be prescribed by the Rosemark healthcare provider. The type, dose, and length of the antibiotic treatment will depend on patient history and on the type of bacteria causing the infection.
Most symptoms of urinary tract infections go away in 1 to 2 days with treatment. The patient should take all the medication prescribed even though symptoms may diminish. Stopping treatment early may cause the infection return after a short time because not all of the bacteria were eliminated.
Ways to prevent urinary tract infections include:
If you feel like you may have a urinary tract, bladder or kidney infection, don’t delay. Contact Rosemark and make an appointment to prevent the infection from getting worse.