Urinary, Bladder & Kidney Infections
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:
- Bladder does not empty completely
- Kidney stone
- Narrowed ureter
- Pelvic muscles or nerve problems
- Giving birth to several children
- Previous urinary tract infections
SIGNS OF A BLADDER INFECTION
The following situations are signs of a bladder infection:
- Strong urge to urinate
- Sharp pain or burning while urinating
- Urinary frequency (the need to go often)
- Urinary urgency (can’t wait)
- Pain in the lower abdomen, back, or sides
- Strong urine odor
- Cloudy urine
- Occasional blood
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.
SIGNS OF A KIDNEY INFECTION
If the bacterial infection spreads to the ureters and the kidneys, additional symptoms may also include:
- Back pain
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.
TREATMENT & PREVENTION
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:
- Wipe front to back after a bowel movement
- Wipe front to back after urinating
- Keep the genital skin and anal area clean
- Avoid douches, deodorant sprays and powder
- Wear cotton crotch underwear
- Drink plenty of water
- Empty your bladder every 2-3 hours
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.