Urinary Tract Infection

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Urinary tract infections (UTI) are the second most common type of infection in the body. UTI’s account for more than 8.3 million doctor visits each year. Woman are more prone than men to get a UTI for reasons that are not known. One woman in five will develop a UTI during her lifetime.

Usually a UTI is caused by bacteria from the digestive tract that clings to the opening of the urethra and begins to grow. An infection limited to the urethra is called urethritis. If the infection moves to the bladder it is called cystitis. If the infection continues to multiply and move further up to the kidneys it is called pyelonephritis.

The most common form of bacteria that causes a UTI is E coli., Chlamydia and Mycoplasma can also cause a UTI, but are less common and typically remain in the urethra.

Some common risk factors for getting a UTI include a kidney stone, an enlarged prostate, catheters, and being diabetic. Pregnant woman are at higher risk than other woman to get an infection, and it is much easier for the infection to reach the kidneys.

Some of the more common symptoms of a UTI include: a strong, persistent urge to urinate, a burning sensation when urinating, passing frequent, small amounts of urine, and blood in the urine.

To test for a UTI your doctor will get a urine sample and test it for pus and bacteria. The urine is also tested more amounts of white and red blood cells. If bacteria is found it will be grown and tested against antibiotics to see which drug best destroys the bacteria.

If after the treatment of antibiotics there is still a UTI present your doctor will order more tests to see if your system is normal. This could be an x-ray of the bladder, kidneys, and ureters. A dye is injected into a vein showing the outline of the organs on x-ray.

A typical UTI can be cured in 1 or 2 days with antibiotics if there are no complications. Even though the UTI may be gone quickly patients may take the antibiotic for 1 or 2 weeks...
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