What is a UTI?
A Urinary Tract Infection is commonly referred to as a UTI. This is a common condition characterized by abdominal pain, the need to use the restroom more frequently, often accompanied with a burning sensation, as well as the inability to produce more than a very small amount of urine despite the sensation of fullness, and fever. Other symptoms can include a temporary loss of ability to control urine, an unpleasant smell, and cloudy urine. Approximately seven million doctor visits each year are UTI's, and this condition affects people of all ages1. What causes a UTI?
A bacterium that has entered the body and traveled upward into the bladder is the cause of a UTI. Bacteria live on the skin and in the rectal area, and can easily enter the urinary tract. Some people tend to be prone to getting UTI's for various reasons, i.e. women after menopause because they have a decrease in estrogen's protective effects, some women are genetically inclined to UTI's because their bodies naturally allow harmful bacteria to attach to the sensitive lining, anyone recently catheterized, persons with diabetes, sexual intercourse, women with a diaphragm, condom use, and spermicidal foams. Other causes may be due to a virus or yeast in the urinary tract2. How is a UTI diagnosed?
Generally, a simple urine test resulting positive for bacteria along with your present symptoms is enough for your doctor to diagnose this condition. A urine culture performed for frequent UTI sufferers will identify the bacterium that causes the reoccurrence. Your doctor may require further tests such as an ultrasound or a CT scan if your symptoms persist or gets worse. You should contact your doctor immediately if there is blood present in your urine. How is a UTI treated?
Depending upon the severity of your UTI, your doctor will prescribe an antibiotic treatment that could last anywhere from one day to a few days or one week to several weeks. Whatever your antibiotic schedule, it is very...
References: 1. American Academy of Family Physicians. 2004. FamilyDoctor: Your Essential Guide to Health and Wellbeing. New York, NY: Boston Hannah International. PP. 114 & 115.
2. American Urological Association. (2005). [on-line]. Available http://www.urologyhealth.org/adult/ retrieved March 5, 2005.
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