A urinary tract infection, or UTI, is an infection that involves any part of the urinary tract. Depending on the extent of the infection, it may affect the urethra, bladder, ureters, and/or kidneys. Some of the most common symptoms of urinary tract infections include:
UTIs develop when bacteria invade the urinary tract and begin to multiply. The urinary tract is designed to fight these bacteria, but the bacteria are able to take over in some cases. The bacteria that cause UTIs often come from the gastrointestinal tract. However, some UTIs result from bacteria introduced into the system during sexual intercourse. Because of differences in anatomy, women are more likely to develop UTIs than men.
When a patient comes in with the symptoms of a UTI, the doctor will begin by collecting information about these symptoms, as well as the patient’s medical history. The doctor may also analyze a urine sample from the patient and/or culture bacteria found in the urine sample.
If the doctor discovers that a patient has a UTI, they will typically prescribe an antibiotic. The antibiotic used will depend on the type of bacteria found in the patient’s urinary tract. Patients may also receive a pain medication to deal with the discomfort until the infection is resolved. In rare cases, patients with very severe infections may need an intravenous antibiotic.
Patients who get UTIs frequently may be able to prevent infection by practicing good hygiene, especially after using the bathroom. Patients should also drink plenty of liquids and urinate soon after engaging in sexual intercourse to flush out any bacteria attempting to infect the urinary tract.
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