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What is a urinary (YOOR-uh-nair-ee) tract infection (UTI)? A UTI is an infection anywhere in the urinary tract.

The urinary tract makes and stores urine and removes it from the body. Parts of the urinary tract include: Kidneys collect waste from blood to make urine Ureters (YOOR-uh-turz) carry the urine from the kidneys to the bladder Bladder stores urine until it is full Urethra (yoo-REE-thruh) a short tube that carries urine from the bladder out of your body when you pass urine What causes UTIs? Bacteria (bak-TIHR-ee-uh), a type of germ that gets into your urinary tract, cause a UTI. This can happen in many ways: Wiping from back to front after a bowel movement (BM). Germs can get into your urethra, which has its opening in front of the vagina (vuh-JEYE-nuh). Having sexual intercourse. Germs in the vagina can be pushed into the urethra. Waiting too long to pass urine. When urine stays in the bladder for a long time, more germs are made, and the worse a UTI can become. Using a diaphragm (DEYE-uh-fram) for birth control, or spermicides (creams that kill sperm) with a diaphragm or on a condom. Read more about diaphragms. Anything that makes it hard to completely empty your bladder, like a kidney stone. Having diabetes, which makes it harder for your body to fight other health problems. Loss of estrogen (ESS-truh-juhn) (a hormone) and changes in the vagina after menopause. Menopause is when you stop getting your period. Having had a catheter (KATH-uh-tur) in place. A catheter is a thin tube put through the urethra into the bladder. Its used to drain urine during a medical test and for people who cannot pass urine on their own. Female genitals What are the signs of a UTI? If you have an infection, you may have some or all of these signs: Pain or stinging when you pass urine. An urge to pass urine a lot, but not much comes out when you go. Pressure in your lower belly. Urine that smells bad or looks milky, cloudy, or reddish in color. If you see blood in your urine, tell a doctor right away. Feeling tired or shaky or having a fever. How does a doctor find out if I have a urinary tract infection (UTI)? To find out if you have a UTI, your doctor will need to test a clean sample of your urine. The doctor or nurse will give you a clean plastic cup and a special wipe. Wash your hands before opening the cup. When you open the cup, dont touch the inside of the lid or inside of the cup. Put the cup in easy reach. Separate the labia, the outer lips of the vagina, with one hand. With your other hand, clean the genital area with the wipe. Wipe from front to back. Do not touch or wipe the anus. While still holding the labia open, pass a little bit of urine into the toilet. Then, catch the rest in

the cup. This is called a clean-catch sample. Let the rest of the urine fall into the toilet. If you are prone to UTIs, your doctor may want to take pictures of your urinary tract with an x-ray or ultrasound. These pictures can show swelling, stones, or blockage. Your doctor also may want to look inside your bladder using a cystoscope (SISS-tuhskohp). It is a small tube that's put into the urethra to see inside of the urethra and bladder. How is a UTI treated? UTIs are treated with antibiotics (an-tuh-beye-OT-iks), medicines that kill the bacteria that cause the infection. Your doctor will tell you how long you need to take the medicine. Make sure you take all of your medicine, even if you feel better! Many women feel better in one or two days. If you don't take medicine for a UTI, the UTI can hurt other parts of your body. Also, if you're pregnant and have signs of a UTI, see your doctor right away. A UTI could cause problems in your pregnancy, such as having your baby too early or getting high blood pressure. Also, UTIs in pregnant women are more likely to travel to the kidneys. Will a UTI hurt my kidneys? If treated right away, a UTI is not likely to damage your kidneys or urinary tract. But UTIs that are not treated can cause serious problems in your kidneys and the rest of your body. How can I keep from getting UTIs? These are steps you can take to try to prevent a UTI. But you may follow these steps and still get a UTI. If you have symptoms of a UTI, call your doctor. Urinate when you need to. Don't hold it. Pass urine before and after sex. After you pass urine or have a bowel movement (BM), wipe from front to back. Drink water every day and after sex. Try for 6 to 8 glasses a day. Clean the outer lips of your vagina and anus each day. The anus is the place where a bowel movement leaves your body, located between the buttocks. Don't use douches or feminine hygiene sprays. If you get a lot of UTIs and use spermicides, or creams that kill sperm, talk to your doctor about using other forms of birth control. Wear underpants with a cotton crotch. Dont wear tight-fitting pants, which can trap in moisture. Take showers instead of tub baths. I get UTIs a lot. Can my doctor do something to help? About one in five women who get UTIs will get another one. Some women get three or more UTIs a year. If you are prone to UTIs, ask your doctor about your treatment options. Your doctor may ask you to take a small dose of medicine every day to prevent infection. Or, your doctor might give you a supply of antibiotics to take after sex or at the first sign of infection. Dipsticks can help test for UTIs at home. They are useful for some women with repeat UTIs. Ask your doctor if you should use dipsticks at home to test for UTI. Your doctor may also want to do special tests to see what is causing repeat infections. Ask about them.

What is the Definition of Urinary Tract Infection (UTI, Cystitis)? A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an inflammation of the bladder due to infection with a microorganism (such as a bacteria or virus). It is also called Cystitis, and commonly known as "bladder infection." UTIs are second only to respiratory infections in frequency. Description of Urinary Tract Infection (UTI, Cystitis) The National Kidney Foundation estimates that 10 to 20 percent of women have had at least one episode of UTI, and 80 percent of this group has had it recurrently. Although some cases of UTI are due to fungus or a virus, most are caused by one of several types of bacteria. The most common, Escherichia coli, accounts for about 90 percent of all urinary tract infections. The infection can occur in any part of the path the urine takes as it exits the body. If left unchecked, cystitis can spread upward to the kidneys (called ascending UTI), where it can be associated with fever and chills, and can be even more serious. Cystitis accounts for about 6 million medical visits per year or more. Although they occur in men and children, UTI's are more common in women because their urethras (the passage from which urine exits the bladder) are short, making it easier for organisms to get from outside into the bladder. Most typically, a woman develops a UTI if she has been sexually active (hence the moniker "honeymoon cystitis"), or has been careless with her hygiene habits (for example, wiping from back to front after a bowel movement). Escherichia coli normally live in the intestine and bowel without causing disruption, but once they make their way to the bladder, trouble begins. Bacteria tend to live better in warm, moist places, so the area around the urethra is a common breeding site. Causes of Urinary Tract Infection (UTI, Cystitis) Why do some women seem to develop UTIs more easily than others? Some experts say genetics may be the key, since research has shown that women with certain blood antigens (called the Lewis groups) are more susceptible to cystitis. The cells that line their urinary tracts seem to have far more receptors to which bacteria can adhere. Others may lack glycosaminoglycan, a substance found on the surface of the bladder that is inhospitable to bacteria. Another possible cause of recurrent infections in women is an ill-fitting diaphragm. If it's too big, it can push against the neck of the bladder and interfere with the normal body flow of urine and contribute to incomplete bladder emptying. This can serve as a breeding ground for bacteria. In men, an enlarged prostate can increase the risk for UTIs. Poor hygiene is linked to UTIs in children, and 50 percent of infants and 30 percent of older children with UTIs will have an anatomic abnormality. Individuals who are catheterized are also at risk for UTis.

Although there is no scientific evidence linking diet to UTIs, some people have found that alcohol, tomatoes, spices, chocolate, caffeinated and citrus beverages, and high-acid foods might contribute to bladder irritation and inflammation. Symptoms of Urinary Tract Infection (UTI, Cystitis) The classic symptoms of cystitis include a frequent, urgent need to urinate and a painful burning sensation (called dysuria) upon urination. Lower back pain, lower abdominal pain, pelvic pressure, and urine that is cloudy or blood-tinged are other telltale symptoms. Sometimes there is a mild fever (101 or less) and chills. Upper urinary tract infections may or may not include the same symptoms as cystitis, and are sometimes accompanied by a higher fever, nausea, vomiting and more severe chills. In infants, vomiting, diarrhea, fever and poor appetite can indicate a UTI. Elderly people may have a change in mental state accompanied by fever, poor appetite and lethargy. Diagnosis of Urinary Tract Infection (UTI, Cystitis) Usually, the symptoms of frequent urination associated with burning or pressure sensation is enough to conclude that cystitis is present. Other problems can mimic cystitis, such as vaginal infections with yeast (or other organisms) or some sexually transmitted diseases. Because of this, anything other than the simplest cases of cystitis warrant evaluation by a health professional. Examination of the urine, urine cultures that grow out the responsible microorganisms, and clinical assessment of other possible causes are all valuable in determining the problem. Prevention of Urinary Tract Infection (UTI, Cystitis) To help prevent a urinary tract infection, a woman should: Keep the vaginal area clean, including wiping from the front to back after a bowel movement to prevent contamination of the urinary tract. Use tampons and change every three to four hours, instead of sanitary pads. (The pads can act as a culture medium for fecal bacteria, which may then be rubbed against the urinary outlet and invade the bladder.) Wear cotton undergarments, which allow air circulation and discourage the warm, moist environment needed for bacteria growth. Nylon pantyhose should have a cotton crotch. Avoid wearing tight clothes in the genital area, such as control-top pantyhose and skin-tight jeans, as well as extended wearing of a wet bathing suit. Urinate before and after intercourse and make sure that the partner's hands and penis are clean. Drink plenty of fluids (cranberry juice has been shown to help prevent urinary tract infections.) Urinate "when you see a bathroom" rather than when the urge to urinate becomes strong. Symptoms of UTI or bladder infection are not easy to miss and include a strong urge to urinate that cannot be delayed, which is followed by a sharp pain or burning

sensation in the urethra when the urine is released. Most often very little urine is released and the urine that is released may be tinged with blood. The urge to urinate recurs quickly and soreness may occur in the lower abdomen, back, or sides. This cycle may repeat itself frequently during the day or night--most people urinate about six times a day, when the need to urinate occurs more often a bladder infection should be suspected. When bacteria enter the ureters and spread to the kidneys, symptoms such as back pain, chills, fever, nausea, and vomiting may occur, as well as the previous symptoms of lower urinary tract infection. Proper diagnosis is vital since these symptoms also can be caused by other problems such as vaginal infections or vulva