Your urinary tract is the system that makes urine and carries it out of your body. It includes your urinary bladder and kidneys and the tubes that connect them. When germs get into this system, they can cause an infection.
Most urinary tract infections are bladder infections. A bladder infection usually is not serious if it is treated right away. If you do not take care of a bladder infection, it can spread to your kidneys. A kidney infection is serious and can cause permanent damage.
Usually, germs get into your system through your urethra, the tube that carries urine from your bladder to the outside of your body. The germs that usually cause these infections live in your large intestine and are found in your stool. If these germs get inside your urethra, they can travel up into your bladder and kidneys and cause an infection.
Women tend to get more bladder infections than men. This is probably because women have shorter urethras, so it is easier for the germs to move up to their bladders. Having sex can make it easier for germs to get into your urethra.
You may be more likely to get an infection if you do not drink enough fluids, risk increases if your diabetic or pregnant. The chance that you will get a bladder infection is higher if you have any problem that blocks the flow of urine from your bladder like kidney stones or an enlarged prostate gland.
You may have an infection if you have any of these symptoms:
- Pain or burning when you urinate.
- Urge to pass urine often, but not much urine comes out when you do.
- Lower abdominal pain.
- Urine is cloudy or bad odour.
- Pain on one side of your back under your ribs, where your kidneys are.
- Fever with chills and rigor.
- Nausea and vomiting.
You need to consult the doctor immediately if you have
- Fever, nausea and vomiting, or pain in one side of your back under your ribs.
- Diabetes, Kidney problems, or a weak immune system.
- Older than 65.
- If you are pregnant.
Urine culture to identify the germs in the urine. Do not take antibiotics before urine culture .Even one dose of antibiotics will alter the urine results and make it difficult to treat infection. Do not take drug prescribed for other person.
Antibiotics prescribed by your doctor will usually cure a bladder infection. It may help to drink lots of water and other fluids and to urinate often, emptying your bladder each time.
If your doctor prescribes antibiotics, take the pills exactly as you are told. Do not stop taking them just because you feel better. You need to finish taking them all so that you do not get sick again.
- Drink adequate water every day.
- Urinate often. Do not try to hold it.
- If you are a woman, urinate right after having sex.
- Postmenopausal women may want to ask their doctors about using vaginal estrogen to prevent recurrent UTIs.