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Urinary Tract Infections by Nathan Kiskila, MD

 

Board Certification: Family Practice

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are a common cause of urgent care visits throughout this country. 10% of women over 18 years of age report at least one suspected UTI every 12 months. These are infections anywhere along the urine tract and can be acute or recurrent.  There are three different types of UTIs: infection in the urethra, bladder infection, and kidney infection.

Escherichia coli (E.coli bacteria) is the most common organism in uncomplicated infections.  The most common route of infection in females is when bacteria travels up the urethra and attaches to the inner lining of the bladder. Holding your urine impairs the defense against infection provided by bladder emptying, hence a common cause of UTI. Cranberry juice thins the inner lining of the bladder wall so it is helpful in preventing UTIs, but cranberry juice alone or pills cannot cure bladder infections.

Bladder infections commonly present symptoms such as urine frequency or urgency, burning pain with urination, blood in the urine, and/or bladder pressure (suprapubic pressure).  Bladder infections are commonly bacterial and can be diagnosed with a urinalysis and/or a urine lab test (urine culture).  Bladder infections are treated with oral antibiotics.  Kidney infections have symptoms such as lower back/flank pain and fever. 

Kidney infections can be very dangerous.  Kidneys are vital organs and if they get infected, the body can go into shock.  Kidney infections are more complex and treatment may require antibiotic shots or IV antibiotics in the hospital.  If you think you may have a UTI, it is better to seek medical attention sooner than later since bladder infections may progress to kidney infections.

The information provided is for general interest only and should not be misconstrued as a diagnosis, prognosis or treatment recommendation. This information does not in any way constitute the practice of medicine, or any other health care profession. Readers are directed to consult their health care provider regarding their specific health situation. Marque Medical is not liable for any action taken by a reader based upon this information.