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Urinary Tract Infection

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Normal

Abnormal
  • Urinary tract infections are usually due to bacterial infections of urine, and are one of the most common infections in the United States, more common in women than in men. It is very easily treated with antibiotics. Urinary tract infections can be divided into Cystitis (bladder infection), Pyelonephritis (kidney infection), Prostatitis (infection of the prostate gland in men), and Epididymitis (infection of the epididymis in men).

  • The most common symptoms are frequent urination, burning or painful urination, and urgency to go to urinate right away.
  • Some may have fever, nausea, vomiting, and pain in the area of the bladder, pain in the area of the kidney, pain in the area of the prostate, or pain in the testicles. The symptoms depend on the area of the urinary tract that is infected, and the seriousness of the infection.

  • Urinary tract infections are usually due to a bacterial infection of the urine.
  • The infection is more common in women because a woman's anatomy is designed in such a way that it makes it easier for bacteria to enter the bladder.
  • Sexual intercourse increases the risk of developing urinary tract infections. Also, using spermicidal creams and diaphragms can increase the risk of developing the infection.
  • Any abnormality of the urinary tract (which includes the kidneys, ureter, bladder, urethra, and the prostate in men) also increases the risk of infection.
  • Kidney Stones can increase the risk of infection.
  • The infection can also be carried to the urinary tract in the blood stream, or can spread from the intestines.

  • Sometimes the patient can be treated based on the symptoms alone, without any additional tests.
  • A Urinalysis (in which the urine is tested for the presence of an infection) is the most common way to make the diagnosis.
  • Blood and Urine cultures may also need to be done.
  • In men, a prostate exam and an examination of the testicles may be needed.
  • In women with frequent infections (more than three a year), a full examination of the urinary tract (usually by a specialist) needs to be done. Also, it is sometimes recommended that all men who develop urinary tract infections need to be seen by a specialist.

  • Antibiotics are needed to treat the infection. There are a wide variety of antibiotics available for the treatment of urinary tract infections. Talk to your doctor to see which one is best for you.
  • Usually, the antibiotics can be taken orally. However, in those who are very sick, intravenous antibiotics may be needed.
  • Some infections only require 3 days of antibiotics. Other, more serious infections require 2 to 4 weeks of antibiotic therapy.
  • Women who have more than three urinary tract infections per year may need prophylactic therapy (this means that they are given antibiotics to prevent repeat infections).
    1. The most common antibiotics used for prophylactic therapy are Trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, Nitrofurantoin, and Cephalexin.
    2. The antibiotics are taken once a day or at the time of intercourse.





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