UTI Q & A
Why are women prone to UTIs?
A urinary tract infection occurs when bacteria, often from stool, penetrates the bladder. Women have shorter urethras than men, so bacteria have a higher probability of reaching the bladder. When you wipe from front to back, you reduce your chance of infection.
What are the symptoms of a UTI?
Urinary tract infections are often characterized by a burning feeling when you go to the bathroom. Other signs that you may have an infection include:
- Intense urges to urinate frequently
- Pain in your lower back and lower abdomen
- Feeling fatigued, tired, and shaky
- Foul-smelling urine that’s cloudy or dark
If you experience any of the above symptoms and have a fever and chills, the UTI may have reached your kidneys.
Patients may confuse the symptoms of vaginitis with those of UTIs. In addition, some sexually-transmitted infections may have symptoms similar to those of urinary tract infections. Get your symptoms checked out so Dr. Hurst can accurately diagnose and treat your condition.
How are UTIs treated?
Dr. Hurst can prescribe antibiotics to kill the bacteria causing your infection. You’ll need to take the full round to reduce the likelihood that the infection will return.
How can UTIs be prevented?
Wiping from front to back helps to minimize the amount of bacteria that could infect your bladder. Other ways to reduce the chance of infection include:
- Staying hydrated
- Urinating frequently and responding to urges promptly
- Showering rather than bathing
- Avoiding douches and vaginal perfumes
- Going to the bathroom after intercourse
- Cleaning your genital area prior to sex
Talk to Dr. Hurst about your birth control choices; certain options such as spermicidal jelly and diaphragms increase your risk of UTIs. Your clothing choices can also affect your likelihood of developing a UTI. Loose-fitting clothes and cotton underwear are less likely to trap moisture that can lead to bacterial infections.
Why do some women develop recurrent infections?
Many women develop secondary urinary tract infections at times, and some get them even more often. Lifestyle habits can be to blame, but so can especially virulent bacteria. Some women are just more genetically predisposed to contracting UTIs, or they have a specific structure to their urinary tract that makes them more prone to the condition. Diabetes and other conditions that can compromise your immune system may also increase your chances of having multiple, recurrent UTIs.
Dr. Hurst discusses treatment options, including low-dose antibiotics — and even antibiotics after sex — to stop infections before they start.