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Getting to know

- urinary tract infections -

Everything you need to know about urinary tract infections and how to prevent them

Pictured above is a diagram of the urinary tract and the organs that can be damaged if a urinary tract infection is not relieved.

Presented by Soo Jung An, Jomaree Boyd, Jina Choi, Miguelina Mercedes, Judy Park, Angdolka Sherpa, Tara Warwick Adult Health NYU College of Nursing

What is a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)?

How is a UTI Treated?

Urinary tract infections are a serious health problem affecting millions of people each year. Infections of the urinary tract are the second most common type of infection in the body. A urinary tract infection happens when bacteria (most often E. coli) gets inside your bladder, usually through your urethra. Females have shorter urethras than males, so it is easier for bacteria to enter the urinary tract and cause symptoms. The most common kind of UTI is a bladder infection, which is called cystitis.

Certain antibiotics kill the bacteria that cause UTIs. Your health care provider will prescribe the antibiotic that is right for your infection and tell you how many days you will need to take the antibiotic.

Will I be more likely to get another UTI because I've had one?
People who get a UTI are more likely to get them again. If you feel better after taking your medicine but your symptoms returned soon after treatment, it might mean that you have a recurrent infection. This means that you still have the infection because the first round of medicine didnt completely kill the bacteria. Be sure to call your health care provider if your symptoms return

Do I need to finish the medicine if I feel better right away?

How Do I Know if I Have a UTI?

If you can answer yes to any of these questions, it is possible that you may have a UTI. The more times you answer yes, the more likely you have a UTI. Does it hurt or sting when you urinate? Do you feel a sense of urgency when you urinate? Do you have to go to the bathroom more often than usual? Do you urinate a little bit at a time? Do you have to get up many times throughout the night to pee? Do you feel pain, pressure, or a tickle in your lower belly? Is there blood in your urine? Is your urine cloudy? Does your urine have a foul odor? Do you have pain in the mid back area (to the right or left of the spine)?

Yes! It is very important to follow your health care providers instructions. That means taking all of the antibiotic medicine that was prescribed for you, even if your symptoms go away after a few days. If you dont take all of your medication, your infection may return, and you will be uncomfortable all over again.

For more information

American Urological Association 1000 Corporate Boulevard Linthicum, MD 21090 Phone: 1866RINGAUA (7464282) or 4106893700 Fax: 4106893800 Email: Internet: The Prostatitis Foundation 1063 30th Street, Box 8 Smithshire, IL 61478 Phone: 18888914200 Fax: 3093257184 Email: Internet:

How to prevent UTIs

How is a UTI Diagnosed?

A UTI is usually diagnosed by a urine test that checks for bacteria. Your urine sample will be sent to a laboratory where your urine will be tested for bacteria. In many cases you will need a physical examination and/or a genital pelvic examination. If you are sexually active or your health care provider is concerned that your symptoms are from another cause, such as chlamydia, herpes or another STI, he or she will test you for STI.

Keep clean. Wash your private parts every day when you take a bath or shower. If youre a girl, always wipe from front to back when you go to the bathroom. Dont hold it. If you have to go, go. When youre thirsty, drink something, no matter how busy you are. Water and cranberry juice are helpful preventative measures. Drinking fermented milk products containing probiotic bacteria are also useful. Those trips to the bathroom can help wash bacteria out of your body and cranberry juice may actually help prevent another infection. If youre a girl, think twice about taking bubble baths because they can bother the urethra. Urinate before and shortly after sex. This can flush away bacteria that might have entered your urethra during sex. For women, using a diaphragm or spermicide for birth control can lead to UTIs by increasing bacteria growth. If you have trouble with UTIs, consider modifying your birth control method. Unlubricated condoms or spermicidal condoms increase irritation, which may help bacteria grow. Consider switching to lubricated condoms without spermicide or using a nonspermicidal lubricant. Wear cotton underwear. Nylon underwear traps moisture near the body, especially when its hot outside. Bacteria love to grow in warm moist places.

What should I do if I think I have a UTI?

If you think you have a UTI, you should contact your health care provider. If treatment is delayed, your symptoms may worsen. The bacteria can cause a kidney infection, which can be a very serious problem.