Urinary tract infections (or UTIs) usually are caused by a bacterial infection that occurs when bacteria enter the urinary tract through the urethra, the opening that allows urine to be excreted. When bacterial populations are small, the body usually is able to fight them off and destroy them. But when there are a lot of bacteria, if your immune system is already compromised, or if you have an anatomical defect that makes it easier for bacteria to collect in your urinary tract, the bacteria can overwhelm your immune system response, allowing an infection to occur. Without medical intervention, the bacteria can spread to other areas of the urinary tract where they can cause more serious problems, including kidney damage. While bacteria are the primary cause of UTIs, viruses, fungi, and even parasites also can cause infections. Seeing Dr. McKenzie at the first sign of a UTI is very important for preventing complications.
UTIs tend to cause symptoms like:
Serious infections can cause lower belly pain, fever, vomiting, and flu-like symptoms. While both men and women can develop a UTI, the infections are much more common among women, especially women in menopause.
Most UTIs can be treated with antibiotics (or other medications for infections caused by parasites or fungal infections). It’s very important to take the entire course of medicine as directed, even though your symptoms may improve before all the medicine has been taken. Failing to take all the medication as prescribed can allow some bacteria or other pathogens to survive, and that means your infection can recur. When an anatomical abnormality or defect causes recurrent infections, you might need surgery to correct the defect to prevent future infections and reduce your risk of kidney damage and other complications.
You can reduce your risks for developing a UTI by drinking plenty of fluids (preferably water) every day and (for women especially) by wiping from front to back after going to the bathroom. Making an appointment with Dr. McKenzie at the first sign of symptoms is also an important step in preventing an infection from spreading.
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