Urinary Tract Infections
Women are fairly prone to urinary tract infections because of the shortness of their urethra and the close proximity of the urethra to the vagina and anus. Bacteria that live in this moist environment can spread to the urinary tract during sex or with the use of certain vaginal birth control methods. If the bacteria reach the bladder, the woman may develop a bladder infection, also known as cystitis. A kidney infection is known as pyelonephritis and can be a serious medical condition.
Symptoms of a Urinary Tract Infection:
- Urge to urinate.
- Pain with urination.
- Frequent urination.
- Cloudy urine or color changes
- Fever, chills
- Nausea or vomiting
- Back pains
- Risk factors:
- Multiple vaginal births
- History of UTIs
- Kidney stones
Diagnosing a Urinary Tract Infection:
- Urine culture
- History taking
- Treatment options;
- Outpatient antibiotics specific to culture sensitivity
- increased fluid intake
- Frequent voiding
- Voiding prior & after intercourse
- Inpatient therapy in severe Pyelonephritis
- Prophylaxis for recurrent infections
- Cranberry juice or cranberry pills may aid in preventing UTIs, but the effect is not well understood.
- Estrogen therapy can help prevent UTIs in women who are going through menopause.
PYELONEPHRITIS (KIDNEY INFECTION)
- Pyelonephritis is a serious and more aggressive version of a UTI affecting upper urinary tract and Kidneys.
- Many times outpatient therapy is inadequate and during pregnancy, if ignored may lead to adult respiratory distress and become fatal.
- Urinary tract infection, plus these additional symptoms, may indicate pyelonephritis:
- Fever, chills, nausea, and/or vomiting
- Back pain or pain in the sides
- Disorientation or confusion
- Urine color changes
- Pyelonephritis Risk increased with:
- Use of steroids
- Immunosuppression like pregnant state or HIV
- renal or ureteral stones
- Urinalysis, Urine culture, WBC and CRP infection markers plus ultrasounds are diagnostic tools.