UTI - Urinary tract infections

Urinary tract infections UTI, are one of the most common types of infections that strike the urinary tract and can be very painful to deal with. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce your risk of getting UTIs and to treat them quickly if you do get one. Here’s how to tell if you have a UTI and what to do about it.

The Causes of Urinary Tract Infections, Signs and Symptoms of a UTI, The Different Types of Tests for UTIs, Treatments for UTIs, Other Ways to Prevent UTIs from Recurring


The Causes of Urinary Tract Infections

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are caused by bacteria that enter and infect your urinary tract. A variety of things can bring on a UTI, including sexual intercourse, strenuous exercise, using public toilets and not washing your hands afterward. Some people are more prone to them than others. If you experience pain in your lower abdomen or other symptoms like fever, chills or nausea, it’s time to see your doctor for some blood tests and antibiotics.


Signs and Symptoms of a UTI

There are a number of symptoms and signs that can indicate that you have a urinary tract infection. The more common symptoms are: frequent or urgent need to urinate, pain in your lower back or lower abdomen, bloody urine, and pain during sexual intercourse. Depending on how severe your case is and what location in your body it’s in, you may also experience fever and chills, nausea or vomiting, fatigue (feeling tired), headaches, body aches and cramps.


Getting Yourself Tested

The first step in getting yourself tested for a urinary tract infection is to see your doctor and report what symptoms you’re experiencing. Your doctor will give you a physical exam and may ask questions about your medical history. They might also ask you questions about what type of bacteria—if any—you’ve been exposed to recently.


The Different Types of Tests for UTIs

There are two basic types of tests for UTIs: urine culture and urinalysis. Both are inexpensive and accurate, but they’re used to detect different things. If you think you might have a urinary tract infection, see your doctor so that they can run both tests on your sample—one will tell them what kind of bacteria is in your system (and determine what antibiotic they’ll prescribe), while the other will give them more specific information about any abnormalities happening in your body.


Treatments for UTIs

Most UTIs can be successfully treated with antibiotics. Before you start taking medication, make sure you're taking steps to prevent another urinary tract infection. Drink plenty of water, avoid caffeine and alcohol (it increases your risk of having another infection), don't hold your urine for long periods of time, and urinate when you feel a strong urge—doing so keeps bacteria from building up in your urethra.


Other Ways to Prevent UTIs from Recurring

As you’re reading about how to tell if you have a UTI, be sure to read about how you can prevent these infections from recurring. While there are many things that you can do in your personal life (like drinking plenty of water and always wiping front-to-back), sometimes these infections return due to antibiotic use. If antibiotics are prescribed for your infection, make sure that you only take them when absolutely necessary and even then, try your best not to finish them all at once.

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