Research And Statistics: Who Gets Urinary Tract Infections
In the United States, UTIs result in about 10 million doctor’s office visits annually. People of any age can get a UTI, though most commonly it affects women. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, 40 to 60 percent of women develop a UTI during their lives.
Twelve percent of men will have symptoms of at least one UTI during their lives, per the American Urological Association. While UTIs are uncommon in young men, the risk of infection increases with age, especially in men over 50.
Women are at greater risk of urinary tract infections for anatomical reasons: Women have a shorter urethra than men and their urethra is closer to the anus, which means the bacteria that live there dont have to travel far to infect the bladder.
In children, UTIs are common and also occur more frequently in girls than boys. About 3 percent of girls and 1 percent of boys will have a UTI by the time they’re 11 years old.
Accuracy Of Standard Uti Tests
In reality, antibiotics are very often prescribed without any form of UTI test. Patients and doctors are very competent at recognizing the symptoms of a UTI, but there are issues with this approach.
Statistics show that 26-44% of females will experience a recurrence of their first UTI. In this 26-44%, it is likely the initial treatment failed.
Evidence suggests that with each recurrence of UTI, another recurrence becomes more likely.
The more UTIs you have, the more likely you are to get another.
If your UTI treatment failed the first time, it is crucial to find out why as soon as possible, in order to break the cycle of recurrence before it escalates.
So why dont the standard UTI test methods provide the answers you need?
First, lets take a quick look at those urine test strips you can use at home or at the doctors office. Then well explain some of the problems with urine culturing done at a lab.
Knowing the issues with both of these tests will arm you with the right questions to ask if you feel like your negative results are wrong.
Weve also created a free download that provides a breakdown of the different types of testing. Provide the email address at which youd like to receive the download, at the end of this article. .
It Turns Out Urine Is Not Sterile
It has become common knowledge that urine is sterile its even become ingrained in first aid advice, like urinating on a wound is better than using non-sterile water. But it turns out its not.
The bladder has its own unique microbiome, and an ideal balance of microbes that your body does its best to maintain.
Studies have found hundreds of different bacteria in healthy bladders. And in patients with UTIs, they have found even more. Thats a lot of different bacteria that were assumed not to exist in the bladder!
Because UTI test techniques have always assumed urine is sterile, they have always been flawed.
For many, the consequences of this are UTI test results that list contamination which implies the bacteria came from a source other than the bladder possibly skin, vagina, or elsewhere.
This contamination may actually be bacteria from inside the bladder that should be considered as part of the puzzle. Results may also show insignificant levels of growth that are then often dismissed.
Its important to acknowledge here that actual sample contamination is also a real possibility, so minimizing this is also important. Weve discussed this more below.
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Collect A More Accurate Urine Sample With The Peezy Midstream
As we mentioned above, collecting a clean catch urine sample with minimal contamination from the skin surrounding the urethra can be very difficult. This is particularly the case for those who have limited mobility or capacity at the time of collecting the sample.
Fortunately, a new device helps address this problem, and has been shown in studies to reduce microbial contamination. The Peezy Midstream is an innovative device that allows you to capture only the midstream, without stopping and starting the flow of urine, or moving a sample cup in and out of the flow at the opportune moments.
In simple terms, the Peezy Midstream is a cleverly constructed funnel, attached to a sample collection tube.
As you pee into the funnel, the first part of the stream is automatically discarded, while the midstream is captured in the tube, and the end of the stream is expelled into the toilet. All without any pee ending up on the floor or your hands.
And yes, we have tried the Peezy ourselves. We agree with the 70% of patients involved in trials who say it is user-friendly .
When it comes to how this can impact the accuracy of your UTI test results, the Peezy has been shown to significantly reduce urine sample contamination.
This may lead to more accurate test results and more effective treatment options. Peezy Midstream is available in the US and the UK, so if youd like to chat to your doctor about trying it, you can . In the US, you can order the Peezy Midstream directly.
What Causes Urinary Tract Infections
These bacteria are responsible for about 90% of all uncomplicated urinary tract infections. E. coli are found in the colons of humans and animals and in their fecal waste. When E. coli or other bacteria end up in the urethra, they cause a urinary tract infection.
There are other types of bacteria also known to cause UTIs. According to a study by The National Center for Biotechnology Information the most common bacteria to cause UTIs are:
- Escherichia coli
- Klebsiella pneumoniae
- Streptococcus spp. , Staphylococcus epidermidis, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Enterococci were each found to be the third pathogens in different periods during the two-year study.
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What About Kidney Stones Are They Involved Here Somehow
Sort of. A kidney stone isnt an infection, but a collection of salt and minerals that hardens and turns into a stone. While some stones may be small others can be much larger. They may stay in the kidney, or begin to move into the ureter, the tube that connects the kidney and the bladder. When this happens, kidney stones can become extremely painful.
Kidney stones can be tricky, since they may have many of the same symptoms as a UTI or a kidney infection pain when urinating, needing to urinate often, and cloudy or strong smelling urine, blood in the urine, fever, nausea or vomiting. And while stones often pass on their own, larger stones sometimes need to be broken up, or removed.
Sometimes, kidney stones can lead to a urinary tract infection or a kidney infection, so its important to get them checked out by your doctor. And, since the symptoms are so similar, getting a checkup is probably a good idea anyway just to rule out the possibility of an infection, and to make sure the stone is moving along as it should.
What Are The Symptoms Of A Uti
One of the most common symptoms of a UTI is a frequent and urgent need to pee. You might feel like you need to pee all the time, even if you just went. Other UTI symptoms include:
pain or burning when you pee
bad-smelling or cloudy urine
blood or pus in your urine
soreness, pressure, or cramps in your lower belly, back, or sides
If the infection goes to your kidneys, your UTI symptoms may also include:
pain in your mid-back
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Why Does Kidney Disease Cause Weight Gain
Kidney disease doesnt just affect the kidneys, it affects the whole body. In the early stages, it can cause weight loss, while in the later stages it can cause weight gain. These variations are the result of different aspects of the disease. Heres some information to help you understand the issue of kidney disease and weight gain, courtesy of Dr. Allen Lauer, of Associates in Nephrology.
When Does A Uti Turn Into A Kidney Infection
What happens if a UTI goes untreated? If left untreated, the E. coli or other bacteria that caused your urinary tract infection can move farther up your urinary system.
When they reach your upper urinary system , you may experience a kidney infection, medically known as pyelonephritis.
Most people seek medical help and receive treatment before they get to this point.
Most often, the bacteria involved in a kidney infection are the same that caused the initial bladder or urethral infection. In rare instances, bacteria from your skin or the environment can cause a kidney infection.
Any condition that reduces or obstructs urine flow increases your risk of contracting a kidney infection as it allows bacteria to more easily flow from the bladder, up the ureters, to the kidneys. These conditions include:
- Kidney, bladder, or ureter stones
- Masses in the abdomen or pelvis caused by cancer or other disorders
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For Those Who Experience Frequent Utis Managing Risk Factors May Help With Prevention
In some people, urinary tract infections come back again and again. Women, especially, are likely to have recurrent UTIs. While recurrences usually develop within three months of the original infection, having more than two within six months is technically considered a recurrence.
Besides precautions and at-home strategies to help prevent UTIs, sometimes antibiotics are used as a preventive measure for those with frequent UTI recurrences.
Managing risk factors by maintaining good hygiene, such as wiping from front to back for women and avoiding spermicides can lower your likelihood of repeat UTIs.
If I Do Need Antibiotics Can I Get A Prescription Without Seeing A Provider
If you do need antibiotics, you will need to talk to a healthcare provider to get a prescription. Antibiotics are not available without a prescription in the U.S. Your healthcare provider will talk to you about your medical history and current symptoms. In some cases, they may collect a urine sample to test for bacteria or other infections especially if you havent had a UTI before.
If this is your first UTI, or youre at risk for a sexually transmitted infection , it could be helpful to see a provider in person for a physical exam. In the office, a provider can do tests for other conditions . These can help determine whether you have a UTI, or something else.
But in some cases, your provider may give you antibiotics after a phone call or video chat. If you are an established patient, they may be willing to call in a prescription for an antibiotic for you especially if youve had a UTI before. They might also be able to provide you with medical advice over the phone.
Another option is to see an online provider. There are many telehealth options for diagnosing and treating UTIs, including GoodRx Care. You can also shop around at the GoodRx Telehealth Marketplace, where you can compare telehealth providers based on:
Your health condition
Whether your insurance is accepted
Whether prescriptions are available through the mail
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Treatment For Uti Caused Due To Std
UTI due to Chlamydia treatment: Uncomplicated lower genital tract chlamydia infections can be cured by a single dose or short course of antibiotics such as azithromycin and doxycycline.
UTI due to Gonorrhea treatment: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that uncomplicated gonorrhea be treated with the antibiotic ceftriaxone given as an injection with oral azithromycin
Causes Of Kidney Infections
A kidney infection happens when bacteria infects your kidneys. The bacteria are usually a type called E. coli, which live in your bowel.
The bacteria get in through the opening of the urethra and move upwards through your urinary tract, first infecting your bladder and then your kidneys.
It’s thought the bacteria can get into your urinary tract by accidentally spreading from your anus to your urethra. This can happen if you wipe your bottom after going to the toilet and the soiled toilet paper comes into contact with your genitals. It can also happen during sex.
In rare cases, a kidney infection can develop if bacteria or fungi infect the skin and the infection spreads through your bloodstream into your kidney. However, this type of infection usually only occurs in people with weakened immune systems.
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Alternative Uti Test Methods You Could Try
We cannot reiterate enough No evidence of infection is not the same thing as evidence of no infection.
Or, to put it in a less mind-bending phrase just because your UTI test comes back negative, it does not mean you do not have an infection.
There ARE other testing options available, ranging from a modified urine culture test, right up to high tech genetic sequencing methods like those described below.
Check out our expert video series to learn more about how standard urine cultures are misleading and can lead to an inaccurate diagnosis.
|Theres an old expression, if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck. It’s gotta be a duck. And so to have somebody who has pain, urgency, frequency and burning, and yet they’re told they don’t have an infection because a urine culture was negative, who do you believe? Are you treating a lab result? Or are you treating a person?|
If you feel you have exhausted your current options and you are still experiencing symptoms that impact your life, it could be time to learn more about how to move forward.
A number of researchers, specialists and doctors in various countries have developed more comprehensive approaches to conditions such as recurrent UTI, chronic cystitis and Interstitial Cystitis.
Thanks to their efforts, there are a few alternative testing options you may wish to consider.
Are There Any Natural Remedies For Uti Treatment
Many people are curious about whether foods and supplements can help treat a UTI at home. Though not all of these remedies have evidence to support them, many are relatively low-risk. So if you feel like they are helpful for you or youve had a positive experience in the past it might be safe to go ahead and try them.
Keep in mind that vitamins and supplements are not regulated by the FDA, so its worthwhile to check with an independent lab to help you choose a product thats safe and effective. You should also check with a healthcare provider before taking any supplement on a regular basis, especially if you are pregnant, take other medications, or have any health conditions.
Cranberry juice and products
Unfortunately, theres just no good evidence that cranberry can help an active UTI go away. It also doesnt always work well for preventing UTIs. However, some experts do still continue to recommend cranberry. It may have other health benefits, even if its not directly helpful for treating your UTI. It may encourage healthy bacteria to grow, and boost your immune system. Its also considered a fairly low-risk remedy in other words, its not likely to do any harm.
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Treatments For Urinary And Kidney Infections
Kidney infections always require antibiotics. Donât rely on home remedies alone to take care of kidney infections.
Usually, doctors will prescribe empiric antibiotics to cover all the potential bacteria that could have caused the infection until they can target the specific bacteria based on test results. Antibiotics are usually prescribed for at least a full week.
Normally, you wonât require a stay at a hospital for a kidney infection as long as you can move around and consistently keep down oral antibiotics.
However, if you exhibit severe symptoms or cannot keep down the medication due to nausea and vomiting, you may be hospitalized so that your doctor may administer antibiotics and fluids intravenously.
If the kidney infection progresses enough to create an abscess in the kidney, you may require more serious treatment. Abscesses cannot be cured with antibiotics alone. In order to drain them, doctors will perform a nephrostomy, which involves placing a tube through your back, into the kidney.
How Accurate Are Uti Test Methods
There are two standard ways to conduct a UTI test:
Despite being the global standards for UTI testing since the 1980s and 1950s respectively, both of these tests are extremely inaccurate.
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How Is The Infection Spread
It is difficult to spread a UTI between individuals, as the type of bacteria causing the infection is almost never contagious.
The most common way that a UTI is contracted is through the movement of bacteria from the anus to the urethra, either when wiping after going to the toilet or during sexual intercourse. Taking care during each of these activities can help to prevent the transfer of bacteria, which may then have the opportunity to overgrow.
Vigorous sexual intercourse may also lead to symptoms of UTI or cystitis in women , although there may be no bacteria present.