Preventative Care For Urinary Tract Infections
Whether you are at risk of a bladder or kidney infection, methods reducing the likelihood of bacteria entering the urethra and spreading to the bladder are effective ways to prevent either infection from developing.
The main preventative methods include peeing when you need to and trying to completely empty the bladder. Holding urine can lead to bacteria build-up and irritation in the urinary tract.
Staying hydrated is an important way to ensure frequent flushing of bacteria from the urinary tract. Drinking lots of fluids can prevent constipation from occurring and further irritating kidney infection symptoms.
Fiber-rich foods such as apples and cabbages are also effective preventative measures for constipation. Staying hydrated can also be done by drinking water or tea and avoiding sugary or caffeine-containing beverages.
Other home remedies include using a heating pad on your belly, back, or side can also soothe pains and aches from infections.
Good hygiene in general contributes to preventing further infection, this includes good habits of wiping genitals front to back. Other methods for reducing risk of infection include:
- Urinate soon after sex, and make sure you practice safe sex in general
- Contraceptive diaphragms prevent proper and complete emptying of the bladder consider switching to different birth control methods
- Women with chronic urinary tract infections may find it helpful to take preventive antibiotic therapy
What Can You Expect When You See Your Doctor About Kidney Pain
If youre going to see the doctor about regular musculoskeletal back soreness, your M.D. is most likely going to perform a physical exam to figure out whats causing the problem. And if they think its a more serious issue, they may order an ultrasound or some other type of imaging.
A kidney evaluation may involve more testing, however.
First, theyll ask you about your symptoms and if you’ve had any history of kidney problems in the past or family members with kidney disease. Then they will palpate the area over your kidneys and check your blood pressure and your temperature.
After that, theyll ask you to pee in a cup. This is called a urinalysis. With this test, your doctor is looking to see whether or not they see microscopic blood or smaller crystals. And depending on how sick you are, they may also order some blood tests to check for other signs of infection and see how well the kidneys are actually doing to clear toxins, says Dr. Rajan.
If your doctor is very concerned, they might do an ultrasound to look at the structure of your kidneys and check for stones.
Physicians often prescribe antibiotics for UTIs, and in the case of a small kidney stone, they may just recommend drinking more water and taking pain meds until the stone passes. But more serious or complicated conditions could require other procedures, so its important to see your doc to receive the proper assessment and treatment.
Bacteria Are To Blame
UTIs are usually caused by E. coli, bacteria that are normally found in the digestive tract and on the skin around the rectal and vaginal areas. When the bacteria enter the urethra, they can make their way up into the bladder and cause an infection.
Girls get urinary tract infections much more frequently than guys, most likely due to differences in the shape and length of the urethra. Girls have shorter urethras than guys, and the opening lies closer to the rectum and vagina where bacteria are likely to be.
Some people seem to get frequent UTIs, but they often have other problems that make them more prone to infection, like an abnormality in the urinary tract structures or function. The most common functional problem of the urinary tract is called vesicoureteral reflux , a condition in which some urine flows backward, or refluxes, from the bladder into the ureters and even up to the kidneys.
Bacteria can get into the urethra several ways. During sexual intercourse, for example, the bacteria in the vaginal area may be pushed into the urethra and eventually end up in the bladder, where urine provides a good environment for the bacteria to grow. This is the reason why females who are sexually active often get UTIs .
Bacteria may also be introduced into a girl’s bladder by wiping from back to front after a bowel movement, which can contaminate the urethral opening. The use of spermicides and diaphragms as contraceptives also may increase the risk of UTIs.
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What Is A Urinary Tract Infection
A urinary tract infection is an infection anywhere along the urinary tract system that is made up of several different organs. To understand what a urinary tract infection is, we must first understand what the urinary tract is and the organs that comprise it.
The organs in the urinary tract are meant to extract, hold, and transport waste from your system in the form of urine. They include:
- The kidneys: These two organs sit on each side of your body, generally around the waist. They filter out excess water and waste from your blood to create urine.
- The ureters: These two thin tubes run between the kidney and bladder, transporting urine to the bladder.
- The bladder: This organ stores urine until you feel the need to pee. The body involuntarily contracts the muscles that line the bladder to urinate.
- The urethra: This tube connects the bladder to the outside of the body. When you pee, a muscle called the urinary sphincter relaxes as your bladder contracts to remove urine from your body.
The urethra and bladder make up the lower urinary tract and the ureters and kidneys the upper urinary tract. An infection in any of these four areas by means of bacteria is considered a UTI. This includes both bladder and kidney infections. Sometimes, when generally referenced, UTIs are commonly associated with lower urinary tract conditions such as bladder infections.
Uti Vs Vaginal Infection
Whats the Difference Between a Urinary Tract Infection and Vaginal Infection?
If you experience discomfort in your genital area or when you urinate, you may have an infection. Two types of infections that commonly affect these areas are urinary tract infections and vaginal infections such as bacterial vaginosis and yeast infections. While each of these conditions are distinct, some of their symptoms, causes, and prevention methods are similar. The good news is that both conditions are treatable and more importantly preventable!
The good news is that both UTIs and Bacterial Vaginosis are conditions that are treatable and more importantly preventable!
Although UTIs and vaginal infections are quite different, its possible to have both at the same time. In fact, treating a UTI with antibiotics can sometimes lead to a vaginal infection. In addition, having bacterial vaginosis may predispose you to getting recurrent Urinary Tract Infections.
UTIs and vaginal infections may cause pain when urinating or discomfort in the genital area however, generally other symptoms and the treatment for the conditions are different.
UTIs and vaginal infections symptoms may be in the same general area, but theyre distinct and need to be treated differently
Its important to understand the difference between the various types of infections and their symptoms so you can ensure you are getting the right treatment.
Know How to Tell the Difference!
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What Are The Causes Of Back Pain And Kidney Pain
Back pain most often occurs when the back is overworked, strained, or frequently subjected to poor posture.
Kidney pain has five major causes :
1. Kidney stones
These are hard deposits of minerals and salts that can form in your kidneys and create some excruciating blockage. If theyre very small stones, they may flush out without any pain, says Santiago. If they are larger, the pain is fairly sharp, and it tends to come in waves. In other words, the pain tends to get worse when the stone moves.
Its also typically one-sided, adds Santiago. You dont typically get bad stones on both sides at the same time.
2. A UTI gone too far
Sometimes a urinary tract infection can get out of hand as the harmful bacteria crawl their way through the bladder and up to the kidneys.
With a kidney infection, it’s going to be that dull, continuous pain, says Santiago. UTIs that turn into kidney infections are also more likely to cause fever, chills, and nausea.
Fortunately, your kidneys are guarded by your ribcage and tough back muscles, so kidney injuries arent super common. But if youre into contact sports, happen to be in an accident, or end up in any situation where you take an extremely hard blow to the flank, you could do some organ damage.
4. Polycystic Kidney Disease
5. Kidney tumor
What Is A Uti
A UTI is an infection that can affect anywhere in the urinary tract, including the bladder, ureters, urethra, and kidneys. The urinary tract is responsible for passing urine and eliminating waste from the body. UTIs most commonly affect the lower tract, which includes the urethra and bladder. UTIs can also affect the upper tract, which includes the ureters and kidneys, however, infections affecting the upper tract are typically more severe and are accompanied with worsened symptoms and complications. UTIs are caused by bacteria in the urinary tract. Women are more likely to get UTIs than men, in fact, about 20% of women will get at least once in their lifetime.
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Can I Become Immune To The Antibiotics Used To Treat A Uti
Your body can actually get used to the antibiotics typically used to treat a urinary tract infection . This happens in people who have very frequent infections. With each UTI and use of antibiotics to treat it, the infection adapts and becomes harder to fight. This is called an antibiotic-resistant infection. Because of this, your healthcare provider may suggest alternative treatments if you have frequent UTIs. These could include:
- Waiting: Your provider may suggest that you watch your symptoms and wait. During this time, you may be encouraged to drink plenty of fluids in an effort to flush out your system.
- Intravenous treatment: In some very complicated cases, where the UTI is resistant to antibiotics or the infection has moved to your kidneys, you may need to be treated in the hospital. The medicine will be given to you directly in your vein . Once youre home, you will be prescribed antibiotics for a period of time to fully get rid of the infection.
When To See A Doctor
Although the body may sometimes fight off a UTI on its own, waiting for this to happen carries risks. UTIs can quickly spread, causing serious kidney infections.
A person should see a doctor for any symptoms of a UTI, particularly if they are pregnant or have an underlying health condition that affects their immune system.
A person with symptoms of a kidney infection should go to the emergency room for immediate medical care. The symptoms of a kidney infection include:
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Uti Or Yeast Infection: Whats The Difference
Urinary tract infections and yeast infections are two distinct yet common conditions among women that may present with similar symptoms. This can make it tricky to determine which infection is present when symptoms appear, making self-diagnosis not always accurate. Hector Chapa, MD, a Texas A& M College of Medicine OB-GYN, weighs in on the common confusion between the two and how you can help tell the difference.
Kidney Stones And Utis: Types And Causes
Kidney stones are caused by the crystallization of minerals, which occurs when there is not enough urine or when levels of salt-forming crystals are present. Kidney stones may be caused by many different things, including calcium oxalate, uric acid, cysteine, or xanthine.
Based on the cause, there are different types of kidney stones, which include uric acid stones, calcium stones , struvite stones, cystine stones, and xanthine stones.
Urinary tract infections are caused by bacteria most commonly E.coli. When the bacteria enter the urinary system, they travel to the bladder or other parts of the urinary system. UTIs can take place either in the upper or lower urinary tracts, hence their names cystitis, which occurs in the lower urinary tract, and pyelonephritis, which occurs in the upper urinary tract.
There are two main types of UTIs complicated and uncomplicated. The two are distinguished by the factors that trigger the infection. Complicated UTIs are more commonly seen in men than women. UTIs can also be primary or recurrent, which means the infection is happening for the first time or is returning.
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How Do You Get A Bladder Infection Or Uti
UTIs happen when bacteria enters the urethra and spreads. Urinary tract infections are fairly common and can happen to anyone, but the following risk factors can increase your chances of getting one:
- The sex you’re assigned at birthpeople assigned female at birth have shorter urethras than those assigned male at birth, making it easier for bacteria to travel to the bladder and kidneys.
- Hormone changesmenopause, pregnancy, or just that time of the month can increase your risk of infection.
- Diaphragms and spermicidesthese forms of contraception can kill off good bacteria, increasing the bad bacteria which can find its way to the urethra.
- Genetic predispositionThats right! It could just be a genetic thing. Genetics play a role in the shape and size of your urinary tract making some individuals more prone to infections.
- Sexual activityPee as soon as possible after sex to prevent UTIs.
- Hygiene habitsBubble baths and scented feminine products might feel like self-care, but they can cause irritation that leads to UTIs. Also, always make sure youre wiping front to back!
- Chronic illnessIllness that causes changes to your immune system, like diabetes, can make you more prone to UTIs.
- Holding itNo need to be a hero. When you have to go to the bathroom, you should go.
- Not drinking enough waterAdd it to the list of reasons you should drink more water! Staying hydrated can help stave off infections.
How Do You Get Urinary Tract Infections
The design of the human body makes it so it isnt difficult to get a bacterial UTI, because the infection comes from outside, through the urethra. Bacteria in the genital area can enter the urethra and the urinary tract, either because wiping after going to the bathroom, sexual activity, or unsanitary conditions. Once the bacteria has entered the urethra, the body tries its best to fight it off, but sometimes the immune system cant do this, the bacteria multiply, and cause the infection.
In the case of a fungal infection, usually the fungus gets to the urinary tract through the blood stream. Those who develop this type of infection are usually ill with a disease that has compromised their immune system, such as AIDS.
In general, women get more UTIs than do men and this increases with age. Statistics show that many women get more than one. Almost 20% of women who have had one UTI will go on to have a second. Of this 20%, 30% of those will have a third, and in turn, 80% of these women will have more.
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Prevention Of A Kidney Infection
Preventing kidney infections usually starts with preventing UTIs in the lower urinary tract. Steps you can take to help prevent UTIs include:
- Drink lots of water throughout the day.
- Urinate when you feel the urge to do so dont wait.
- After using the toilet, wipe from front to back so you don’t spread bacteria from your anus to your urethra.
- Urinate after having sex.
- Dont use unnecessary cleansing or deodorizing products in the genital area.
- Steer clear of birth control methods that can raise the risk of a UTI.
If you do develop a UTI, get it treated as soon as possible. See your primary healthcare provider for treatment, or visit an urgent-care facility for diagnosis and a prescription for antibiotics.
Treating a UTI promptly may prevent it from spreading from your bladder to your kidneys.
Signs Of A Kidney Infection To Know And When To Go To The Hospital
Youre probably not constantly on the lookout for signs of a kidney infection. But getting a urinary tract infection can open you up to also getting an infection in one or both kidneys, which means this is an illness that should be on your radar. Yep, it’s an unfortunate truth: A urinary tract infection can lead to a kidney infection, which is medically known as pyelonephritis and can be incredibly serious. So if youre experiencing symptoms of a UTI and thinking, Eh, I can wait a few more days to get those antibiotics, think again. Heres what you need to know about the signs of a kidney infection, its underlying causes, why its so important to get treatment as soon as you can, and more.
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How To Prevent A Kidney Infection
Preventing a kidney infection is really all about preventing urinary tract infections and getting prompt treatment if you ever get one. Sorry, but dont rely on cranberry juice or supplements for thisthe science is far too mixed to consider either of these a definitive UTI-prevention method. Instead, whenever you feel a bladder infection coming on, make it a habit to drink enough water every day to stay hydrated. That will ensure youre peeing often enough to help flush out bacteria that could lead to an infection. The NIDDK recommends peeing as often as you get the urge, but definitely at least every three to four hours, since urine hanging out in your bladder for too long may help bacteria to grow, the organization says.
Kaufman also stresses the importance of urinating like a fire hose after sex. It might even be helpful to skip peeing before sex as long as that doesnt make you uncomfortable, he says. This allows you to build up a forceful stream that may better help remove any bacteria that might have been pushed up there during sex.
Also, we referenced this above, but its important to reiterate: After you pee , you should be sure to wipe from front to back, as wiping back to front can spread harmful bacteria from your rectum to your urethra, where it can cause an infection.