UTIs (urinary tract infections) can cause bloody urine, pain in the pelvis or lower abdomen, and may lead to a loss of your feet.
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These infections account for approximately 8 million doctor visits annually and are the second-most common type of infection in the human body. These infections are more common in women, but they can also affect men.
UTIs can be treated with antibiotics. They are necessary to speed up recovery, manage symptoms and prevent complications. UTIs, if left untreated can cause serious health complications and even death.
There are many home remedies to help with symptoms and prevent recurrence.
To reflect the terms used historically to describe gender, we use “women’ and “men” in this article. Your body’s response to this disease may be different depending on your gender identity.
Your doctor will be able to help you better understand your particular circumstances and how they relate to diagnosis, treatment, and symptoms.
What is a urinary tract infections?
A urinary tract infection occurs when bacteria enters the urinary system and multiplies. The infection may affect any one or several areas of the urinary tract including:
- They can also cause:
- Frequent and painful urination
- Lower abdominal pain
- Bloody urine
UTIs can happen to anyone. However, they are more common in women. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, 40-60 percent of women will experience at least one UTI during their lifetime.
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This is because women who are assigned female at birth have shorter urethras, which makes it easier for bacteria and viruses to get into their bladders.
An enlarged prostate can lead to urinary tract infections in men. This is because the urine flow is blocked by benign prostatic hypertrophy. This allows bacteria to more easily occupy the urinary tract.
Nearly 90 percent of UTI cases are caused by the Escherichia coli bacterium. E.coli is usually found in the intestines. It is harmless if it is contained within the intestines. Sometimes, however, the bacterium can enter the urinary tract and cause an infection.
A UTI can be triggered by having sex with women. Intercourse can spread bacteria from the anal to the opening of your urethra. By urinating immediately after having sex, women can reduce their chances of getting infected.
UTIs can also be caused by the use of condoms, diaphragms and spermicides. People with a weaker immune system are at higher risk.
- UTI quick facts
- UTIs are the most common type.
- Most UTIs are caused by E.coli, but other germs and viruses can also be a factor.
- In the United States, there are 8 million UTI-related physician visits each year.
- Sometimes antibiotics don’t work.
UTIs can be treated quickly with antibiotics and are usually not serious. If left untreated, UTIs can become serious if they spread to the bloodstream and kidneys. Kidney infection can cause kidney damage or scarring.
UTI symptoms usually resolve within two to four days of starting antibiotic therapy. Most doctors recommend that you take an antibiotic for at most 3 days.
Some UTIs won’t respond to antibiotic treatment, so a different antibiotic may be needed.
Is it time for antibiotics to go out of fashion?
Preliminary studies have shown promising results so far. Research has shown that UTIs can still be treated with antibiotics without the use of traditional antibiotics. This is possible by targeting E.coli’s surface component FimH for adhesion.
The urinary tract usually flushes out bacteria when you urinate. Researchers have found that FimH can cause E.coli to attach to cells in the urinary system, making it difficult for the body’s natural flushing process.
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Researchers may be able to target this protein using other therapies. This could lead to other options for treating UTIs.
- Antibiotic resistance 101
- If antibiotics are given repeatedly, bacteria can become resistant to them.
- In the United States, at least 2,000,000 people are infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria each year.