urinary tract infections

Your urinary tract makes urine and moves the urine out of your body. A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection that occurs along the urinary tract. A UTI happens when germs find their way into the bladder, kidneys, or any of the tubes where urine flows. Most of the time your body can get rid of the germs but certain things can increase a woman’s chance of getting a UTI.

Things that increase your risk of getting a urinary tract infection include:

  • Diabetes
  • Older age
  • Difficulty emptying all the urine you have in your bladder
  • A tumor or stone that stops the flow of urine
  • A job where you stand or sit in one place for a long time
  • Pregnancy
  • A family history of urinary tract infections

It is important that a urinary tract infection is treated early because it can worsen. There are some signs you can look for to see if you have a urinary tract infection.

Signs of a Urinary Tract Infection

The most common signs of a UTI include:

  • Urine that has a strong smell
  • Dark yellow or red (bloody) urine
  • Pain when urinating
  • Low fever or no fever at all
  • Pain in the stomach or lower back
  • A strong desire to urinate often

If the urinary tract infection is not treated, germs can move up the tract to the kidneys causing a kidney infection. Because a kidney infection can cause long-term damage to the kidneys, it is important that you contact your gynecologist when you have signs of a urinary tract infection.

Here are a few clues to help you tell if a urinary tract infection has turned into a kidney infection:

  • A fever above 101 degrees F
  • Pain in the back or lower stomach
  • Chills and night sweats
  • Feeling tired and ill, like you have the flu
  • Stomach pain, nausea, or vomiting

Tests

You will need to get an appointment with your OB or gynecologist to know if you have a urinary tract infection. During your appointment, the doctor will have you urinate into a cup. A special test will be used to tell if you have an infection. If you have an infection, the doctor will write you a prescription for the medicine you need to take to stop the infection.

Prevention

There are some ways you can help your body stop urinary tract infections before they start. Here are some tips on what you can do to avoid urinary tract infections:

  • Wipe from the front to the back of your private area after you urinate
  • Urinate before and after you have sex
  • Change sanitary pads or napkins often
  • Switch from tampons to pads
  • Replace baths with showers
  • Wear cotton underwear
  • Drink cranberry juice
  • Drink lots of water
  • Do not try to hold in your urine
  • Do not drink alcohol and caffeine
  • Do not wear tight fitting pants

If you think you may have a urinary tract infection Dr. Hessel is always here to help. Call us today and set up an appointment

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