Your urinary tract extends from your urethra to your bladder to your kidneys. Your urethra is the tiny duct off your bladder through which you urinate. When bacteria and fungi make their way into your urethra, it can become infected, resulting in a urinary tract infection, or UTI.
Most infections occur in the lower urinary tract, starting in your urethra and spreading to your bladder. UTIs are more common in women since their urethra is shorter. It allows bacteria easier access to the bladder. Lower tract infections tend to be easily treated unless the infection spreads to your kidneys.
If the infection reaches your kidneys in the upper urinary tract, it can cause permanent kidney damage or a life-threatening condition called sepsis. It is imperative to seek medical attention at the onset of symptoms.
The most common symptoms of a UTI are:
If you’re experiencing shaking, accompanied by a fever and vomiting, there’s a good chance your infection has spread to your kidneys and you should schedule an appointment as soon as possible. You should seek immediate care.
Minor UTIs usually respond well to antibiotics. Depending on your symptoms, your course of antibiotics may be prescribed for only a day or two, while other treatments can last over a week. If you’re postmenopausal, vaginal estrogen therapy can help with preventing recurrent or frequent infections.
A common home remedy is consuming cranberries or cranberry juice. There’s a chemical in cranberries that may make it difficult for some types of bacteria to remain in the bladder. This is a good preventative measure for urinary tract infections; however it’s not a solution for an existing UTI.
If you experience UTIs often, more testing may be done to rule out any issues in your urinary tract, such as an obstruction.
For an evaluation, schedule an appointment today with our Alabama UROGYN team.
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