A urinary tract infection (UTI) is caused by an imbalance of bacteria that live in the bladder– the bladder, kidneys, urethra, and ureters. Most UTIs affect the lower part of the urinary tract, called a bladder infection but can also become more serious infecting the ureters and kidneys.
If you have more than three UTIs a year or two UTIs within 6 months, they’re considered recurrent – recurrent UTIs aren’t uncommon in women. Part of the reason women are more prone to UTIs is because of their anatomy. The urethra is short, making it easier for bacteria to enter the bladder especially after intercourse. Women may also get UTIs more often after menopause because a decrease in hormones causes a change in vaginal pH, making it easier to get infections.
Women are more likely to get recurrent UTIs if they have:
- Bladder or kidney stones
- A family history of UTIs
- An abnormally shaped or functioning urinary tract
Certain diabetes medicines can also increase sugar levels in the urine, which can lead to UTIs.
Symptoms of a UTI can include:
- Abdominal pain or pressure
- Bloody, dark, cloudy, or foul-smelling urine
- Frequent urination, with only a small amount of urine
- Pain or burning when urinating
- Pain in the lower back or side
- Mental status changes
At the University of Miami Health System, our Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgeons specialize in preventing and reducing your risk of recurrent UTIs. We use the latest approaches to find the cause of infections and develop a treatment plan that prevents UTIs from coming back.
Your doctor will do a urinalysis to look at the content of your urine and a culture test to identify the bacteria causing the infection.
In some instances, your doctor may use imaging tests such as a CT scan or an ultrasound of your bladder or kidneys.
They may also use cystoscopy to look for blockages or changes in your urinary tract. The procedure uses a thin, flexible tube and viewing device inserted through your urethra.
Your doctor will recommend steps you can take to reduce your risk of UTIs, such as wiping from front to back after going to the bathroom, urinating as soon as possible after intercourse, and not using douches or vaginal deodorants.
Your doctor may prescribe one or more medications in the treatment and prevention of your infections. They may instruct you to take medicine before or after intercourse. If you’re post-menopausal, your doctor may also prescribe estrogen pills or cream to reduce vaginal dryness.
Why Choose UHealth?
Pelvic health expertise. We offer comprehensive care and services focused on women’s health and well-being. As an academic medical center, we use the latest research and leading-edge approaches to help you feel better and get back your life as quickly as possible.
Care designed for women. Our doctors specialize in women’s health. You get individual attention and treatment that’s customized to your needs, with personal attention from trained, compassionate experts who understand women’s needs.
Expert advice.Your care team will educate you about UTIs and offer tips to help you prevent them. We make sure you understand your risks and what you can do to stay healthy.
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