Recurrent urinary tract infection
A recurrent urinary tract infection (UTI) may be generally defined as having three or more infections within one year. The cause of a recurrent urinary tract infection may be idiopathic (no obvious cause) or related to a urologic disorder such as kidney or bladder stones, a tumor, vesicoureteral reflux (urine flows backwards toward the kidney), or ineffective bladder emptying. Treatment is aimed at identifying the root cause in order to break the cycle of recurrent infection.
What Is a Recurrent Urinary Tract Infection?
The urinary tract is the path by which urine is expelled from the body. The cause of recurrent urinary tract infections are harmful bacteria that enter the urinary tract. Tests for the condition are conducted by a urologist to determine if an underlying structural abnormality, of the urinary tract, is predisposing the individual to recurrent infections.
Women are more prone to having urinary tract infections due to the short length or their urethra. Because the urethra is short, bacteria is able to easily travel up the urethra into the bladder.
Symptoms of Recurrent Urinary Tract Infection
A urinary tract infection can be very uncomfortable and produce several bothersome symptoms. These symptoms may include:
- High fever
- Painful urination
- Burning sensation during urination
- Pelvic or back pain
- Frequent urination
- Urinary leakage
- Discoloration of the urine
- Strong odor
- Blood in the urine (hematuria)
Treatment for recurrent UTIs
When visiting a urologist, the doctor will follow a standard diagnostic protocol that includes:
- Thorough review of the patient’s medical history and medications.
- Review of current symptoms.
- Physical examination.
- Urinalysis – This test will screen for bacteria, infection, and blood cells.
A course of antibiotics is the standard treatment for recurrent urinary tract infections. The strength of the medication, and the length of dosage will depend on the bacteria identified as causing the infection.
How to avoid a recurrent urinary tract infection
There are several measures that patient’s can practice to help avoid urinary tract infections.
- Practice good hygiene. Keep the perineum area clean and dry.
- After urination or bowel movement, wipe the area from front to back. Wiping from the back forward can introduce bacteria.
- Stay hydrated in order to adequately flush the bladder.
- Keep the bladder empty rather than holding urine.
- Empty the bladder before and after sexual intercourse.
If you suffer with recurrent urinary tract infections, contact Urology Austin to schedule an appointment with one of our urologists.