Urinary Tract Infections Treatment & Prevention
According to the National Kidney and Urological Diseases Information Clearinghouse, urinary tract infections are the second most common type of infection. Women tend to be more susceptible than men. Urinary tract infections are caused by bacteria from the digestive tract multiplying on the opening to the urethra. UTIs are treated with different types of antibiotics, depending on the bacteria involved. Preventive measures can help prevent recurrent infections.
Treatment for your urinary tract infection will depend on the part of the urinary tract that is infected. If you have symptoms of a urinary tract infection, you will need to see your physician for testing to find out what type of bacteria is causing the infection. Commonly prescribed antibiotics for a simple urinary tract infection are usually either amoxicillin, nitrofurantoin, ciprofloxacin, levofloxacin or sulfamethoxazole-trimethoprim. Most symptoms stop within a few days of treatment. But you will need to take the entire course of antibiotics to ensure the infection is completely gone. Your doctor may also prescribe medications to help numb the bladder and urethra to ensure that you will not have burning while you urinate. These analgesics commonly discolor urine to bright blue or orange. If the urinary tract infection is severe and involves the kidneys, you may have to be hospitalized for intravenous antibiotics. Recurrent infections are a problem for some people. If you do have recurrent infections, your health care provider may have you take antibiotics for a longer period of time. Your doctor also may have you go on a self-treatment program that will allow you to take short courses of antibiotics when you begin to have infection symptoms. In addition to the prescribed medications for the urinary tract infection, you can also drink plenty of water to help flush out the bacteria and dilute your urine. Using a heating pad on your abdominal area can also help lessen the discomfort.
To help reduce the risk of recurrent urinary tract infection, physicians recommend several preventive measures. Drinking plenty of fluids on a daily basis is highly encouraged. According to the Mayo Clinic, cranberry juice may have infection-fighting properties. Another method to help prevent an infection is to wipe yourself from front to back after urinating or having a bowel movement. If you have intercourse, empty your bladder as soon as possible and try to drink a full glass of water. Taking showers instead of baths can reduce exposure to certain bacteria. You should avoid using douches and feminine sprays or powders. Always try to urinate when you feel the urge. Taking these steps, may help you avoid future urinary tract infections.