Health

No Title

Section I–Common Health Problems - Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)

HealthyLife® Students' Self-Care Guide

Table of Contents

 Section I–Common Health Problems

Previous Topic | Next
Topic

Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)

“I threw up twice
during class and 3 times on the bus on the way back to my dorm. I thought
I had the stomach flu. Then I felt really out of it. Luckily, my roommate
was in pre-med. She got me to the University Medical Center’s Emergency
Room. I was dehydrated and I had a kidney infection.”

Diana
K., University of Michigan

Urinary tract infections are ones that occur in any
organs that make up the urinary tract. The kidneys filter waste
products from the blood and make urine. Ureters connect the kidney to
the bladder, which holds urine until it is passed through the urethra.

 

Signs & Symptoms

Bladder Infection
  • Constant urge to urinate; urinating more often than usual; feeling
    like your bladder is still full after you pass urine
  • Burning or pain when you pass urine
  • Cloudy urine or blood in the urine
Acute Kidney Infection
  • Pain in one or both sides of your mid back
  • Fever and shaking chills
  • Nausea and vomiting
{Note:
Bladder infections are much more common than kidney infections. You
can also have a UTI without symptoms.}

Causes & Risk Factors

UTIs result when bacteria infect any part of
the urinary tract. The bladder is the most common site.

The risk for getting a UTI is greater for:

Sexually active females.

Females who use a diaphragm for birth
control

Males and females who have had UTIs in
the past

Anyone with a condition that doesn’t
allow urine to pass freely. Kidney stones is an
example.

Prevention

Drink plenty of water and other fluids
everyday. Cranberry juice may help prevent bladder
infections.

Empty your bladder as soon as you feel
the urge.

Drink a glass of water before you have
sex. Go to the bathroom as soon as you can after sex.

If you’re prone to UTIs, don’t take
bubble baths.

If you’re female, wipe from front to
back after using the toilet. This helps keep bacteria away from the
opening of the urethra.

If you use a diaphragm, clean it after
each use. Have your health care provider check it periodically to make
sure it still fits right.

Treatment

An antibiotic to treat the specific
infection and pain relievers (if necessary) are the usual treatment. If you
get UTIs often, your health care provider may order certain medical tests to
diagnose the cause.

Questions to Ask

Do you have all of these symptoms of a
kidney infection
?

  • Fever and shaking chills

  • Pain in one or both sides of your back

  • Nausea and vomiting

 

Do you have these symptoms of a
bladder
infection
?

  • Burning or stinging feeling when you
    pass urine

  • Passing urine a lot more often than
    usual, often in small amounts

  • Bloody or cloudy urine

  • Pain in your abdomen or over your
    bladder

  • Fever (sometimes)

 
Have you had more than 3 bladder infections within
6 months or more than 4 bladder infections in the same year?

 
After getting medication for a UTI from a health
care provider, do symptoms not clear completely over 3 days or did the
prescribed medicine give you side effects, such as a skin rash or a
vaginal yeast infection?

 

Self-Care

Drink at least 8 glasses of water and
other liquids a day.
Drink juice made from unsweetened
cranberry juice concentrate. Take cranberry tablets
(look for these at health food stores).
Avoid alcohol, spicy foods, and
caffeine. These can irritate the bladder.
Get plenty of rest.
Check for fever twice a day; in the
morning and again in the evening.
Take an over-the-counter medicine for
pain. (see “OTC Medications for "Pain relief") or take the OTC medicine Uristat, which relieves pain and spasms that come with a bladder
infection. {Note: Uristat helps with symptoms, but doesn’t get rid of
the infection. You should see your health care provider to diagnose and
treat the problem.}
Go to the bathroom as soon as you feel
the urge. Empty your bladder completely.

©2005,
6th edition. American Institute for Preventive Medicine
All rights reserved.
The content on this website is proprietary.
YOU MAY NOT MODIFY, COPY, REPRODUCE, REPUBLISH, UPLOAD, POST, TRANSMIT,
OR DISTRIBUTE, IN ANY MANNER, THE MATERIAL ON THE SITE.

December 08, 2005