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Urinary Tract Infection FAQs

Will a UTI cause damage to the kidneys?

If the UTI is treated early, then there will probably be no lasting influence on your urinary tract. Recurrent or unrecognized UTIs could cause damage if not remedied expeditiously.

Why do I get UTIs?

Most UTIs are solitary events that, if treated, will not recur. Some patients have anatomical and genetic predispositions that tend to make one person more susceptible than another.

How do I avoid UTIs?

There are some simple steps women can use to avoid UTIs. Women who have gone through menopause and have lost the normal estrogen output have a change in the lining of the vagina. Estrogen replacement under the guidance of a gynecologist and/or primary care doctor can be a simple solution. Since certain patients cannot take estrogen replacement, you should contact your doctor prior to beginning any regimen.

Urination after sexual intercourse may also decrease the risk of UTI because it can flush out any bacteria that were introduced during intercourse. Sometimes a dose of antibiotics after intercourse can help prevent recurrence of UTIs.

Certain forms of birth control, such as spermicidal foam and diaphragms, are known to increase the risk of UTIs in women who use these as their form of contraception.

You should also drink plenty of fluids to keep well hydrated.

You should not delay urinating and should not rush when urinating. Also, holding in urine and not emptying your bladder completely can increase your risk of UTIs.

You should wipe from front to back to prevent bacteria around the anus from entering the vagina or urethra.

When should I be concerned?

If you have symptoms of a UTI and are being treated without improvement in your symptoms or you have symptoms of a UTI accompanied by nausea and vomiting, then you should seek medical attention. If you ever see blood in your urine, you should contact your doctor immediately.

What if I am pregnant?

If you are pregnant and have symptoms of a UTI, then you should contact your doctor immediately. UTIs during pregnancy can put both mother and baby at risk if not addressed quickly and properly.

If UTIs are recurring, can I get over them?

If you are having recurrent UTIs (three or more per year), then you should see your doctor for possible further testing like a urinalysis. You may also need an ultrasound or CT scan to look for any abnormalities of the urinary tract. If you continue to have UTIs, you may benefit from a longer course of low-dose antibiotics or by taking an antibiotic after sexual intercourse. There are also methods of self-testing that your urologist may help coordinate with you to institute both diagnosis and treatment of UTIs at home.

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Information provided by the American Urological Association.