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Recurrent Urinary tract infections

A urinary tract infection happens to be an infection that involves the ureters, bladder, kidneys and urethra. These structures are what the urine passes through before it is eliminated from your body. There is currently no real definition for recurrent urinary tract infections but it is currently known as two proven episodes in about a 6 month span or about 3 episodes in a year. The infection is more common with girls as 1 out of 3 women, on average, will have the infection while it is 1 in 20 for men. A UTI is actually fairly uncommon with young boys and quite rare for men in between the ages of 20-50.
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Urinary tract infections - More Common n Women

What Are The Risk Factors?

There have been studies that show diabetes as a predisposing factor for recurrent UTI. However, there are several other risk factors that you should be aware of.

Women Risk Factors

Sexual intercourse is actually a risk factor when it comes to women and UTIs. Atrophic urethritis and vaginitis are risk factors that women should be aware and this is also called postmenopausal. Incomplete bladder emptying is also a factor that you should know when it comes to this infection. If you happen to have history of a UTI surgery, then you are certainly at risk for another episode.

Men Risk Factors

If there are abnormalities with the urinary tract function or incomplete bladder emptying as well. Just like with women, it is also a risk factor if you have had UTI surgery in the past. Anal intercourse will surely put you at risk for a UTI.

Children Risk Factors

If there is any condition that may lead to urinary stasis, then the child be at risk for a UTI. Poor urine flow would also be a factor while constipation and impaired immune function would be as well. Sexual abuse can contribute to a UTI and impaired renal function.

The Symptoms Of A Urinary Tract Infection

The common symptoms would have to be dysuria, urgency, nocturia, frequency, haematuria and suprapubic discomfort. These are all symptoms that you can tell right away and you should talk to your doctor right away. Some of the signs to look after would have to be tenderness in the suprapubic and cloudy or even bad smelling urine. The symptoms for the elderly would be fever, shock, anorexia, confusion and incontinence.

Primary Care

When you are trying to take care of a child with a UTI, then it is important that you get a clean catch urine sample from the child and this is easier for children that happen to be toilet-trained. You can consider getting an ultrasound for some children to get a visual on the anomalies.

What Causes Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections?

Urine is naturally sterile but the infection starts to grow when bacteria gets into the urine and then grows. The infection will often start where the urethra starts and then it moves towards the urinary tract. The main problem or culprit in about 90% of infections is caused by E. Coli or Escherichia coli. This is normally found near the anus or in the bowel.

The most common causes of a UTI would be sexual intercourse and poor hygiene. Urinating helps flush bacteria out of your urethra but if there is too much bacteria, then the urinating may not help as much. The bacteria will then go up the urethra and into the bladder where it will grow and then cause an infection. The infection can then get worse as the bacteria will move upwards via the ureters. If the bacteria reaches the kidney, it can cause sever problems like kidney infection.

Who Is Most At Risk For UTIs?

People who have conditions that will block the urinary tract will be more at risk and this includes kidney stones as well. Also people who have medical conditions that cause incomplete urination are at risk for a UTI. Other people that might be at risk would be those that have suppressed immune systems and this can mean those with diabetes or AIDS. Those who are going through chemotherapy are also at high risk of an infection because they are taking immunosuppressant medications.

Women who are very sexually active are at risk for a UTI and this largely due to the fact that there is a lot of bacteria that will be entering the bladder. However, urinating after intercourse is a good way to help decrease the chances of getting a UTI. Some studies have shown that breastfeeding can help decrease the risk of of getting a UTI.

Men who happen to have enlarged prostates can be at risk for a UTI because it will lead to incomplete urination and this is mainly seen in older men.
Males are less likely to develop a UTI because their urethras are longer and there is also a drier environment where the man's urethra is.

Special Groups That Are At Risk

- Infants

Very young infants are at high risk because of the amount of bacteria that enters their urinary tract through other parts of their body.

- Young Children

Little children will have a tough time with wiping themselves and making sure that they are clean after a bowel movement. Good hygiene is surely a big factor when it comes to recurrent urinary tract infections.

- Hospitalized Patients

Hospitalized patients or even nursing home residents are at high risk of getting a UTI. Since these patients are catheterized for a long period, they are more vulnerable to infections in the urinary tract.

A urinary tract infection is something that can truly be avoided but it really is all about knowing more about the infection and understanding what causes it. The problem that most people have is that they are just not knowledgeable about UTIs and what the real symptoms are. There are also a lot of risk factors and symptoms that you should keep in mind. This is a basic information about urinary tract infections but it will help you understand more about the infection and how you can avoid it. Understand that it is a good idea to always consult your doctor once you start to feel or see the symptoms.

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