Causes Of Recurrent Utis
Women are far more likely to develop UTIs than men because of the shorter distance between their rectum and urethra. And unfortunately, some women are more prone to developing UTIs than others.
Having a close family history of UTIs, like your sister or mother, also increases your risk as do other factors, including:
- Using some forms of birth control
- Having health issues that make you more susceptible to infection
- Taking certain medications
- Not urinating after intercourse or engaging in sexual activity
Women who dont wipe from front to back after using the restroom or who use vaginal douches, scented feminine washes, or scented tampons and pads are also at higher risk of getting recurrent UTIs.
What Is The Long
Urinary tract infections are uncomfortable and painful. Most chronic UTIs will resolve with a prolonged course of antibiotics, but monitoring for further symptoms is important since the chronic UTIs usually recur. People with UTIs should monitor their bodies and seek immediate treatment with the onset of a new infection. Early treatment of infection decreases your risk for more serious, long-term complications.
If youre susceptible to recurring UTIs, make sure to:
- urinate as often as needed
- wipe front to back after urinating
What Is A Uti
Before we talk about recurrent UTIs, lets talk about UTIs in general.
A UTI is an infection in any part of your urinary tract, the Mayo Clinic explains. The infection usually starts when bacteria normally found in your bowels get into the urethra, where pee exits from. Instead of urine flushing out the bacteria or your immune system fending it off like its supposed to, the bacteria begin to colonize the urinary tract, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases . Most UTIs stay in the urethra and bladder , per the Mayo Clinic.
Sometimes a UTI keeps coming back, which is called a recurrent UTI or a chronic UTI. Most people would say a true recurrent UTI is either two within six months or three within a year, Sandip Vasavada, M.D., urologic director of the Center for Female Urology and Reconstructive Pelvic Surgery at the Cleveland Clinic within the Glickman Urological Institute, tells SELF.
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What Type Of Tests Will I Need To Have
Your healthcare provider will usually be able to tell whats causing your pain by your description of your symptoms, along with a physical exam. Testing your urine can also help your healthcare provider identify what type of infection you have. Usually, a sample of your urine is taken in your healthcare providers office and sent to a lab to check for infection.
Will A Uti Go Away On Its Own
“A very mild UTI might resolve on its own in a few days, but more often than not a short course of antibiotics is needed to treat a UTI,” says Dr. Kannady. “After initiation of antibiotics, UTI symptoms usually begin to resolve as early as the next day.”
In the meantime, drinking plenty of fluids may help flush out the infection-causing bacteria and over-the-counter medications can help ease discomfort and pain.
But don’t put too much stock in common UTI home remedies. For instance, drinking cranberry juice hasn’t been shown to help relieve a UTI .
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Chronic Urinary Tract Infection
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What is a chronic urinary tract infection?
Chronic urinary tract infections are infections of the urinary tract that either dont respond to treatment or keep recurring. They may either continue to affect your urinary tract despite getting the right treatment, or they may recur after treatment.
Your urinary tract is the pathway that makes up your urinary system. It includes the following:
- Your kidneys filter your blood and generate body waste in the form of urine.
- Your ureters are tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder.
- Your bladder collects and stores urine.
- Your urethra is the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside of your body.
A UTI can affect any part of your urinary system. When an infection only affects your bladder, its usually a minor illness that can be easily treated. However, if it spreads to your kidneys, you may suffer from serious health consequences, and may even need to be hospitalized.
Although UTIs can happen to anyone at any age, theyre more prevalent in women. In fact, the
When Should I Call The Doctor
As soon as you think that your child has a UTI, call your doctor. The doctor may recommend another urine test after treatment to be sure that the infection has cleared.
If your child has from recurrent UTIs, consult a pediatric urologist, who can do a thorough evaluation and order tests for urinary system abnormalities. In the meantime, follow your doctor’s instructions for treating a UTI.
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Usually A Man With Uti Faces The Following Common Symptoms:
- Pain and burning sensation while passing urine
- Sudden and frequent urges to pass the urine
- Dark brown urine due to the presence of blood
If the urinary infection becomes severe and reaches the kidneys or to the prostate gland, the person can face the below-mentioned symptoms as well.
- Constant fatigue
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How Biofilms Can Cause Your Uti Symptoms To Come And Go
Lets compare the science of biofilms with the symptoms a sufferer of a chronic urinary tract infection may experience, using E.coli as an example pathogen:
|Stage One||THE SCIENCE:|
|New biofilm attachments may begin to form Free-floating bacteria are flushed from bladder Without appropriate treatment, the process repeatsHOW IT FEELS: A cycle of recurrent UTI as the biofilm fluxes over time|
We should also note here that biofilms can be fungal as well as bacterial, and there may be more than one pathogen present in the bladder at any given time. In fact, biofilms can be complex and diverse communities of multiple pathogens.
|These organisms like to live in communities. Biofilms are like apartment buildings, and the longer that you’ve had this chronic infection, the more likely it is that you have more and more residents that have come to join the party. And they like to support one another, they live synergistically. It’s sort of like a ball of yarn. You have to start pulling somewhere if we’re ever going to unravel this big, knotted up mess.|
For the sake of simplicity, and because bacterial infections of the urinary tract are much more common than fungal, well stick to bacteria for our examples. But keep in mind, what causes a chronic urinary tract infection in one person is very likely different from the next person.
Fascinated? A UK research team has put together a more in depth look at how biofilms and IBCs form for you to view.
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What Can Happen If A Uti Is Not Treated
If treated right away, a UTI is not likely to damage your urinary tract. But if your UTI is not treated, the infection can spread to the kidneys and other parts of your body. The most common symptoms of kidney infection are fever and pain in the back where the kidneys are located. Antibiotics can also treat kidney infections.
Sometimes the infection can get in the bloodstream. This is rare but life-threatening.
Enhancing Healthcare Team Outcomes
Recurrent UTIs often have a typical presentation of dysuria, urinary frequency or urgency, and suprapubic pain with/without fever, chills, flank pain, costovertebral angle tenderness, and nausea/vomiting. The diagnosis is often not in question. But, according to the literature, there exists a gap in the perception of the symptom severity between the clinician and the patient, which may be attributed to misinformation, misconceptions, or miscommunication.
The American Urological Association Guidelines are evidence-based guidelines for recurrent UTIs reviewed by an interprofessional expert committee. The current guidelines, published in 2019, have been developed after an exhaustive review of current medical literature from peer-reviewed journals. The only non-antibiotic-based therapies for recurrent UTIs currently recommended by the AUA Guidelines are cranberry prophylaxis and vaginal estrogen.
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Classification Of Urinary Tract Infections
UTIs are classified into 6 categories. The first category is an uncomplicated infection this is when the urinary tract is normal, both structurally and physiologically, and there is no associated disorder that impairs the host defense mechanisms. The second category is an complicated infection this is when infection occurs within an abnormal urinary tract, such as when there is ureteric obstruction, renal calculi, or vesicoureteric reflux. The third category, an isolated infection, is when it is the first episode of UTI, or the episodes are 6 months apart. Isolated infections affect 2540% of young females. The fourth category, an unresolved infection, is when therapy fails because of bacterial resistance or due to infection by two different bacteria with equally limited susceptibilities. The fifth category, reinfection, occurs where there has been no growth after a treated infection, but then the same organism regrows two weeks after therapy, or when a different microorganism grows during any period of time.9,10 This accounts for 95% of RUTIs in women. Bacterial persistence happens when therapy is impaired by the accumulation of bacteria in a location that cannot be reached by antibiotics, such as infected stones, urethral diverticula and infected paraurethral glands. The sixth category, relapse, is when the same microorganism causes a UTI within two weeks of therapy however, it is usually difficult to distinguish a reinfection from a relapse.11
Recurrent Utis: Why Do I Get Urinary Tract Infections So Often
The struggle and pain are real. Any woman or man who has suffered from a urinary tract infection knows its true. UTIs are annoying, painful, and they disrupt the flow of an individuals everyday activities. In their worst stages, having reached the kidneys, they may even become debilitating. Having experienced one is enough. No one wants to go through that condition again. However, many will, especially women.
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How Can Parents Help
At home, these things can help prevent recurrent UTIs in kids:
Drinking Fluids Encourage kids to drink 810 glasses of water and other fluids each day. Cranberry juice and cranberry extract are often suggested because they may prevent E. coli from attaching to the walls of the bladder. Always ask your doctor, though, if your child should drink cranberry juice or cranberry extract, because they can affect some medicines.
Good Bathroom Habits Peeing often and preventing constipation can help to prevent recurrent infections.
No Bubble Baths Kids should avoid bubble baths and perfumed soaps because they can irritate the urethra.
Frequent Diaper Changes Kids in diapers should be changed often. If poop stays in the genital area for a long time, it can lead to bacteria moving up the urethra and into the bladder.
Proper Wiping Girls should wipe from front to back after using the toilet to reduce exposure of the urethra to UTI-causing bacteria in poop.
Cotton Underwear Breathable cotton underwear is less likely to encourage bacterial growth near the urethra than nylon or other fabrics.
Regular Bathroom Visits Some kids may not like to use the school bathroom or may become so engrossed in a project that they delay peeing. Kids with UTIs should pee at least every 3 to 4 hours to help flush bacteria from the urinary tract.
Is Interstitial Cystitis Linked To Frequent Utis
We mentioned a study above, that found that 74% of survey respondents diagnosed with Interstitial Cystitis, had previously been diagnosed with recurrent UTI.
Research has also shown that a high percentage of females with Interstitial Cystitis may in fact have biofilms, IBCs, or both within their bladder, and that this is the cause of their ongoing infection and recurrent or continuous symptoms.
Interstitial Cystitis and associated conditions are considered to be incurable, however
Interstitial Cystitis is a diagnosis of exclusion. This means IC is diagnosed in the absence of any other obvious cause. If a cause for your UTI symptoms is not identified by testing, a diagnosis of IC may be given.
Check out our expert video series to learn more about the chronic UTI and IC connection.
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Can Urinary Tract Infections Be Prevented
These steps may help reduce the chance of getting UTIs:
- Drink plenty of water every day.
- Drink cranberry juice. Large amounts of vitamin C limit the growth of some bacteria by acidifying the urine. Vitamin C supplements have the same effect.
- Urinate when you feel the need. Do not wait.
- Take showers instead of tub baths.
- Clean the genital area before and after sex, and urinate shortly after sex.
- Women should not use feminine hygiene sprays or scented douches.
- Cotton underwear and loose fitting clothes help keep the area around the urethra dry. Tight clothes and nylon underwear trap moisture. This can help bacteria grow.
- Repeated bouts of urinary tract infections can be treated with small doses of regular antibiotics.
Please consult your health care provider with any questions or concerns you may have about UTIs.
How Can I Prevent Chronic Urinary Tract Infections
- Keep your genital area clean
- Wipe from front to back after a bowel movement
- Drink plenty of fluids, particularly water, to flush bacteria out of your urinary system
- Urinate immediately after intercourse to help eliminate any bacteria
- Use forms of birth control other than a diaphragm and spermicides
- Avoid douches, powder and deodorant sprays
- Wear un-dyed, full cotton underwear
Other prevention measures being studied include drinking cranberry juice and, for women past menopause, the use of estrogen cream or pills.
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Why Do Utis Return Despite Treatment
There are about a half-dozen oral antibiotics that treat UTIs. Sometimes a doctor will prescribe one drug, then switch to another after a urine culture identifies which bacteria is at work. Adjusting the medication can take time, and recurrent infections may occur in the meantime.
Sometimes a person starts to feel better and decides to stops taking the antibiotic contrary to the doctors instructions and another infection soon follows. Its never a good idea to stop taking antibiotics before your dosage is complete.
But even people who take medication as the doctor prescribes may get recurrent infections, Dr. Vasavada says.
If youre a younger woman who is sexually active, your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic to take before and after sexual activity. For post-menopausal women, a vaginal estrogen cream may help reduce infections.
If infections persist, your doctor may test for other health problems in the kidney, bladder or other parts of the urinary system.
How Are Urinary Tract Infections Diagnosed
Your doctor will review your medical history and do a physical exam. Other tests may include:
- Urinalysis. Lab testing of urine is done to check for various cells and chemicals, such as red and white blood cells, germs , or a lot of protein.
If UTIs become a repeated problem, other tests may be used to see if the urinary tract is normal. These tests may include:
- Intravenous pyelogram . This is a series of X-rays of the kidney, ureters , and bladder. It uses a contrast dye injected into a vein. This can be used to find tumors, structural abnormalities, kidney stones, or blockages. It also checks blood flow in the kidneys.
- Cystoscopy. In this test, a thin, flexible tube and viewing device is put in through the urethra to examine the bladder and other parts of the urinary tract. Structural changes or blockages, such as tumors or stones can be found.
- Kidney and bladder ultrasound. This imaging test uses high-frequency sound waves to make images of the bladder and the kidneys on a computer screen. The test is used to determine the size and shape of the bladder and the kidneys, and check for a mass, kidney stone, cysts, or other blockages or abnormalities.
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When To See A Doctor About A Uti
As mentioned, antibiotics are typically needed to treat a UTI, so it’s important to seek prompt care if you notice the signs of one.
- Your symptoms are severe or getting worse
- Your symptoms don’t improve after a few days
- You’re getting recurrent UTIs
“Early and effective UTI treatment helps ensure that the infection is dealt with while it’s easiest to treat and before it progresses to the kidneys,” says Dr. Kannady. “Even a mild kidney infection can come with fairly debilitating symptoms, including fever, vomiting and intense pain. These infections also require a longer course of antibiotics.”
And the more serious the kidney infection, the greater the risk of complications. They can range from hospitalization to even permanent kidney damage or a life-threatening bloodstream infection in some cases.
In men, UTIs also can spread to the prostate and cause prostatitis which also often requires a longer course of antibiotics to treat.
“By initiating antibiotics as soon as a UTI is identified, we can greatly reduce the risk of these more complex and serious outcomes,” says Dr. Kannady.
Lastly, if your UTI symptoms don’t improve after taking antibiotics for a few days, be sure to follow up with your doctor.
Confusion Alone Does Not Signal A Urinary Tract Infection
When an older adult becomes confused, many people both medical and non-medical assume that a UTI is responsible.
But aging increases the incidence of confusion and delirium, especially among those who are cognitively impaired, depressed, malnourished or completely dependent.
Delirium can be caused by various factors, the most common one being dehydration, notes Dr. Lathia.
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