Urinary Tract Infection

A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection in any part of your urinary system — your kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. Most infections involve the lower urinary tract — the bladder and the urethra. Women are at greater risk of developing a UTI than are men. Infection limited to your bladder can be painful and annoying. However, serious consequences can occur if a UTI spreads to your kidneys.

What causes a UTI?

Urinary tract infections typically occur when bacteria enter the urinary tract through the urethra and begin to multiply in the bladder. Although the urinary system is designed to keep out such microscopic invaders, these defenses sometimes fail. When that happens, bacteria may take hold and grow into a full-blown infection in the urinary tract. The most common UTIs occur mainly in women and affect the bladder and urethra.

Infection of the bladder (cystitis) – This type of UTI is usually caused by Escherichia coli (E. coli), a type of bacteria commonly found in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. However, sometimes other bacteria are responsible. Sexual intercourse may lead to cystitis, but you don’t have to be sexually active to develop it. All women are at risk of cystitis because of their anatomy — specifically, the short distance from the urethra to the anus and the urethral opening to the bladder.

Infection of the urethra (urethritis) – This type of UTI can occur when GI bacteria spread from the anus to the urethra. Also, because the female urethra is close to the vagina, sexually transmitted infections, such as herpes, gonorrhea, chlamydia, and mycoplasma, can cause urethritis.

In their early stages, UTIs present very few apparent symptoms. As the bacteria multiply and the infection spreads, telltale signs include:

  • A strong urge to urinate
  • A burning sensation while urinating
  • Cloudy urine
  • Urine that’s red, bright pink, or brown
  • Foul-smelling urine
  • A near-constant urge to urinate

UTIs in women can also cause pelvic pain, especially in the center of the lower abdomen, near the public bone.

Diagnosis of urinary tract infections?

At SouthWest Urology, the team offers several advanced diagnostic capabilities including:

High-resolution ultrasonography – If you regularly experience UTIs, our specialists might recommend high-resolution ultrasonography. This type of diagnostic imaging uses soundwaves to create 3D pictures of the inside of your body. It’s particularly effective at pinpointing abnormalities in the urinary tract and, in turn, UTIs.

Flexible cystoscopy – Cystoscopy is another diagnostic treatment that involves your provider using a long, thin, flexible tube with a lens at the end to look inside your urethra and bladder. The lens sends images back to a monitor in the exam room, allowing your provider to pinpoint the source of your discomfort.

Rapid onsite polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing – Rapid PCR testing is quicker and much more accurate than traditional urinalysis. As a result, it’s capable of detecting more fastidious bacteria, a microorganism that regularly triggers UTIs. This type of testing can also alert you to more serious urologic problems such as chronic kidney disease.

Antibiotic sensitivity testing – If your Comprehensive Urology provider determines that you have a UTI, they might recommend an antibiotic genetic test. This screening measure helps your doctor assess the best course of antibiotic therapy for your individual needs.

    Treatment of urinary tract infections?

    Most urinary tract infections respond well to prescription antibiotics. Depending on the severity of your infection and your health history, your provider might recommend trimethoprim, nitrofurantoin, ceftriaxone, or cephalexin. If you have recurrent UTIs, benefit from several rounds of low-dose antibiotics or for women, vaginal estrogen therapy.

    Why Choose Us?

    • Twelve highly trained, collaborative urological specialists all taking new patients
    • Four locations across the northern Ohio region
    • Consultation appointments scheduled within 5-7 days of referral
    • One-stop office for a wide range of urological conditions for both males and females
    • In-office lab testing and imaging
    • In-office medication dispensary
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