Urinary Tract Infections 

A urinary tract infection (UTI) can affect the urethra (urethritis), kidneys (pyelonephritis) or bladder (cystitis). This condition is extremely common among females, with approximately 20% of women experiencing at least one UTI in their lifetime, but it can also occur in men. Nearly 10 million doctor visits every year are related to urinary tract infections.  

Causes of Urinary Tract Infections 

Urinary tract infections can develop when bacteria enter the urethra or bladder, resulting in inflammation and infection. Most urological infections are confined to the urethra or bladder, though bacteria can travel up the ureters and infect the kidneys. They are most often caused by E. coli bacteria.  

Some of the risk factors that can increase the likelihood of urinary tract infections include: 

  • Frequent sexual intercourse 
  • Poor personal hygiene 
  • Diabetes 
  • Bowel incontinence 
  • Kidney stones 
  • Some forms of contraception with spermicide 
  • Pregnancy 
  • Menopause 

Symptoms of Urinary Tract Infections 

The most common symptoms of urinary tract infections are pain in the abdomen or pelvic area, painful urination and a frequent need to urinate.  

Other potential symptoms include: 

  • Pain during sexual intercourse 
  • Fatigue 
  • Fever 

Diagnosing Urinary Tract Infections 

If a patient is showing symptoms of a urinary tract infection, a physician will likely recommend a urinalysis to look for bacteria or red or white blood cells in the urine. The doctor may also suggest a urine culture to determine the type of bacteria that is present.  

For patients who repeatedly suffer from urological infections, an ultrasound, a cystoscopy or a CT scan may be needed to look for disease or injury.   

Treatments for Urinary Tract Infections 

The most common treatment for urinary tract infections is antibiotics, and it’s important that the patient takes all of the medication to help ensure that the infection won’t return. Patients with a history of frequent UTIs may benefit from a prescription for an antibiotic that they can take at the onset of symptoms. 

The medical experts at Tampa General Hospital diagnose and treats a wide array of urological conditions, including urinary tract infections.