Urinary Tract Infection
Urinary tract infections (UTI), also known as bladder infections or “cystitis,” are quite common and affect most women at least once in their lifetime. A UTI is an infection in the urinary tract which may involve the bladder, urethra and/or kidneys. Symptoms can include urinary urgency, frequency, burning with urination, tenderness in lower abdomen or lower back and sometimes blood in the urine. Although UTIs can occur in males, they occur much more frequently in women for a variety of reasons. The urethra in females is significantly shorter in length and allows bacteria to enter the bladder more readily than in males. Decrease in estrogen in the genital area, as commonly seen in menopausal women, also contributes to and increases in risk of urinary tract infections.
Typically before treatment, a sample of urine needs to be obtained and tested to evaluate for a UTI. If positive, a short course of antibiotics will usually treat the infection and resolve the symptoms. Occasionally, the bacteria causing the infection are resistant to the originally-prescribed antibiotic. In this case, the results of the urine culture become even more important. There are instances wherein some people develop recurrent or repeat infections that warrant a more thorough evaluation, treatment and ultimately development of a management strategy to minimize the risks of re-developing the recurrent UTIs.