One of the most common afflictions affecting most women and many men are urinary tract infections. UTIs are eight times more common in women than men. Initial symptoms typically include burning at the time of urination, frequent and intense urge to urinate, with discoloration of the urine ranging from cloudy to even bloody.
A bacteria, E. Coli, is responsible for 75% to 90% cases of acute uncomplicated cystitis. UTIs can also be caused by sexually transmitted disease (STD) such as Chlamydia and Mycoplasma. Other possibilities of painful urination include pelvic inflammatory disease, radiation cystitis, and hemorrhagic cystitis.
Your doctor can make a presumptive UTI diagnosis in symptomatic women if there is either burning with urination and frequency without vaginal symptoms. The diagnosis can be confirmed with urinalysis showing positive nitrite or positive leukocyte esterase. The ultimate diagnosis is based on urine culture which grows out the bacteria and tells the doctor the best drug or antibiotic for treating the infection.
Uncomplicated cystitis does not cause fever. If a patient has a fever the UTI may have spread to the kidneys. A bacterial infection of the kidney is referred to as pyelonephritis and the symptoms often include pain in the back or side below the ribs, nausea and vomiting.
Urinary tract infections in men are often the result of an obstruction or blockage of the urinary tract — for example, a urinary stone or enlarged prostate — or from a catheter used during a medical procedure.
Optimal empiric therapy for nonpregnant women with uncomplicated UTI is with trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (TMP-SMZ, Bactrim, Septra) 160 mg/800 mg orally b.i.d. for three days. Other antibiotic options include ciprofloxacin (Cipro), levofloxacin Levaquin), or nitrofurantoin (Macrodantin).
Cranbeery juice and supplements are thought to be a good alternative preventive treatment for recurrent UTIs. Rich in vitamins C and E, antioxidants and anthocyanins, cranberry may help prevent E. coli from attaching to the bladder wall as well as bladder stone formation, and provide symptom relief for cystitis.
Bottom Line: UTIs are common in both men and women and can be easily diagnosed with a history, physical exam, and examinatioin of the urine. Treatment is effective with antibiotics. If it burns when you urine, call your doctor.