Posts Tagged ‘urinary tract infections’

Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) In Men

September 28, 2016

UTIs are just a problem for young women.  Although UTIs are more common in young women, men, too, are not immune to infections of the urinary tract.  One of the most common infections in middle age and older men are urinary tract infections.

Older men (such as, men 70 years and older) are at somewhat higher risk for UTIs because of problems going to the bathroom and/or emptying the bladder. Older post-menopausal women are also at a greater risk for UTIs due to lower amounts of vaginal estrogen, which can change the vaginal climate. The normal flora, ‘good bacteria,’ are looked at as ‘good’ because they kill off other types of bacteria that can cause UTIs. Good bacteria can only grow in slightly acidic vaginal climates and this needs some estrogen. Systemic estrogen replacement options like pills and skin patches do not help with this problem, but vaginal estrogen therapy can be helpful for certain individuals. Talk to your doctor to see if this is a choice for you.

Often, older adults can help stop UTIs by staying hydrated, using the bathroom and getting routine health exams to screen for health problems like high blood sugar that puts you at higher risk for getting a UTI. If you or a loved one wears adult diapers, it’s very important to keep the genital area clean and to change them often.

Other Groups at High-Risk for UTIs

People with high blood sugar and vesicoureteral reflux are at higher risk of getting a UTI. Vesicoureteral reflux is when urine goes backwards from the bladder toward the kidney. Over time, this reflux of infected urine may raise a person’s risk for kidney damage. Vesicoureteral reflux is usually seen in children with UTIs compared to adults. Additionally, some patients with kidney stones and indwelling catheters may also be a higher risk for getting a UTI. An indwelling catheter is a hollow tube that is placed into the bladder through the urethra and left inside your body. The catheter drains urine from your bladder into a bag outside of your body. A catheter-associated UTI happens when bacteria enter the urinary tract through the catheter and cause an infection.

How UTIs are Diagnosed

In most cases, if you think you have a UTI, you should visit a health care provider and give a urine sample for testing. A urinalysis is a test that looks for white blood cells, red blood cells, bacteria, and or other chemicals such as nitrites in your urine. A proper urinalysis can pinpoint an infection and a urine culture can help your health care provider choose the best antibiotic for treatment. It is vital to get a urinalysis and culture performed to make sure you have an infection and require care. Use of antibiotics when not needed, can be tricky, and can lead to greater rates of bacterial antibiotic resistance.

It should be noted that some individuals get a urinalysis result that shows bacteria, but the individuals are not having any symptoms of a UTI. This event is common in older adults. If the individual has bacteria in their urine, but has no symptoms, treatment is not right. Treatment should be given to individuals who have bacteria and associated UTI symptoms.

In closing, it should be noted that studies on cranberry juice and linked supplements are mixed. Some studies show that cranberry supplements can be helpful and other studies show that they don’t help stop UTIs before they happen. Be sure to read about the pros and cons of cranberry products, and decide if they’re right for you. For now, practice these tips to lower your risk of getting a UTI.

Tips for Preventing UTIs

  1. Drink plenty of water.
  2. Urinate often.
  3. Don’t hold it.
  4. Keep your genital area clean.
  5. Empty your bladder before and after sex

 

Bottom Line:  UTIs are common in men and women.  Men after age 70 are at a risk for UTIs.  The symptoms are burning on urination, frequency of urination, passing cloudy urine, and even blood in the urine.  The diagnosis is easily made with a physical examination, a urine exam, and occasionally other imaging studies.  Treatment with antibiotics is usually effective.

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Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) in Women

September 4, 2016

Perhaps one of the most common infections in all women and young girls are UTIs.  Nearly 50% of all women will experience a UTI during their lifetime.

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are very common in the U.S. In fact, UTIs are the second most common type of infection in the body and are the reason for more than 8 million visits to the doctor each year. About 50% of all women will develop at UTI during their lifetime.

Most UTIs involve the bladder (cystitis) are not serious, but some can lead to serious problems like kidney infections. The most common care or treatment for a UTI is antibiotics. Signs of a UTI involve pain or burning when you pass urine, urine that looks cloudy or smells bad, pressure in your lower abdomen, and an urge to go to the bathroom often. You can get a UTI at any age, but there are peak times in life when they are more common.

Many women report UTIs following sexual activity. Another peak time for UTIs in women is after menopause. This is because of lower vaginal estrogen levels. Lower estrogen levels make it easier for bacteria to grow. A woman’s urethra or the tube from the bladder to the outside of the body is very short, about two inches in length compared to man’s urethra which is 8-10 inches long. This short length makes it easy for bacteria to enter a woman’s bladder. The opening of a woman’s urethra is near the rectum and vagina which happen to be two common places where bacteria dwell.

Prevention of UTIs in women may be as simple as instructing women to wipe from front to back following urination and bowel movements. This helps cut the chance of spreading bacteria from the anus to the urethra.

For women who notice more UTIs after sexual activity, I will often recommend that women take a low dose antibiotic shortly before or right after sexual activity.

Bottom Line: UTIs are common in women.  Most of these infections are not serious and can be treated with a short course of antibiotics.  For women with chronic or repeated infections, low dose antibiotics may be helpful.

Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)– A Primer

May 25, 2015

Urinary tract infections are one of mankind and womankind’s most common maladies. Most of these infections are a source of irritation and bother but if left untreated can cause significant kidney damage. This blog will discuss this common condition and what can be done to prevent and treat common UTIs

A UTI is when bacteria gets into your urine and travels up to your bladder. UTIs cause more than 8.1 million visits to health care providers each year. About 40% of women and 12% of men will have symptoms of at least one UTI during their lifetime.

The urinary tract makes and stores urine, one of the waste products of your body. Urine is made in the kidneys and travels down the ureters to the bladder. The bladder stores the urine until it is emptied through the urethra, a tube that connects the bladder to the skin, when you urinate. The opening of the urethra is at the end of the penis in a male and in front of the vagina in a female.
The kidneys are a pair of fist-sized organs in the back that filter liquid waste from the blood and remove it from the body in the form of urine. Kidneys balance the levels of many chemicals in the body (sodium, potassium, calcium, phosphorous and others) and check the blood’s acidity. Certain hormones are also made in the kidneys. These hormones help control blood pressure, boost red blood cell production and help make strong bones. The ureters are two tubes that carry the urine down to the bladder.

Normal urine has no bacteria in it, and the one-way flow helps prevent infections. Still, bacteria may get into the urine from the urethra and travel up into the bladder.

Signs of UTI
When you have a UTI, the lining of the bladder and urethra become red and irritated just as your throat does when you have a cold. The irritation can cause pain in your belly and pelvic area and may make you feel like urinating more often. You may even try to urinate but only get a few drops and/or feel some burning as your urine comes out. At times, you may lose control and wet yourself. You may also find that your urine smells bad or is cloudy.
Kidney infections often cause fevers and back pain. These infections need to be treated at once because a kidney infection can quickly spread into the bloodstream and cause a life-threatening health issue.

Causes of UTI
Large numbers of bacteria live in the rectal area and also on your skin. Bacteria may get into the urine from the urethra and travel into the bladder. They may even travel up to the kidney. But no matter how far it goes, bacteria in the urinary tract can cause problems.
Just as some people are more prone to colds, some people are more prone to UTIs. Men are less likely to get a UTI.
Some factors that can add to your chances of getting a UTI are:
Body Factors
Women who have gone through menopause have a change in the lining of the vagina and lose the protection of estrogen that lowers the chance of getting a UTI. Some women are genetically predisposed to UTIs and have urinary tracts that make it easier for bacteria to cling to them. Sexual intercourse can also affect how often you get UTIs.
Birth Control
Women who use diaphragms have also been found to have a higher risk when compared to those who use other forms of birth control. Using condoms with spermicidal foam is also known to be linked to greater risk getting of UTIs in women. Women are more prone to UTIs because they have shorter urethras than men so bacteria have a shorter distance to travel to reach the bladder.
Abnormal Anatomy
You are more likely to get a UTI if your urinary tract has an abnormality or has recently had a device (such as a tube to drain fluid from the body) placed in it. If you are not able to urinate normally because of some type of block, you will also have a higher chance of a UTI.
Anatomical abnormalities in the urinary tract may also lead to UTIs. These abnormalities are often found in children at an early age but can still be found in adults. There may be structural abnormalities, such as outpouchings called diverticula, that harbor bacteria in the bladder or urethra or even blockages, such as an enlarged bladder, that keep the body from draining all the urine from the bladder.
Immune System
Issues such as diabetes (high blood sugar) also put people at higher risk for UTIs because the body is not able to fight off germs as well.
Can UTIs be Prevented?
There are steps women can take to avoid UTIs:
1 Urinating after sex may lower the risk of UTI by flushing out bacteria that may have gotten into the urinary tract during intercourse.
2 Certain forms of birth control, such as spermicidal foam and diaphragms, are known to increase the risk of UTIs in women. Check with your health care provider about other types of birth control.
3 Drink plenty of fluids to keep well hydrated.
4 Don’t put off urinating when you need to and don’t rush to finish. Holding in urine and not draining your bladder fully can increase your risk of UTIs.
Wipe from front to back to keep bacteria around the anus from getting into the vagina or urethra.

Bottom Line: UTIs are a common condition that affects millions of men and women. this blog will hopefully provide you suggestions for preventing UTIs. For more informatiion call your doctor.

Using Hormone Therapy To Reduce Recurrent UTIs in Women

April 13, 2015

Women often experience recurrent UTIs after menopause. The cause is often a result of reduced estrogen levels that is so common after menopause. This blog will discuss the use of topical estrogens to reduce the frequency to recurrent urinary tract infections.

Topical hormone replacement therapy (HRT) was associated with a lower incidence of urinary tract infections (UTIs) compared with both oral HRT or even no HRT.

UTIs are a frequent problem among postmenopausal women necessitating antimicrobial use, and resistance is increasing. Every year, 8–10% of postmenopausal women have 1 episode of a urinary tract infection; of these, 5% will have a recurrence in the next year.

Studies have demonstrated use of oral estrogens does not reduce the incidence of UTIs, but topical HRT reduced the number of UTIs in two small studies.

To determine whether a difference existed in incidence of UTIs in women 60–75 years of age, a study compared the number of UTIs per patient per year over 1 year in 3 groups of postmenopausal women: topical HRT, systemic HRT, and control (n=75 per group).
Women aged 60–75 years with a history of UTI (n=448) were identified from retrospective charts (2011–2013). Patients were excluded if they were taking antibiotics for UTI prophylaxis, treated with antibiotics for reasons other than UTI for 2 or more weeks, were on both topical and systemic HRT, or on chronic methenamine hippurate.
The number of UTIs per patient per year was significantly different among the 3 groups. There was a significant difference between topical HRT and systemic HRT, and topical HRT and control, but not systemic HRT and control. The control group had an average of 1.24 UTIs per patient per year, compared with 1.01 in the systemic group and 0.65 in the women who used topical estrogen replacement.

Bottom Line: Topical estrogens may be beneficial when other preferred agents cannot be utilized.

Probiotics and Urinary Tract Infections

August 16, 2014

Bacteria have a reputation for causing disease, so the idea of tossing down a few billion a day for your health might seem — literally and figuratively — hard to swallow. But a growing body of scientific evidence suggests that you can treat and even prevent some illnesses with foods and supplements containing certain kinds of live bacteria. Northern Europeans consume a lot of these beneficial microorganisms, called probiotics (from pro and biota, meaning “for life”), because of their tradition of eating foods fermented with bacteria, such as yogurt.

Enthusiasm for such foods has lagged in the United States, but interest in probiotic supplements is on the rise. Since the mid-1990s, clinical studies have established that probiotic therapy can help treat and prevent vaginal and urinary infections in women.

Probiotics may also be of use in maintaining health of the urinary tract. Like the intestinal tract, the vagina is a finely balanced ecosystem. The dominant Lactobacilli strains normally make it too acidic for harmful microorganisms to survive. But the system can be thrown out of balance by a number of factors, including antibiotics, spermicides, and birth control pills. Probiotic treatment that restores the balance of microflora may be helpful for such common female urogenital problems as bacterial vaginosis, yeast infection, and urinary tract infection.

Oral administration of Lactobacilli may help in the treatment of bacterial vaginosis, although there isn’t enough evidence yet to recommend it over conventional approaches. Probiotic treatment of urinary tract infections is under study.

Health benefits are strain-specific, and not all strains are necessarily useful, so you may want to consult a practitioner familiar with probiotics to discuss your options. As always, let your primary care provider know what you’re doing.

Cranberry Juice for Bladder Infections: not just folklore

August 17, 2012

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Cranberry-containing products may be more than just a folk remedy for urinary tract infections (UTIs). A recent article from Archives of Internal Medicine concludes that cranberry-containing products offer women protection against UTIs, particularly those prone to recurrent infections.

Researchers studies over 1,600 men, women, and children of different populations including the elderly; the hospitalized; those with neuropathic bladder, spinal cord injuries, or multiple sclerosis; and pregnant women. Most of the trials (10) were conducted in North America; the remainder were conducted in Finland, Italy, and the United Kingdom.

Cranberry-containing products used in the studies took on different forms and dosages.  Cranberry juice contains P a substance that has the ability to inhibit Escherichia coli from adhering to the lining of the bladder and the urethra, the tube that transports urine from the bladder to the outside of the body. The studies looked at cranberry juice as well as capsules or tablets.

The authors of the review concluded that cranberry-containing products are most protective against UTIs in women with recurrent infections. They also may offer protection to women in general, including those who are pregnant, and to children and other populations, but heterogeneity across the trials made interpretation difficult.

Interestingly, the studies showed that the cranberry juice was more effective than capsules or tablets, but the investigators noted that could be because women who drink cranberry juice are better hydrated. They also found that dosing at least twice daily seems necessary to achieve benefit.

Bottom Line: If you have recurrent urinary tract infections, daily cranberry juice may just be the tonic you need to decrease these infections. 

Frequent Urinary Tract Infections? Pee Your Way to Fewer Infections!

August 16, 2011

UTIs (urinary tract infections) are one of the most common infections in women. Women with UTIs complain of frequency of urination, burning on urination, and getting up at night to urinate. These are the hallmark symptoms of UTIs. That’s the bad news. The good news that UTIs are one of the easiest to prevent. These infections usually occur as bacteria from the rectum migrate to the vagina and then enter the urethra or the tube that transports urine from the bladder to the outside of the body. This is why your doctor will advise you to wipe from the front of your vagina towards the rectum as this will decrease the bacteria that may enter your urethra.

If you are affected with recurrent UTIs, 3 or more per year, then you will want to drink lots of water to flush out your kidneys and bladder to help keep them clear of bacteria. Since bacteria can be massaged into the urethra from the vagina during sexual intimacy, it is important to urinate immediately after sex. Urination after intercourse washes out those unwanted bacteria that enter the urethra during intimacy.
Some women are able to control their frequency of infections by taking a low dose antibiotic such as Macrodantin or a half a tablet of Bactrim right after sexual intimacy. The use of antibiotics after sexual intimacy is especially helpful for those women who develop urinary symptoms shortly after engaging in sexual intimacy.

Bottom Line: UTIs affect millions of women. These infections impact a women’s quality of life. However, a few simple steps like urinating after sexual intimacy is an example of good vaginal hygiene that can reduce the frequency of those bothersome infections.

Blueberries Beat Back Urinary Tract Infections Plus Other Medical Benefits

June 19, 2011

Recent studies have shown that blueberries have compounds similar to those of cranberries and can also be used to treat and prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs). Epicatechin is a bioflavonoid (antioxidant) found both in cranberries and blueberries.

Epicatechin works to prevent bacteria from attaching to the lining of the bladder tissue. This causes the bacteria to be eliminated thru your urine rather than attaching to the bladder wall, where they start multiplying and ultimately causing infection.

Not just for urinary infections-Other benefits of blueberries

Antioxidants consist of a group of vitamins, minerals and enzymes that have health enhancing effects for our bodies. Antioxidants work to neutralize free radicals before they do harm to our bodies. Free radicals are atoms that cause damage to our cells. They harm our immune system leading to many degenerative diseases. Free radicals are formed by our cells being exposed to a variety of substances such as radiation, chemicals, pollution, smoke, drugs, alcohol, pesticides and sun and through various metabolic processes such as when our bodies utilize stored fat for energy. A poor diet also aids in the formation of free radicals.

Antioxidants work by donating an electron to free radicals to convert them to harmless molecules. This protects cells from oxidative damage that leads to aging and various diseases.

Besides tasting great and looking good, blueberries can also lower your cholesterol levels. This is due to the antioxidant compound found in blueberries called pterostilbene. Its effect is similar to a commercial medication, Ciprofibrate (sold under the name of “Modalim”) that is used to reduce “bad” or LDL cholesterol.

The simple conclusion is that blueberries lower cholesterol as effectively as drugs, but without the negative side effects.

Blueberries have been shown to have a positive effect on aging. Blueberries appear to reverse some aspects of brain aging. This has given the blueberry a nickname, the ‘brain berry’. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of blueberries build a protective coat around the brain to fight signs of aging and deterioration. There is also evidence that blueberries may help to prevent Alzheimer’s disease and other neurological disorders.

The anti-inflammatory properties of blueberries appear to prevent and relieve arthritic symptoms, while the nutrients in blueberries may help strengthen blood vessels, leading to healthier blood pressure levels and heart health. The manganese in blueberries supports strong bones and its vitamin C supports the immune system.

Bottom Line:  Blueberries have great medicinal value and can be a boon against the common urinary tract infections.  They also can lower your cholesterol levels and may be an anti-aging agent.

Pay attention to the color and smell of your urine

May 26, 2011
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by Neil Baum, MD

Most of us are uncomfortable talking about our waste products, urine and feces. However, changes in the color and odor may signify disease that can be treated or prevented. This article will review causes of discoloration of urine and when there is a change in the odor of urine.

For hundreds of years doctors have looked at urine as a barometer of what is happening in the body. The urine can tell what you have been eating, how much fluid you are consuming, and what diseases you may have. Early doctors even tasted the urine of their patients in order to diagnose their medical conditions. Fortunately, we have made progress and a simple urinalysis can make this determination in seconds.

Urine is an important part of the body’s regulation process. Its job is to remove the extra water and wastes that the kidneys filter out of the blood. The urine is there primarily to get rid of toxins or things that would otherwise build up in the body that would be bad for the body.

When you notice that your urine has changed color, or there’s a strange odor emanating from the toilet, the cause might be something as harmless as what you had for dinner such as asparagus. It also might be a sign of a more serious condition, such as an infection or cancer.

Color changes

Urine normally varies from pale yellow to deep amber, depending on the concentration of the urine, which is determined by the amount of fluid you consume. Darker urine is usually a sign that you’re not drinking enough water. Correction is as simple as consuming more liquids, especially water.

The opposite is also true. If your urine is very pale, it means that you’re either drinking a lot of fluid, or you’re taking a diuretic or water pill which is a drug that forces the body to eliminate excess water.

Urine can turn a rainbow of colors, and an unusual hue isn’t necessarily cause for alarm. Certain medications can turn the urine fluorescent green or blue, the carotene in carrots can tint it orange, and vitamins can give it a yellow hue. Pyridium, a medication, which is used to treat burning on urination, will turn the urine orange-red.

Seeing red is typically a sign that there is blood in the urine, but before you panic, know that a little blood can produce a dramatic color change. Just like a drop of food coloring will add color to a large volume of food or fluids, it only takes one drop of blood to turn an entire toilet bowl red.

Red urine is usually an ominous sign and can indicate an infection or maybe even cancer. Red blood is a real warning sign and should prompt you to see your doctor or urologist, a doctor who specializes in disease of the kidneys and bladder.

Odor changes

Urine normally doesn’t have a very strong smell. If your urine has a foul odor, you could have an infection or urinary stones, which can create an ammonia-like odor. Diabetics might notice that their urine smells sweet, because of excess sugar.

Some foods can also change urine odor. Asparagus is among the most notorious. What people are smelling when they eat asparagus is the breakdown of a sulfur compound called methyl mercaptan (the same compound found in garlic).

How often do you need to go?

How often you need to go can be as important an indicator of your health as the color or smell of your urine. Most people take bathroom breaks about six to eight times a day, but you might go more or less depending on how much fluid you drink. If you’re constantly feeling the urge to go and it’s not because you’re not drinking extra fluid, causes can include:

  • overactive bladder (when you gotta go, you gotta go!)
  • urinary tract infection
  • interstitial cystitis (painful urination without an infection)
  • prostate gland enlargement
  • diabetes

The opposite problem, not going to the bathroom enough, can occur when there is a blockage or infection. Or, it can be the result of bad bathroom habits. Some people — especially teachers, surgeons, and anyone else who doesn’t have time for regular bathroom breaks throughout the day — tend to hold it in.

Delaying urination can also cause problems. The bladder can develop a chronic over-distension and will not empty completely. As a result urine is left in the bladder and can be a source for developing a urinary tract infection.

Develop good bathroom habits. Drink whenever you’re thirsty, but certainly increase your fluids before going outside in the hot summer sun or before exercising.

If you’re getting up during the night to use the bathroom, stop drinking three to four hours before bedtime. Limit caffeine, which can irritate the lining of the bladder. Also watch your intake of alcohol, which can have an effect similar to a diuretic.

Finally, don’t hold it in. Don’t delay answering the call of the rest room. Your bladder will thank you.

Bottom Line: Pay attention to the color and odor of your urine. If there is a change, contact your physician.

Neil Baum is a urologist at Touro Infirmary and can be reached at his self-titled site, Neil Baum, MD, or on Facebook and Twitter.

Cranberry Juice Does Not Prevent Urinary Tract Infections-Another Medical Myth Bites The Dust

March 29, 2011

According to a report in Clinical Infection Diseases (2011;52:23-30), a placebo beverage fared better than cranberry juice in protecting against repeat urinary tract infections (UTIs) in 319 female college students presenting with acute UTI. The women were assigned to drink either eight ounces of cranberry juice or a placebo juice twice a day for six months or until another UTI developed. Although the investigators expected to see a 30% recurrence rate in the placebo group, the actual overall recurrence rate was 17%, with the cranberry-juice group experiencing a slightly higher recurrence rate than the those girls taking the placebo drink. according to a report in Clinical Infection Diseases (2011;52:23-30).