Urinary tract infections (UTI) are the second most common type of infection in the body. Recurrent urinary tract infections are defined as three or more symptomatic, culture-proven UTIs in one year or a persistent, symptomatic UTI that does not respond to treatment. Typical symptoms include: pain or burning with urination, urinary frequency or urgency, bloody urine, or fever.
A UTI can affect any part of your urinary system. When an infection only affects your bladder, it’s usually a minor illness that can be easily treated. However, if it spreads to your kidneys, you may suffer from serious health consequences and may even need to be hospitalized.
Although UTIs can happen to anyone at any age, they are more prevalent in women. In fact, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) estimates that one in five young adult women have recurring UTIs.
Most common causes:
- Sexual intercourse- bacteria from the vagina can get pushed inside the urethra
- Menopause- lack of estrogen in the vagina produces an environment that is more favorable for growth of pathogenic bacteria. Estrogen is a woman’s natural defense against bladder infections.
- Stones- in the kidney or bladder can harbor bacteria
- Spermicidal use and douching- can kill the“good bacteria” that help ward off bladder infections
- Incomplete emptying of the bladder- stagnant urine in the bladder can be a medium for bacterial growth