Urinary Tract Infections in Women

Urinary-Tract-Infections-in-WomenDr. Trey Morice is an OB/GYN and tubal reversal surgeon in Morgan City, LA. A common problem that Dr. Morice’s patients encounter is urinary tract infections (UTIs).  Understanding the urinary tract and the causes of UTIs will help women better understand urinary tract infections.

What is the urinary tract?

Your urinary tract includes your kidneys, bladder, and urethra. These organs work together to make urine and carry it out of your body. Urine is composed of water and byproducts of cellular metabolism that need to be removed from your body. These byproducts include urea and nitrogen.

What is a urinary tract infection?

A urinary tract infection is when bacteria that shouldn’t be there colonize in the urinary tract. Most urinary tract infections involve only the lower urinary tract, namely the bladder and the urethra. E. Coli entering the bladder through the urethra often causes bladder infections, otherwise known as cystitis. E. Coli is a type ofbacteria normally found in the GI tract. It is harmless when in the GI tract, but can cause problems when it travels to other places in the body. Urethritis, or infection of the urethra, can also be caused by GI bacteria entering the urethra. Sexually transmitted diseases such as herpes and chlamydia can lead to urethritis, as well. Women typically get UTIs more often than men because they have a shorter urethra. This makes it easier for the bacteria to travel up the urethra, get into your bladder, and multiply.

What causes urinary tract infections?

The most common cause of UTIs is bacteria from the anus entering the urethra. Bacteria that are typically found in your GI tract, such as E. coli, pass through your system and are in your stools. The bacteria can travel from the anus to the urethra in multiple ways.

-          Wiping: Wiping from back to front can carry bacteria from your anus to your urethra and vagina. Women should always wipe front to back to avoid this.

-          Sexual intercourse or play: Sex can often move bacteria around. Women are encouraged to urinate immediately after having sex. Urine helps flush out any bacteria that may have entered during sex.

-          Holding your urine: Not going to the bathroom when you need to can cause a bladder infection. The bladder is a muscle that stretches. When you don’t go to the bathroom quickly, the bladder may overstretch, which can cause the bladder to not empty completely. Urine left in the bladder can cause UTIs.

What are the symptoms of a UTI?

Symptoms of a lowerurinary tract infectioninclude a frequent urge to go to the bathroom even when you don’t have a full bladder. Urination is also very painful with a UTI, typically described as a sharp pain while urinating. Often, urine will be cloudy or have a bad odor when a woman has a UTI. There may also be blood in the urine. Some women also experience soreness around their abdomen and pelvic region. An upper urinary tract infection typically causes a high fever, chills, nausea, pain in the upper back and side of the body, and vomiting. If you have any of these symptoms, call your doctor right away.

How is a UTI treated?

Most UTIs are lower urinary tract infections and can be treated with antibiotics. Symptoms typically clear up within a couple days. Its important for women to take their entire course of antibiotics even if their symptoms have cleared up. Severe infections may require hospitalization.

Dr. Morice is a talented OB/GYN and tubal reversal surgeon in Morgan City, LA. If you are interested in tubal reversal surgery or are looking for an OB/GYN, contact us at (985) 702-BABY (2229) or

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