Urinary Tract Infections Swedish Family Medicine 1401 Madison, Suite 100 – Seattle, Washington 98104 (206) 386-6111 What is a urinary-tract infection? A urinary-tract infection (UTI) is an infection in your urethra (the tube that empties your bladder), your bladder or your kidneys. If not treated, a urinary-tract infection can damage your kidneys or cause a blood infection. What causes a urinary-tract infection? Most UTIs are caused by bacteria. If bacteria enter your urethra they might travel to your bladder and kidneys. If the bacteria are not flushed out by urinating, they can multiply and cause an infection. The bacteria that cause these infections usually come from the stool or the skin around the opening of the urethra. Urinary- tract infections are more common in women who are newly sexually active, pregnant or past menopause. They are also more common in men and women who have diabetes or kidney stones. Children can also get urinary- tract infections. What are possible symptoms of a urinary-tract infection? A burning or painful sensation when you urinate Need to urinate more frequently Feeling the urge to urinate but not being able to Urine that smells bad or is dark, cloudy, or bloody Fevers, chills, sweating, nausea, and perhaps back pain How is a urinary-tract infection diagnosed? Your health-care provider can often diagnose a urinary-tract infection based on your symptoms alone or with a simple urine test. If you have had several urinary-tract infections or are pregnant, your health-care provider might order a urine culture. If you get frequent urinary-tract infections, or if you are male, you might need to have special tests done to make sure there is no other problem with your urethra, bladder or kidneys. How is a urinary-tract infection treated? Your health-care provider will give you antibiotics to treat your infection. Your symptoms should go away in a day or two. You need to take all the medicine even if your symptoms go away. The infection can return if you do not. You might also be given a medicine for pain that will turn your urine bright orange. Call the clinic if your symptoms do not go away in two days or if your symptoms come back after you have finished taking all your medicine. How can I prevent urinary-tract infections? Drink plenty of fluids, at least eight glasses of liquid every day. Cranberry juice can keep some women from getting urinary-tract infections. Urinate frequently and empty your bladder completely. Urinate soon after having sexual intercourse. Never use douches or other feminine hygiene products. These chemicals can destroy the good bacteria and acid in the vagina that help prevent infections. After bowel movements, always wipe yourself from front to back to prevent germs in the stool from getting near the urethra. Medicine for your urinary-tract infection _________________________ has given you a medicine called _____________________________(generic) or ___________________________________________(brand name). Take this medicine _____________________________________________________________. You have also been given a medicine called pyridium which will cause your urine to turn bright orange. Take this medicine three times a day for three days or until your symptoms are gone. Call the clinic if your symptoms have not gone away in a day or two. Call the clinic if you have any side effects that worry you.