Urinary Tract Infections
Urinary tract infections (UTI) are the most common bacterial infections in women. Twelve percent of all women in their lifetime will have a UTI and 25 percent of UTIs recur in six months. UTIs are usually caused by an invasion of rectal bacteria that ascends into the vagina and then into the bladder.
The normal defense mechanism that prevents a UTI in premenopausal women is estrogen that is produced by the ovaries. Estrogen causes the normal bacteria in the vagina to produce an acid. This acidic barrier prevents rectal bacteria from invading the vagina and causing a UTI.
The most common risk
factors for UTIs are:
· History of a UTI
· Anatomical changes: Bladder Hernia
· Vaginal Atrophy
· Lack of vaginal estrogen
· History of UTI
· Incomplete bladder emptying
A microscopic examination of the bladder is required to confirm a UTI diagnosis. We look for red and white cells and bacteria. We also do a culture sensitivity of your urine. It tells us which bacteria caused the UTI and which antibiotic to use. Some women have recurrent UTI’s, defined as two UTI’s in six months or three in a year.
After being treated to prevent another UTI, premenopausal women may be prescribed a daily antibiotic for four to six months. Women who are menopausal may be treated with vaginal estrogen which creates an acidic barrier in the vagina. They may also be prescribed a daily antibiotic for four to six months.
See your physician or call our office for an appointment if you have any of the signs and symptoms of a UTI:
· Urinary frequency
· Urinary urgency
· Painful urination