About Your Diagnosis
Urinary tract infection is a bacterial infection that can affect the
bladder or kidneys or both. The most common cause is a bacteria called
Escherichia coli, which is found in the gastrointestinal tract.
Urinary tract infection is not contagious. The bacteria can find their
way into the urinary tract by way of catheters or tubes used during
medical treatment, when there is blockage of the urinary tract by stones
or congenital abnormalities, or when women have vigorous sexual activity,
which allows the bacteria to enter the urethra and bladder.
tract infection can also occur when an infection elsewhere in the body
travels through the bloodstream to the kidneys. Urinary tract infection
can be detected by culturing a urine specimen.
Living With Your Diagnosis
Signs and symptoms of an infection include burning upon urination, frequency
and urgency to urinate, fever and chills, cloudy or bloody urine, lower
back pain and lower abdominal pain, and fatigue.
Antibiotics will be needed for 710 days. The drugs commonly used
are ampicillin, ciprofloxacin, Bactrim or Septra, and Macrodantin. Fluid
intake should be increased to help flush the urinary system. Caffeine
and alcohol should be avoided because they will irritate the urinary
system. Analgesics for the urinary system such as pyridium may be prescribed.
This drug will turn your urine orange. Sitz baths may also ease the
discomfort. Bed rest should be encouraged until fever and pain are gone.
No special diet is needed, but drinking juices to acidify the urine
can help, such as cranberry or prune juice. Taking Vitamin C can also
* Take the antibiotics until finished. A repeat urine culture may be
needed after the antibiotics are completed to make sure the urine is
free of bacteria.
* Take the antibiotics with food to help relieve any stomach upset they
* Increase your fluid intake. Include cranberry or prune juice.
* Urinate frequently during the day and after intercourse to help avoid
* Use sitz baths to help ease discomfort.
* Rest in bed until fever and pain subside.
* Wipe from the vaginal area toward the rectum after bowel movements
to avoid introducing bacteria to the urethral area.
* Don't skip doses or stop taking antibiotics before they are finished.
* Don't resume sexual relations until the fever and symptoms have cleared.
* Don't hold your urine for long periods.
* Don't drink caffeinated beverages or alcohol.
When to Call Your Doctor
* If your fever continues after 48 hours of antibiotic therapy.
* If your symptoms return after you complete your antibiotics.
For More Information
National Kidney and Urologic Disease Information Clearinghouse
Bladder Health Council
388 W. Pratt St., Suite 401
Baltimore, MD 21201
http://www.healthfinder.gov (Choose SEARCH to search by topic.)