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Urinary Tract Infections

Updated on July 21, 2013

Summary of Risk Factors for UTIs

1. Females

2. Frequent Sexual Activity

3. Antibiotics

4. Pregnancy

5. Menopause

6. Anatomic abnormalities

7. Other illnesses or immune suppression

8. Recurrent E. coli Infections – Genetic predisposition – family history

Risk factors for Urinary Tract Infections

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are one of the most common infections in humans (especially during the summer months) coming second only after the common cold. It seems nevertheless that some groups or populations are more susceptible than others to UTIs. Examples include females because they have a shorter urethra. Sexual activity and practices also play a role in increasing the risk for UTIs hence the term ‘honey moon cystitis’.

Other risk factors include antibiotic use, pregnancy, menopause, allergies, catheterization and some medical conditions such as urinary tract abnormalities, and immune suppression. It is interesting however that a familial correlation has been established regarding increased susceptibility to UTIs. Women that suffer from recurrent UTIs from Escherichia coli have and increased density of carbohydrate receptors to which E. coli adheres. Therefore do not be surprised if in the future your healthcare provider inquires of your family history regarding urinary tract infections especially if you have recurrent UTIs!

How to Collect a Correct Midstream Urine Sample

1.Wash hands and genitals before collection

2.Collect midstream urine: after passing some urine into the toilet without stopping the urine flow a sample of that urine is collected

3.Open the sterile container right before use

4.Do not touch the container with your genitals

5.Do not touch the inside of the container with your hands

6.Close the container straight after use

7.Take as quickly as possible for examination (within 2 hours)


Diagnosis of Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections

The diagnosis of recurrent UTIs involves urine cultures and urine analysis in order to find bacteria or what specific bacteria are causing the UTI. Then antibiotics are prescribed by the health care provider that specifically target the bacteria and eradicate the infection. Nevertheless problems arise regarding the collection of appropriate urine samples that can be used for culture and analysis. The main problem is the method of collection meaning that it is actually quite difficult to collect an appropriate urine sample.

When looking at the procedure of urine collection it is understandable that many urine specimens become contaminated with bacteria found on or in the genitals rather than in the urinary tract. It must be also noted that the use of antibiotics makes the collection of a urine sample for culture obsolete.

General Preventative Measures against UTIs

  1. Drink plenty of water
  2. Urinate after sexual intercourse
  3. Do not hold your need to urinate – Urinate straight away and empty your bladder
  4. Change contraceptive methods
  5. Use pads instead of tampons
  6. Drink cranberry juice!

Treatment of Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections

General preventative measures can be undertaken to prevent UTIs but they may nevertheless reoccur. Many studies investigate the correct use of antibiotics versus the use of placebos, and the duration of treatments in order to find the best treatment for recurrent UTIs.

The National Institute of Health advises healthcare providers on the use of one out of 3 possible treatment options for women with recurrent UTIS. Firstly either taking low doses of prescribed antibiotics for 6 months, or taking a single shot of antibiotics after intercourse or thirdly taking a short course (2 -3 days) of antibiotics if symptoms appear.

It must be noted nevertheless that recurrent UTIs can be frustrating and difficult to treat and that you should always consult your healthcare provider regarding this matter.

The information provided in this article is intended for informational purposes only and is not advise also provided without any representations and no warranties whatsoever. The provided information should never substitute the consultation, opinion , diagnosis, and treatment options provided by a professional healthcare provider.

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