Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) is one of the most common reasons people visit their physician. Normal urine is sterile and contains no bacteria. Bacteria can enter through the urethra and invade the urinary tract lining and urine from nearby skin and rectal area. Women are more prone to UTI because they have shorter urethras. An estimated 40% of women and 12% of men will experience as least one symptomatic UTI during their lifetime.
UTI is typically diagnosed based on medical history and confirmed with urinalysis with or without urine culture. Fevers and more severe pain may prompt greater workup such as computed tomography (CT scan) in order to image the kidneys. Most simple UTIs can be treated with a short course of oral antibiotics. Ways to avoid UTI include urinating after sexual intercourse, drinking normal amount of fluids to stay hydrated, and wiping from front to back when using bathroom (to prevent rectal bacteria from entering vagina or urethra). Estrogen replacement directly to the vagina (cream or tablet) may prevent UTI in women who have gone through menopause. Recurrent UTI (three or more per year) warrants additional evaluation with a physician to evaluate for urinary tract abnormalities.