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Urinary Tract Infection

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What is a Urinary Tract Infection?

The term urinary tract infection (UTI) means exactly what it says: an infection in one of the organs of the urinary system (kidneys, bladder, urethra, prostate, testicles).  UTI’s can be caused by bacteria, yeast or (rarely) viruses.

Who Gets UTI's?

UTI’s are very common and happen in men women and children.  Bladder infections are the most common and can happen to anyone, especially women.  Prostate infections are not uncommon in men.  If young children get UTI’s, there is often something wrong within the urinary system.  These children need to see a urologist for a thorough evaluation.

What Causes UTI's?

There is usually not an identifiable cause.  Women seem to be prone to infection when they first become sexually active and after menopause. People who are immunosuppressed because of an organ transplant or a medical problem are prone to many types of infection.  Diabetics seem to get urinary tract infections more often than non-diabetics.

How do I Know if I Have a UTI?

The most common signs of a bladder infection are urgent, frequent and/or painful urination, cloudy urine and foul-smelling urine.  Children with a bladder infection will often have a fever.  Some adults experience low back pain.  In seniors, bladder infections can cause mental status changes such as confusion. Men with prostatitis often have a fever, restricted urination and pain around the rectum.  Kidney infections are serious illnesses with high fever, flank pain and flu-like symptoms.

What Should I do if I Think I Have a UTI?

Call your family doctor or practitioner.  She or he will usually want to do an office urine test and should order a urine culture if there is evidence of infection.  For bladder infections, usually a few days of antibiotics will take care of it.  Prostatitis often requires a longer course of antibiotics and can take a long time to get better.  In rare cases, kidney infections may require hospitalization.

For complicated situations such as recurrent UTI’s, children with UTI’s, etc., you might need to see a urologist.

We hope that this answers some of your questions about urinary tract infection.  Call Gallatin Urology (406–551–2306) for an appointment if you would like more information or if you are having problems with urinary tract infections.

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