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Published on July 22, 2014

Breaking the Cycle

July 22, 2014

Woman drinking red juiceFrequent, recurring urinary tract infections (UTIs) can be painful, frustrating and inconvenient, and if they go unchecked, they can develop into a serious cause for concern.

A UTI is an infection of the kidneys, ureters, bladder or urethra. It can be caused by bacteria, viruses or other microbes that enter the body and set up shop in the urinary tract, causing a set of uncomfortable symptoms such as pain while urinating, frequent urination, fever, loss of appetite, back pain and discharge.

According to the National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse, UTIs are the cause of 8.1 million visits to the doctor per year. About 50 percent of women will have a UTI in their lifetime. Around 20 percent of young women have a second and so do 53 percent of women older than age 55.

Preventive Measures

Antibiotics are the standard course of treatment for UTIs. Medication should be taken exactly as prescribed—and in its entirety—to make sure all traces of the infection are destroyed.

Some patients develop antibiotic-resistant UTIs. If your UTI symptoms do not clear up after finishing a course of antibiotics, see your physician. You may need to try a different type of medication or there may be another underlying cause of your symptoms.

Women suffering from frequent infections of the urinary tract or those who identify a pattern of postcoital infection may be prescribed preventive courses of antibiotics to take after intercourse or on a regular basis.

In Your Hands

If a physician rules out physiological causes of UTIs, such as vesico-ureteral reflux or frequent catheterization, making changes to your lifestyle may help prevent another infection.

Though the reason is not fully understood, drinking cranberry juice or eating cranberries has proven effective at minimizing infections of the urinary tract. It may also help to drink plenty of water, always wipe from front to back and urinate frequently, especially before and after having intercourse, to help prevent bacteria from entering the urethra.

Certain kinds of contraceptives, such as spermicide, condoms and diaphragms, may also increase a woman’s risk of getting a urinary tract infection due to irritation or a slowed flow of urine out of the body. Try alternate forms of contraception.

Always seek treatment for urinary tract infections. Unchecked, they can lead to kidney damage and an increased risk of certain cancers. With your physician’s help, you can break the cycle of infection and stay healthier longer.

Probiotics For Vaginal Health

Good bacteria play an important role in your health, and that includes your vaginal health. A growing body of evidence supports the idea that lactobacillus can play a particularly important role in maintaining a healthy vagina.

A healthy colony of lactobacillus helps prevent the overgrowth of less friendly bacteria, such as Gardnerella vaginalis, a condition known as bacterial vaginosis that may lead to pregnancy complications.

To help maintain an optimal level of lactobacillus, consider supplementing your diet with a probiotic that contains these healthy bacteria.

KishHealth System Physician Group has many locations that offer convenient, same day appointments for minor illnesses, such as an urinary tract infection, for just $89.00. For more information about Today Care, visit www.kpgcares.org.

Sources: aafp.orgniddk.nih.govkidshealth.orgwomenshealth.govncbi.nlm.nih.govcdc.gov,nlm.nih.govncbi.nlm.nih.govncbi.nlm.nih.govlef.org

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