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Urinary Tract Infection

A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection anywhere in the urinary tract. The urinary tract includes the organs that collect and store urine and release it from the body: the kidneys, ureter, bladder, prostate (in men), and the urethra.

Causes: UTI is caused by bacteria that can also live in the digestive tract, in the vagina, or around the urethra, which is at the entrance to the urinary tract. Most often these bacteria enter the urethra and travel to the bladder and kidneys. Usually, the body removes the bacteria, and there are no symptoms. However, some people – including women and older people of both sexes – are prone to more infections.

Evaluation: To evaluate a UTI, a Capital Region Urology physician asks questions about how much fluid is consumed, if there is pain or a burning feeling during urination, or if there is difficulty urinating. Women may be asked about the type of birth control they use. A urine sample is taken so tests can be done. The doctor may also have images of the kidneys taken with an x-ray or ultrasound and look into the bladder with an instrument called a cystoscope.

Treatment: Once it is determined that symptoms have been caused by an infection, the doctor will prescribe an antibiotic to kill the bacteria causing the infection. The antibiotic prescribed will depend on the type of bacteria found.