URINARY TRACT INFECTION
A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection in any part of your urinary system — your kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra. Most infections involve the lower urinary tract — the bladder and the urethra.
Urinary tract infections don't always cause signs and symptoms, but when they do they may include:
Urinary tract infections are common in women, and many women experience more than one infection during their lifetimes. Risk factors specific to women for UTIs include:
Female anatomy. A woman has a shorter urethra than a man does, which shortens the distance that bacteria must travel to reach the bladder.
Sexual activity. Sexually active women tend to have more UTIs than do women who aren't sexually active. Having a new sexual partner also increases your risk.
Certain types of birth control. Women who use diaphragms for birth control may be at higher risk, as well as women who use spermicidal agents.
Menopause. After menopause, a decline in circulating estrogen causes changes in the urinary tract that make you more vulnerable to infection.
You can take these steps to reduce your risk of urinary tract infections:
You’ll take a urine test. Your doctor will test it for bacteria and red and white blood cells. A urine culture may also be checked. It shows what kind of bacteria are in the urine.
You’ll take antibiotics for 3-7 days or as your doctor recommends. If your infection makes you feel uncomfortable, your doctor will probably start your treatment before you get your urine test results.
Your symptoms should go away in 3 days. Take all of your medication on schedule anyway. Don’t stop it early, even if your symptoms fade.
Many common antibiotics -- amoxicillin, erythromycin, and penicillin, for example -- are considered safe for pregnant women. Your doctor wouldn’t prescribe others, such as sulfamethoxazole, trimethoprim, ciprofloxacin, tetracycline, that can affect your baby’s development.