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Urinary Tract Infections
One woman in five develops a UTI during her lifetime and believe me, they aren't fun.

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Welcome to my latest newsletter!  We have added a couple of exciting changes this month that I hope you will like.

Since I -- like everyone these days -- spend a lot of time on the Internet doing research, I thought it would be cool to send you a few links to health articles I found interesting. This way, if my main newsletter topic doesn't grab you, something else might. be valuable to you.

And if sometimes I digress and send a link that is about some of my other loves, like college football and collie dogs, please forgive me! :)  My suggested website "links of interest" are at the end of this newsletter.

Secondly, at the insistence of my web-developer husband, we now have a fancy-shmansy HTML newsletter design that everyone who signs up for my newsletter will be getting delivered to their email inbox.  I hope you like it. 
If you want to see what the fancy version of this newletter looks like in all its glory, click the following link: http://www.drruman.com/newsletter/200705.html

So without further ado, let's talk about...  Urinary Tract Infections
 
I can't tell how many times I have received a phone call from a young woman complaining of burning with urination. Oftentimes the symptoms come out of the blue and can be quite uncomfortable. Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are quite common and account for about 8.3 million doctor visits each year. One woman in five develops a UTI during her lifetime.

Most urinary tract infections are caused by bacteria. Any part of your urinary tract can become infected. The urinary tract includes the kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra. Bladder infections are the most common.

 

Symptoms

 

Common bladder infection symptoms are burning with urination, urinating more frequently than normal, feeling the urge to urinate but not being able to, blood in the urine or urine that has a strong odor. Symptoms of nausea, vomiting, low back pain, and fevers are more suggestive of a kidney infection and should be treated with antibiotics as soon as possible.

 

Women tend to have urinary tract infections more often than men because bacteria can reach the bladder more easily in women. The urethra is shorter in women than in men, so bacteria have a shorter distance to travel. The urethra is also located near the rectum in women. Bacteria from the rectum can easily travel up the urethra and cause infections. Having sex may also cause urinary tract infections in women because bacteria can be pushed into the urethra.

 

Diagnosis

 

Diagnosis of a bladder infection requires a urine specimen and treatment consists of prescribing an antibiotic taken usually for three days. Usually, symptoms of the infection go away 1 to 2 days after you start taking the medicine.

 

Recurring Infections

Women who have had three UTIs are likely to continue having them. Four out of five such women get another within 18 months of the last UTI. Many women have them even more often. A woman who has frequent recurrences (three or more a year) can explore one of the following treatment options:

  • Take low doses of certain antibiotics daily for 6 months or longer. If taken at bedtime, the drug remains in the bladder longer and may be more effective.
  • Take a single dose of an antibiotic after sexual intercourse.
  • Take a short course (1 or 2 days) of antibiotics when symptoms appear.

Dipsticks that change color when an infection is present are now available without a prescription. The strips detect nitrite, which is formed when bacteria change nitrate in the urine to nitrite. The test can detect about 90 percent of UTIs when used with the first morning urine specimen and may be useful for women who have recurrent infections.

 

Prevention

 

Drink plenty of water. Drinking cranberry juice may also help prevent urinary tract infections. However, once you develop bladder symptoms, taking cranberry tablets or drinking cranberry juice will not treat an infection. Only antibiotics can do this.

 

A Few Simple Tips

  • Don't hold your urine. Urinate when you feel like you need to.
  • Wipe from front to back after bowel movements.
  • Take a shower instead of a bath.
  • Urinate immediately after having sex to help wash away bacteria.

 

Infections in Men

 

Bladder infections in men are often a result of an obstruction -- for example, a urinary stone or enlarged prostate -- or from a medical procedure involving a catheter. The first step is to identify the infecting organism and the drugs to which it is sensitive. Usually, doctors recommend lengthier therapy in men than in women, in part to prevent infections of the prostate gland.

Prostate infections are hard to cure because antibiotics are unable to penetrate infected prostate tissue effectively. For this reason, men with prostatitis often need long-term treatment with a carefully selected antibiotic.

 

So remember:

 

Although urinary tract infections are common and distinctly painful, they are usually easy to treat once properly diagnosed, and only last a few days.

 

Seeing your doctor at the very start of symptoms and starting antibiotics as soon as possible can really help!

I am available should you need me. And as always I look forward to seeing you this year. 

 

Dr Andrea Ruman

 

My latest suggested website "links of interest" are:

  • Coffee, my only vice (please don't tell me chocolate is a vice) gets some positive spin. Yeah! Click Here
  • TV a source for health info?  Yes, it can be true. Click Here
  • Great news about the number one killer in America, heart disease. Click Here
  • The only website my Dad ever goes to... Go Bears! :) Click Here
 
If there are other topics which you would like to see addressed in subsequent newsletters, please feel free to email me at newsletter@DrRuman.com  and let me know about them.


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Andrea Ruman, M.D. - Doctor of Internal Medicine
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Dr. Andrea Ruman: Female medical doctor, physician, internist for Marina Del Rey, Santa Monica, West Los Angeles (LA), and Culver City in California. Specialties include women's health (including physical examinations, pelvic exams and pap smears), weight loss support and preventive medicine.