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Urinary Tract Infections in Women

Help for urinary tract infections in women

Urinary tract infections, or UTIs, are very common in women. Fifty percent or more of women have at least one bacterial infection of the urinary tract sometime during their lives. Urinary tract infections in women can affect the various parts of the urinary system, including the ureters, urethra, bladder and kidneys. The infections cause painful, annoying symptoms that require medical evaluation and treatment. Our Austin urologists have the experience to diagnose and treat uncomplicated, complicated and recurrent UTIs.

Risk factors for women

Women have UTIs more often than men. Women have shorter urethras, making it easier for bacteria to get to the bladder than it is in men’s longer urethras. Women’s anatomy puts them at greater risk of developing infections after they have sex. Because their urethral openings are at the front of their vagina, any bacteria that is present during penetration has an easier time of entering the bladder. There are other reasons why certain women may have a higher risk of developing UTIs.

  • Prior UTI(s)
  • Diabetes
  • Pregnancy
  • Having gone through menopause
  • Giving birth to multiple children

Symptoms and causes of a bacterial infection of the urinary tract

The primary reason for urinary tract infections in women is sex, especially when women begin having sex or are having sex often. Other things that cause UTIs include bladder or kidney stones, urethral problems and problems emptying the bladder.

Urinary tract infections cause inflammation in the urinary tract lining. This causes several symptoms.

  • Pain or burning during urination
  • Strong, sudden urge to urinate
  • Frequent urge to urinate
  • Soreness or pain in the back, sides or lower abdomen
  • Urine that is cloudy, blood-tinged or has a strong odor

When patients develop a kidney infection, they may have fever, nausea and vomiting, chills, and back pain. Women with these symptoms should seek medical care right away.

Often, our Austin urologists can make a diagnosis based on a woman’s symptoms. They may also order a urinalysis.

Treating urinary tract infections in women

Most of the time, our urologists treat urinary tract infections in women with antibiotics. Usually, women get symptom relief a day or two after they start taking medication. If the infection is more severe, such as a serious kidney infection, patients may need to go to the hospital for treatment and care.

Some women suffer with recurrent UTIs. This means they have two or more UTIs in six months, or three or more infections in one year. Our team can help prevent this painful problem.

  • We may recommend changing birth control methods.
  • In some cases, we may prescribe a daily antibiotic dose for a period of six to 12 months.
  • If the problem appears to be due to sexual activity, women can take a single-dose antibiotic after having sex.
  • Vaginal estrogen helps women who are past menopause.

Our Austin urologists can help women find relief from UTIs

Urinary tract infections in women are frustrating and painful. Our team can help discover the cause of a bacterial infection of the urinary tract and treat one-time or recurrent symptoms. Contact us for an appointment.

Dr Stacy Ong
NAU Urology Specialist