An explanation of urinary tract infections from Dr. J. Kyle Mathews
According to the Urology Care Foundation, about 10 in 25 women will have symptoms of at least one urinary tract infection during their lifetime.¹ In fact, urinary tract infections, or UTIs, are the second most common type of infection in the body.² For these reasons, Dr. Mathews thinks it’s important for patients to learn more about this condition, which he and his staff diagnose and treat at his North Dallas urogynecology office.
A urinary tract infection is an infection that occurs in any part of the urinary tract, which includes the bladder, kidneys, urethra and ureters, but most frequently, the infection in women will occur in the urethra and/or bladder.
What causes UTIs?
Bacteria that enter a woman’s urinary tract cause urinary tract infections. Any woman can get a UTI, but there are certain factors that can put women at a higher risk for contracting an infection. Simply being a female is one of the biggest risk factors because women’s shorter urethras give bacteria easier and faster access to the bladder. At our North Dallas urogynecology office, we also see urinary tract infections caused by:
- Diaphragms, spermicidal agents or condoms
- Menopause, due to the decline in estrogen and vaginal changes
- Being sexually active
- Kidney stones that block the urinary tract
Symptoms of a urinary tract infection vary, depending on what part of the urinary tract is affected. If your urethra is infected, you may notice discharge and burning while urinating. If your bladder is infected, which is also called cystitis, you may suffer from painful and frequent urination, discomfort in the lower abdominal area, pelvic pressure and possibly blood in your urine.
Urinary tract infections in your kidneys can cause a high fever, pain in your upper back and side, and even chills, shaking, nausea and vomiting.
Diagnosis and treatment
When patients come to our North Dallas urogynecology office with signs of urinary tract infections, we discuss their symptoms and get a urine sample, which will be tested for signs of infection. In most cases, if there is an infection, it can be treated with antibiotics.
It’s important to get treatment when you have symptoms of urinary tract infections because avoiding treatment can lead to more serious complications such as permanent kidney damage or life-threatening sepsis. Pregnant women, in particular, should see a physician as soon as possible if they have a UTI.
Visit our North Dallas urogynecology office for expert care for urinary tract infections
Dr. Mathews is a board-certified urogynecologist, trained to treat women’s health conditions such as urinary tract infections. Contact us for an appointment.
²Schappert SM, Rechtsteiner EA. Ambulatory medical care utilization estimates for 2006. National health statistics reports; no 8. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics; 2008.