Urinary Tract Infection Treatment in the Central Coast of California
What are UTIs?
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are infections of any part of the urinary tract. The urinary tract is composed of the urethra, bladder, uterus, and kidneys.
The most common type of UTI is a lower urinary tract infection, meaning inflammation of the bladder and the urethra. The urethra is the tube that leads urine away from the bladder, but it can also be a way for bacteria to enter in.
Women are more prone to lower UTIs than men due to their anatomy. A woman’s urethra is shorter, about 1-2 inches compared to a man’s 6 inches. The close proximity of the woman’s urethra, vagina, and the anus can also lead to bacteria entering the urinary tract.
If you’re struggling with recurrent UTIs, don’t wait to see a specialist. For patients in the Central Coast of California, the board-certified urologists with Urology Associates of the Central Coast are here to help. Contact us today to schedule a consultation to discuss UTI treatment and prevention in San Luis Obispo, Templeton, Pismo Beach, Santa Maria, or Lompoc.
What are Considered Recurrent UTIs?
Recurrent urinary tract infections (UTI) refers to either :
- Having 2 or more infections in six months or
- Having 3 infections in one year
UTIs are common, with over 50 percent of women having at least one UTI in their lifetime.
Who is at Risk for Recurrent UTIs?
You may be at risk for a UTI if you have one of the following factors:
- If you have kidney or bladder stones
- If you are sexually active and bacteria gets into the urethra
- Your estrogen levels are changing during menopause
- You have problems with the urinary tract shape or function
- You have an inherited risk of developing bladder infections
- You have a family history of UTIs
What are Symptoms of a UTI?
If you have a UTI, it can be a very uncomfortable experience. It can interfere with your quality of life and your daily activities. It can cause discomfort, especially if you suffer from recurrent UTIs.
Common symptoms of a UTI may include:
- Frequent urination
- Pain and or burning when on urination
- An urge to urinate right away and often
- Only being able to urinate small amounts of urine at a time
- Pain in lower abdomen over the bladder, above the pubic bone
- Low back pain/ flank pain (kidney pain)
If you experience these symptoms, you may have a UTI. You may have recurrent UTIs if you experience these symptoms regularly. Talk to a doctor to get the help you deserve.
How are Recurrent UTIs Diagnosed?
If your urologist thinks you may have an issue with recurrent UTIs, you may be asked to provide:
- Your medical history about past UTIs
- A urine culture to identify the bacteria causing your infection
- An examination with a special camera to view the inside of your bladder
- An ultrasound or CT scan to evaluate your kidney anatomy
It is important to get the answers you need so you can move forward with treatment for your recurrent UTIs. There can be a number of reasons you are prone to UTIs and you can trust your urologist to get you the answers you need to help treat your UTIs.
How are Recurrent UTIs Treated?
If it is determined that you have recurrent UTIs, there are a number of treatment options. Talk with a urologist about your preferences, concerns, or areas where you would like to focus treatment.
Determine a Cause
The most effective treatment for recurrent UTIs is to identify the underlying cause. This can vary depending on the patient, so you can talk to a urologist about your symptoms and lifestyle to determine a cause.
A low-dose antibiotic can be taken for at least six months and up to two years to help kill the bacteria. You may also opt for antibiotics taken on an as-needed basis like after sex or starting at the first sign of a UTI.
Vaginal estrogen therapy can help for issues related to vaginal dryness after menopause. During menopause, your body undergoes physical changes that may need treatment to avoid a UTI. For example, there are decreasing levels of estrogen, which can alter the microbiome in the vagina and bladder and put you at risk for infection.
There are also many lifestyle changes that may give you relief from UTIs.
These lifestyle changes include:
- Drinking plenty of liquids, especially water, to help flush out bacteria
- Urinating often, especially when you feel the need
- Wiping from front to back after urinating or having a bowel movement
- Taking showers rather than baths
- Gently washing the skin around your vagina and anus daily using a mild soap and plenty of water
- Using forms of birth control other than a diaphragm and spermicides
- Emptying your bladder as soon as possible after sex
- Avoiding use of deodorant sprays or scented feminine products in the genital area
Schedule a UTI Consultation
If you have recurrent UTIs, you may be ready for more answers and more treatment options. Some infections may clear on their own, but others require antibiotics. Discussing your medical history and lifestyle factors with a board-certified urologist will help you decide a path that is right for you, so you can live free of UTIs. Contact Urology Associates of the Central Coast today to schedule a consultation in San Luis Obispo, Templeton, Pismo Beach, Santa Maria, or Lompoc.