What's Going Around: urinary tract infections

What's Going Around: urinary tract infections

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Urinary tract infections peak in the summer months, connected to dehydration in the heat. At Lake Area Medical Center's emergency department, Dr. John Digiglia says that is what's going around this week.

While women are especially prone to urinary tract infections, Dr. Digiglia says they can affect men, too, as well as babies on up to the elderly.

"UTI or urinary tract infection is usually an infection that involves either the bladder or the kidneys or the tube that runs between the bladder, kidney, and the ureters," said Dr. Digiglia.

The main culprit is E. coli bacteria and the symptoms can range from urination pain to back or abdominal pain.

"Burning on urination or foul-smelling urine, they may notice blood in their urine," said Dr. Digiglia, "urgency where they can't hold their urine very long and they have to go."

Dr. Digiglia says women get UTIs more often because of the way their bodies are made.

"The urethra, which is the tube that leads from the bladder to the out portion of the body is shorter and therefore bacteria has an easier way to get into the bladder," he said.  "Infections usually start in the bladder and can move up to the kidneys."

Fever, chills, and vomiting can be signs that the infection has reached the kidneys, which is a more serious problem.  

Dr. Digiglia says preventing UTIs this time of year starts with hydration.  

"It's really important to hydrate yourself well, because you want the urine to flow out of your kidneys and to your bladder and then that decreases the risk of bacteria building up in the bladder."

In addition to hydrating as a means of prevention, it is also important to listen to your body when you need to empty your bladder.

Since most UTIs are bacterial in nature, the standard treatment is antibiotics.  Once antibiotics are started, it takes about three days for the body to rid itself of the infection.  

If you suspect a urinary tract infection, you need to see a doctor quickly.  A urine test will confirm the presence of UTI-causing bacteria.

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