Health Education: Urinary Tract Infections - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 08-12-2004, 07:24 AM
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Infections of the urinary tract are common--only respiratory infections occur more often. In 1997, urinary tract infections (UTIs) accounted for about 8.3 million doctor visits.* Women are especially prone to UTIs for reasons that are poorly understood. One woman in five develops a UTI during her lifetime. UTIs in men are not so common, but they can be very serious when they do occur.





Good Website:

http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/kudiseases/pubs/utiadult/
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#2 Old 08-12-2004, 07:30 AM
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What causes a UTI?



Usually, a UTI is caused by bacteria that can also live in the digestive tract, in the vagina, or around the urethra, which is at the entrance to the urinary tract. Most often these bacteria enter the urethra and travel to the bladder and kidneys. Usually, your body removes the bacteria, and you have no symptoms. However, some people seem to be prone to infection, including women and older people.





When should I see my doctor?



When you have one of these symptoms:



burning feeling when you urinate





frequent or intense urges to urinate, even when you have little urine to pass





pain in your back or lower abdomen





cloudy, dark, bloody, or unusual-smelling urine





fever or chills
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#3 Old 08-12-2004, 07:56 AM
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what happens if someone doesnt see a doctor?..
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#4 Old 08-12-2004, 08:14 AM
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Good question.



I've had two before and the first time I didn't see a doctor. I didn't want antibiotics so I drank lots of water and cranberry juice. It went away after a couple of days. I think it depends on how severe it is. Most of them probably don't require antibiotics but I'm sure there are some that are very persistant and antibiotics are needed. I'm guessing you may end up with a kidney infection if the bacteria travels but I'll ask one of the doctors at work today.



Any one else have questions they want me to ask the doctors at work about UTI's?
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#5 Old 08-12-2004, 08:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silverundertone View Post

what happens if someone doesnt see a doctor?..



I had one once and it hit me almost immediately. It was bad. At first, I didn't know what it was, because I had never had one before. I had a fever, upset tummy and blood in my urine. All of these symptoms hit me in one day. I had no choice but to see a doc. It was really painful.
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#6 Old 08-12-2004, 08:19 AM
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I have a client who gets frequent recurring UTI's. She didn't get the last one treated and sure enough, the infection traveled up into her kidneys. Now she has permanent kidney damage. Kidney infections are VERY painful and can be dangerous if untreated!



Symptoms of a kidney infection can include:



Changes in urination -making more or less urine than usual, feeling pressure when urinating, changes in the color of urine, foamy or bubbly urine, bloody urine or urine with "tissue" in it or having to get up at night to urinate.

Swelling of the feet, ankles, hands, or face -fluid the kidneys can't remove may stay in the tissues.

Fatigue or weakness -a build-up of wastes or a shortage of red blood cells (anemia) can cause these problems when the kidneys begin to fail.

Shortness of breath -kidney failure is sometimes confused with asthma or heart failure, because fluid can build up in the lungs.

Ammonia breath or an ammonia or metal taste in the mouth -waste build-up in the body can cause bad breath, changes in taste, or an aversion to protein foods like meat.

Back or flank pain -the kidneys are located on either side of the spine in the back.

Itching -waste build-up in the body can cause severe itching, especially of the legs.

Loss of appetite

Nausea and vomiting

"Yes! Live! Life's a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death!" Auntie Mame
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#7 Old 08-12-2004, 08:56 AM
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other than cranberry juice..what are some natural remedies that work well?..and also..is there one specific symptom that points directly to a uti?..

..ive heard that antibiotics are bad for you...what are the general side effects of an anti biotic?



..im full of questions today..sawry..
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#8 Old 08-12-2004, 09:08 AM
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Prevention is also important:



- urinate before and after intercourse

- wipe from front to back

- cotton underwear is best

- lots of water, cranberry juice

- daily showers, keeping clean

- practice safer sex



There are 2 really good pamphlets at work. I'm bringing them home today and I'll post afterwards.
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#9 Old 08-12-2004, 09:32 AM
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Ouchie....UTIs. I had one set in on a Friday night and by Monday morning I was in severe pain, fever, felt as if I'd been beaten with a bat. I seriously considered the emergency room by Sunday night but I made a run out to the late night grocery and found an over the counter analgesic that at least lessened some of the symptoms a little. After that I had a couple of months where I had 3 in a row. I blame it mostly on the hygeine of the person I was with during that period. After that I set some rules ~ no sex until I pee and I don't care if you want to snuggle, I need to get up and pee or else I'm not going to want sex again!
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#10 Old 08-12-2004, 10:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silverundertone View Post

other than cranberry juice..what are some natural remedies that work well?..and also..is there one specific symptom that points directly to a uti?..

..ive heard that antibiotics are bad for you...what are the general side effects of an anti biotic?



..im full of questions today..sawry..



It is important to be sure that you take a "Probiotic" supplement while on antibiotics, as they disrupt the balance in the flora in your intestinal tract.



It is important to be sure the cranberry juice is 100% juice and not a "cocktail" as the corn syrup and sugar in those tend to support the growth of unfavorable bacteria and yeasts, which can lead to a yeat infection. Women commonly get them while on antibiotics as well, and the Probiotics help prevent/treat that.



You can also get cranberry extracts and supplements.



More vitamin C helps when you have aa UTI, as it changes the PH of the urine favorably.



Pau D'Arco and Echinacea are used for UTI's by herbalists to treat UTi's.

"Yes! Live! Life's a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death!" Auntie Mame
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#11 Old 08-12-2004, 10:44 AM
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I had my first UTI in my early 20's, and I still get them (I'm 45). UTI's are awful, and I've never had one go away on it's own...I've always had to have antibiotics. There are analgesic tablets available over the counter (the brand I use is AZO) that numb the urinary tract and relieve some of the pain/burning/urgency until the antibiotics kick in and the infection begins to go away. AZO turns your urine bright orange/red, and I would recommend anyone using AZO to wear a liner in her panties, as it stains. AZO also puts out concentrated cranberry tablets, which are supposed to assist in preventing bacteria from latching onto the urinary tract wall. To those of you who have never had a UTI, be very, very thankful!
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#12 Old 08-12-2004, 10:49 AM
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I have always had really bad bladder problems and I have been to about 10 doctors and had medications and surgeries with no success. I don't think I have bladder infections because when I have peed in a cup for the doctors, everything looked normal. Here is my symptoms..

If I don't constantly drink water all day (if my bladder is empty) I get this really bad pressure like I just drank a gallon of water and someone is standing on me. That doesn't sound like it makes any sense, but its true. For instance, I was at Six Flags and got a little dehydrated and there was no pee in me at all, but I felt like I was going to burst at the seams. I had to go sit on the potty for hours though nothing came out..and if a drop or too did come it felt like acid. Over the counter analgesics like AZO work on numbing the pain so I take them with me wherever I go just in case. I have had this problem for about 5 years and it completly went away when I was pregnant...but it came back after my son was born. I can't take birth control pills because they make it 1,000 times worse, so maybe there is some connection with hormones??? This has ruined many days of my life because I feel like I can't even function when it happens. I just want to sit on the potty and sometimes I sit there for up to 8 hours before the pain goes away.
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#13 Old 08-12-2004, 01:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silverundertone View Post

other than cranberry juice..what are some natural remedies that work well?



Like OV said, make sure the cranberry juice is sugar-free, as sugar feeds the bacteria. Avoid sugar in other sources as well; avoid caffeine as it can irritate your bladder. Drink lots of water. Many people swear by raw garlic (eating it, that is!) as it has antibiotic properties; there are garlic capsules if you want to try it, but don't want to eat a bunch of it raw.
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#14 Old 08-12-2004, 04:51 PM
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I've gotten them a few times. I remember one time years ago I got one, and I didn't bother doing anything about it for a month, and when I went to the gyno they said it had turned into something else cause it traveled up higher(but not up to my kidneys yet). So word to the wise- don't let it go!! I always have to pee before and after sex so I don't get them. That seems to be the best deterent to getting one, for me at least.
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#15 Old 08-12-2004, 07:50 PM
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jessicalynn -



The symptoms you describe are classic IC (interstitial cystitis) symptoms. The symptoms of IC are often the same as a UTI, but IC is a chronic condition and is not caused by bacteria. It is thought to be related to hormones, and it is not uncommon to experience remission during pregnancy. There is no excuse for you having seen that many doctors and none of them having brought up the possiblility of IC! Sometimes I am still amazed by how many doctors are still not educated about it. Take a look at this website for more info: http://www.ic-network.com/



I know how awful it is to have ongoing, untreated symptoms and no diagnosis - I had symptoms for much of my childhood and wasn't diagnosed until I was 14, when my mom saw someone talking about IC on TV and asked my uro to test me for it. It might help to bring in some info printed from the ICN for your doctor to read.



Good luck, I really hope you'll be on the road to relief soon.
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#16 Old 08-12-2004, 08:55 PM
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Never had a UTI that I am aware of....although certainly I have had one or two of those symptoms at various times.

It is possible to have one without many symptoms? Or to not really be aware of it and have it clear up of it's own accord?



I ask because about 12 years ago now I had an ultrasound due to some severe stomach cramps that showed nothing much although the doc asked if I had had many kidney infections as a child because one kidney is half the size of the other. I said that I hadn't had any to my knowledge and when I tried to press him further about whether it was a problem all he would say was "not unless it's causing you any problems"



The next doctor I asked said basically the same thing. So I stopped asking, and pretty much stopped going unless absolutely necessary, however I need to go in for a major service and would like to be better armed if I get the same response!
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#17 Old 08-13-2004, 09:07 AM
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It is important to be sure the cranberry juice is 100% juice and not a "cocktail" as the corn syrup and sugar in those tend to support the growth of unfavorable bacteria and yeasts, which can lead to a yeat infection. Women commonly get them while on antibiotics as well, and the Probiotics help prevent/treat that.



does all sugar..including that naturally present in fresh fruit/veggies support the bacteria as well?..
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#18 Old 08-13-2004, 10:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Minibean View Post

jessicalynn -



The symptoms you describe are classic IC (interstitial cystitis) symptoms. The symptoms of IC are often the same as a UTI, but IC is a chronic condition and is not caused by bacteria. It is thought to be related to hormones, and it is not uncommon to experience remission during pregnancy. There is no excuse for you having seen that many doctors and none of them having brought up the possiblility of IC! Sometimes I am still amazed by how many doctors are still not educated about it. Take a look at this website for more info: http://www.ic-network.com/



I know how awful it is to have ongoing, untreated symptoms and no diagnosis - I had symptoms for much of my childhood and wasn't diagnosed until I was 14, when my mom saw someone talking about IC on TV and asked my uro to test me for it. It might help to bring in some info printed from the ICN for your doctor to read.



Good luck, I really hope you'll be on the road to relief soon.



Thanks so much, I am about to take a look at that link. It is kind of weird that no one was able to diagnose me. One doctor told me I had a narrow urethra and I had to have surgery to "expand" it. That obviously didn't work worth a crap. So you have IC??

Jessica
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#19 Old 08-13-2004, 10:15 AM
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Hmmm... I don't know about the sugar thing (though, I suspect that most sweets would feed bacteria), but I DO know something about getting UTIs. And sometimes thinking you have one when you don't...



I used to get them all the time (boyfriend-related). Horrible, horrible pain that I HAD to see the doctor for--they wouldnt' go away on their own for me.



Unfortunately, because I had them so frequently, I was taking antibiotics at least once (7 day spread) every two months. It became a routine; I'd have pain, go to the doc's, they'd write a 'scrip for a sulfa antibiotic, I'd feel better---I'd go back w/same thing in two months. My doctor's office typically didn't culture the bacteria, so they just assumed that what I was having were UTIs. Then, one day, they did a culture and called me to say that I could stop taking the meds b/c there wasn't anything wrong with me--no bacteria growth in the culture at all. I though they were crazy because I'd been in horrible pain and then after taking the pills I'd felt better.



Well... my new doc says that I probably did have 'real' UTIs (they called mine "honeymoon syndrome") the first few times I'd gone in, but that in the past few years I've been misdiagnosed. After using antibiotics for so long yeast is now my problem, she says. I don't have any 'typical' signs of a yeast infection, but she swears that yeast, rather than bacteria, is now irritating me and the cause of my pain. I'm now on routine Diflucan pills, and I admit I feel better, but I don't know if popping Diflucan every week (which is what I've been doing for over a year now) is all that good for me...
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#20 Old 08-13-2004, 02:58 PM
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Thanks so much, I am about to take a look at that link. It is kind of weird that no one was able to diagnose me. One doctor told me I had a narrow urethra and I had to have surgery to "expand" it. That obviously didn't work worth a crap. So you have IC??

Jessica



Yeah, I've had it since I was about 7. Finally diagnosed at 14 (I'm 20 now). That surgery sounds painful!! Yikes. If there's one thing I hate to hear about more than people going years with their symptoms untreated, it's people having unnecessary surgeries!
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#21 Old 08-13-2004, 04:48 PM
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Minibean- What treatments have you undergone?
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#22 Old 08-13-2004, 05:26 PM
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i figured this would be the best thread to post this in..

..for the last couple months or so..ive been havin this thing where a couple minutes after i feel like i have to urinate...i get all tingly..and sort of a panicy feeling..and suddenly feel like i dont have to go anymore..

also..more recently..ive been feeling pain in my lower abdomen.and a bit in my back..

i know i tend to worry too much....

is it all just in my head?..

sawry if thats too graphic...
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#23 Old 08-13-2004, 06:34 PM
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Minibean- What treatments have you undergone?



I haven't tried any of the instillations - I really don't want to put myself through that. As for oral medications, I've tried Elmiron, Atarax, Detrol, Ditropan, a tricyclic antidepressant (can't remember the name, but it wasn't Elavil), at least one of the alpha-blockers (again, can't remember the name), glucosamine (the vegan one from Freeda) and possibly more that I am forgetting.



Currently, I'm taking glucosamine and Atarax. I also take BCP without any breaks which helps me immensely, because I had horrible flare-ups during my periods. Obviously from what you said, that wouldn't be a good idea for you! The hormone thing is weird. Some people with IC can't tolerate BCP at all and for some, like me, it is a godsend.



After all this, I've found Atarax helps me the most with frequency which was/is one of my main symptoms. I haven't really been taking the glucosamine long enough to know how well it will work - it's supposed to be similar to Elmiron in that is coats the bladder.



I still have some things on my "may try in the future" list, including MSM and Elavil.



This probably sounds kind of overwhelming... sorry! Some people do find something that works for them fairly quickly. It's a very individual condition.
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#24 Old 08-16-2004, 10:15 PM
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Just a little advice - NEVER let a suspected UTI go and just hope it will get better. When I was a kid I got them all the time (granted, I had minor structural abnormality in the ureters) - always kidney infections, which hurt like hell anyway. But UTI's have a tendency to develop into sepsis, which is an infection of the blood which can kill you. I've had it 2 times. It is not pleasant.
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#25 Old 09-04-2004, 09:39 PM
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I'm afraid that I have a UTI, but I don't have health insurance anymore, and my school's health center will be closed until Tuesday because of the holiday. I hate this. I always get sick on a Friday night. Ok, today is Saturday, but it's still 2 days before I could get any treatment. I have had an accute kidney infection before. I dont' want to go through that again, but I also don't want another 3k hospital bill sent to a collection agency.
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#26 Old 09-05-2004, 07:33 PM
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I know cranberry juice is a preventative, but I don't know if it would help you keep from developing a kidney infection. Might be worth a shot, though, in the meantime?
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#27 Old 09-05-2004, 09:16 PM
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Well, the symptoms weren't as bad this morning (no shooting pains in my bladder region), and I've been taking these over the counter cranberry pills. Hopefully this will clear up on it's own. I don't have much choice til Tuesday, either way. Thanks for the cranberry juice recommendation.



This makes me so mad, though. In the past 13 months, I've had 2 kidney infections (the first one landed me in the emergency room), and 2 UTI's (if this really is one). Before that first one 13 months ago, I never had anything of the sort. Doctors don't have an explaination for me either.
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#28 Old 02-05-2005, 09:54 PM
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I've been having some very similar problems. I think that for me BC make it worse as well. I had gone off them for almost a year and didn't really have any flare-up. I went back on them for two months and started having problems again. I feel like I have to pee at least twice an hour and sometimes it is very uncomfortable. Whats making me a little nervous though is some of the information posted in this thread mentioned that kidney problems can cause very itchy legs. I have had extremely itchy legs lately. I also feel a little pissed at my doctor after reading this because I too was always tested for UTIs although she always said there really wasnt anything showing up in my urine, but she would prescribe me the antibiotic anyway and send me on my way. She never mentioned any of those other possiblities.
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#29 Old 02-05-2005, 10:03 PM
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I read somewhere that sometimes adding some sodium biocarbonate to water can help change the PH of your urine to help with any irritation. I had never heard that before, does anyone know if that works? I have always suspected that I may have very acidic urine.
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