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Bladder Infection (Urinary Tract Infection)

Urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection that affects any part of the urinary system, which includes the kidneys, bladder, ureters, and urethra. UTIs are caused by bacteria, most commonly Escherichia coli (E. coli), and can occur in both men and women.

Symptoms of UTIs can vary depending on the location and severity of the infection. Common symptoms include:

  • Pain or burning sensation when urinating

  • Frequent urination

  • Strong, persistent urge to urinate

  • Cloudy or strong-smelling urine

  • Blood in the urine

  • Lower abdominal pain or discomfort

  • Fatigue

  • Fever or chills (indicating a more severe infection)

Red flags that suggest a more serious infection and require urgent medical attention include:

  • Severe pain in the back or side

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • High fever (above 101°F or 38.3°C)

  • Confusion or disorientation

  • Fainting or loss of consciousness

Treatment for UTIs typically involves antibiotics to kill the bacteria causing the infection. The choice of antibiotic depends on the type and severity of the infection, as well as the patient's medical history and any allergies. It's important to finish the full course of antibiotics, even if symptoms improve, to prevent the infection from returning or becoming resistant to antibiotics.

In addition to antibiotics, self-care measures can help relieve symptoms and promote healing. These include:

  • Drinking plenty of fluids to help flush out bacteria

  • Avoiding irritants such as caffeine, alcohol, and spicy foods

  • Applying a heating pad to the lower abdomen or back to relieve pain

  • Urinating frequently to help flush out bacteria

  • Wiping from front to back after using the toilet to prevent spreading bacteria from the anus to the urethra

If symptoms do not improve within a few days of starting antibiotics, or if they worsen despite treatment, it's important to follow up with a healthcare provider to rule out complications or a possible antibiotic-resistant infection.

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