If you often have a strong, persistent urge to urinate, but very little urine actually comes out, you may have a urinary tract infection (UTI). Women are about 30 times more likely to develop a UTI than men, and nearly half of all women experience a UTI at least once in their lives. As a top-rated, board-certified gynecologist in New Hyde Park, NY, Dr. Julia Raber specializes in diagnosing and treating women’s urinary health issues, including chronic UTIs. If you’re in Long Island or the New York City metropolitan area, call or book your appointment online today.
A UTI is an infection that occurs within your urinary system, which includes your kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. The vast majority of UTIs involve the lower urinary tract, or your bladder and urethra.
UTIs are typically caused by bacteria that first enter the urinary tract through your urethra, and then travel to your bladder where they begin to multiply. This is sometimes referred to as cystitis, or a bladder infection.
Although bladder infections are often caused by E. coli, a type of bacteria normally found in your gastrointestinal tract, they can be caused by other types of bacteria.
If you have a UTI, you may experience one or all of the following symptoms:
Younger women sometimes also notice red, bright pink, or light brown urine. This is a sign that you’re urinating blood, and you should make an appointment to see Dr. Raber as soon as possible.
Likewise, if you suspect you have a UTI and you feel tired, shaky, weak, or have a fever, you should be seen by Dr. Raber right away.
Running a temperature or having the chills may mean that the infection has reached your kidneys, or it may even mean you have a sexually transmitted infection (STD) like chlamydia or gonorrhea.
Female anatomy is the main factor that makes women more likely to develop UTIs than men.
Your urethra, or the tube that extends from your bladder to your vagina and allows you to pass urine out of your body, is shorter than a man’s. This makes it easier for the bacteria that cause UTIs to get into your bladder.
Also, the opening in your urethra is close to both your vagina and your anus, and bacteria found in fecal matter is the main cause of most UTIs.
Other factors that specifically increase a woman’s risk of developing a UTI include:
Women who have recently given birth or are breastfeeding may also be more prone to UTIs if their circulating estrogen levels are lower than normal.
Before you can receive proper treatment for a UTI, Dr. Raber will perform an in-office urine analysis to assess your white blood cells, red blood cells, and any bacteria that are present.
This initial analysis is typically followed by a clinical urine culture so that Dr. Raber knows exactly what type of bacteria is causing your UTI.
Antibiotics are the first-line treatment for UTIs; the type of antibiotic you take depends on the bacteria in your urinary tract. If you have frequent UTIs, low-dose antibiotics may be a viable option. If your UTIs are caused by low estrogen levels, laser therapy with the MonaLisa Touch can provide a long-term solution.
To find out more about UTI diagnosis or treatment, call Dr. Raber’s New Hyde Park office today, or make an appointment using the convenient online booking tool.