The urinary tract consists of the bladder, kidneys, ureters and urethra. Urinary tract infections occur when bacteria, most commonly E. coli (escherichia coli), enters the urethra, the tube through which urine is expelled from the body, and multiplies within the urinary system. Symptoms include urge to frequently urinate without being able to do so, a burning sensation during urination, dark urine, blood in urine and leaking urine. In more severe cases, symptoms also include vomiting, fever, abdominal pain and back pain.
Doctors diagnose Urinary Tract Infections via urine samples. Typically, antibiotics will be prescribed for 1 to 2 days.
According the LiveStrong.com, urinary tract infections are most common in sexually active women. However, both men and women are cautioned to take preventive measures during sexual activity.
Practice safe sex to prevent the spread of sexually-transmitted bacteria such as chlamydia and mycoplasma, which can cause UTIs. If using diaphragms or condoms containing spermicide, opt for an alternative form of birth control. These can irritate the urethra and push bacteria up into the bladder. To avoid irritation and the spread of bacteria in the urethra, put a small amount of a water-based lubricant such as K-Y Jelly on the genitals immediately before sex, providing smoother movement and a protective layer of moisture during sex.
Avoid sexual positions that hurt or irritate the urethra or bladder as this may lead to infection. Before sex, urinate and gently wash genitals to help purge the body of any lingering bacteria. Within 15 minutes after sex, urinate and wash the genitals once again. Always wipe from front to back when cleaning genitals. Do not use scented hygiene products or douches, both of which irritate the urethra.
According to the National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse, 80 percent of women experience a recurrent urinary tract infection within 18 months of their last infection. For recurring infections, doctors may prescribe a low dose antibiotic such as nitrofurantoin or TMP/SMZ to be taken daily over the course of several months. This will help prevent several different forms of the bacteria from staying within the urinary tract.