Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections

Urinary tract infections are infections involving the bladder and the urethra. These infections often go unrecognized and the body can clear them without medications. In some situations, the immune system, genetics and the hormonal state of the patient do not allow for adequate clearing thus infections causing discomfort and foul smelling urine and new onset frequency (need to urinate often) will appear. If these infections are not treated, they could in some situations lead to infections involving the kidneys. This is called pyelonephritis (pie-LO-nef-rie-TIS). Treatment usually involves intravenous antibiotics but in some situations oral medications, depending on the condition of the patient. Physicians prefer to prevent infections from reaching the kidneys and treat infections before they have the potential for causing systemic spread. Patients with urinary tract infections that have been diagnosed and proven by urine culture (where the urine is tested and checked for growth of bacteria over a three day period). Urinalysis (where urine is dipped and checked for white blood cells or blood or nitrites which some bacteria produce) is often not accurate in diagnosing an infection. It is important to identify the bacteria when treating an infection because some antibiotics don't work for all types of bacteria, especially if resistance to the treatment exists (bacteria is not affected by the antibiotic because of recurrent need for antibiotics). When a patient has more than three infections in a one year period, she is diagnosed with what is known as recurrent urinary tract infections.

To ensure that you are adequately taken care of, our Urogynecologists will often want to inspect your bladder and urethra and possibly your whole urinary tract system to ensure that only treatment with antibiotics is what will get your infections under control. There are times when your physician will work hand in hand with infectious specialists if your treatment is requiring specific antibiotic therapy. 

Treatment options