Staying on Top of Women’s Health Issues

Anyone at any age can have a urinary tract infection (UTI), but they are most commonly diagnosed in women.  It’s estimated that half of all women will have a UTI in their lifetime, and one in five women will experience recurrent UTIs.  It’s important to know when you have a UTI because an infection that isn’t treated can result in more serious complications requiring hospitalization.

Women are most susceptible to UTIs – especially older, post-menopausal women.

“Women are more susceptible to UTIs based on a woman’s anatomy,” said women’s health expert Dr. Michelle Takase-Sanchez, a staff physician at Community Memorial Health System.  “Those most at risk are women and especially older, post-menopausal women.”  Dr. Takase-Sanchez specializes in urogynecology and is affiliated with Santa Rosa Health Center and San Buenaventura Urology Center.

Signs and Symptoms

Classic symptoms of a UTI include burning when urinating, sensing an urgency and increased frequency to go, incomplete bladder emptying, and lower abdominal pain and discomfort.  Those with UTI might also feel like they have to urinate but little or nothing comes out.  Classic signs of a UTI include blood in the urine, a strong odor of the urine, cloudiness of the urine, and a fever.  A UTI is diagnosed with a simple urine culture and is treated with antibiotics.

Anyone experiencing symptoms of a UTI is encouraged to consult their physician as soon as possible in order to avoid further complications.

“Anyone feeling these symptoms or seeing these signs should see their doctor or a specialist for a diagnosis.  Symptoms should not be ignored because you could hurt your kidneys or urinary tract,” says Dr. Takase-Sanchez.  She noted that these symptoms could also be from a different medical condition, so it’s best to investigate with your doctor.  “Recurrent UTIs especially need to be investigated,” she added.  “Anyone who has had more than two UTIs within six months or three within 12 months should see their doctor.”

Prevention Tips

  1. Good hydration – Drink lots of water!
  2. High concentration cranberry supplements (not cranberry juice) may be helpful.
  3. Topical estrogen may also help.