Myths and truths about UTIs

Sorry — cranberry juice won’t clear up your bladder infection.

The question

I have a bladder infection. If I drink enough water and cranberry juice, will it go away?

Urinary tract infections, also know as bladder infections or cystitis, are caused by bacterial contamination and infection of the normally sterile urine in the urinary bladder. These bacterial infections result in symptoms that may include a frequent and urgent need to urinate, burning while urinating, lower abdominal discomfort and blood in the urine.

Women are much more susceptible to UTIs than men because a woman’s urethra, the tube leading out from the bladder, is much shorter and thereby more subject to contamination. The cause of UTIs in women varies with age. Young girls may wipe the wrong way after a bowel movement, going from back to front and spreading excrement. The most common source of UTIs in adult women is sexual activity (sometimes nicknamed Honeymoon Cystitis). A woman may forget to urinate after having sex, and bacterial contamination from a woman’s bottom can migrate into the urethra and bladder, infecting any residual urine in the bladder. In senior men and women, incomplete emptying of the bladder may similarly result in bacterial overgrowth and infection.

To avoid getting a UTI, women must always: wipe from front to back after using the toilet, make sure to urinate immediately after sexual activity so as to flush away any bacteria and don’t “hold it in” at work or while on long car or plane trips.

Most UTIs are caused by bacteria that live in the colon, typically E. Coli, and can be effectively treated with antibiotics. A bladder anesthetic can also be prescribed or obtained over-the-counter to relieve the irritating symptoms of a UTI, but it won’t treat the infection. Drinking cranberry juice or trying to “flush out the infection” by drinking water will also not cure a bacterial UTI.

Men under 50 who experience burning while urinating are much more likely to have an STD and should consult a doctor immediately upon experiencing symptoms. For men over age 50, an enlarged prostate may prevent the bladder from fully emptying and contribute to development of a UTI.

Left untreated, cystitis may spread to the kidneys and blood stream. This systemic illness is called pyelonephritis and may result in fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, bleeding or, in severe cases when your body is overwhelmed by the bacteria, septic shock. If you experience UTI symptoms, see a doctor as soon as possible to avoid complications. Symptoms of STDs may mimic a UTI, so make sure your doctor checks you thoroughly.

— Mark Melrose, DO, is a board-certified emergency physician at Urgent Care Manhattan. E-mail him at  askdrmark@metro.us.

Metro does not endorse the opinions of the author, or any opinions expressed on its pages.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Dogs are capable of feeling jealousy - U.S.…

By Curtis Skinner(Reuters) - Dogs are a man's best friend, and research released on Wednesday says canines want to keep it that way.Dogs are capable…

Local

G train riders brace for five-week shutdown

G train service will be suspended between Brooklyn and Queens between Friday, July 25, and Tuesday, Sept. 2.

International

Peaches Geldof's death was drugs-related, coroner rules

LONDON (Reuters) - The death of Peaches Geldof, the daughter of musician and Band Aid founder Bob Geldof, was drugs-related, a coroner ruled on Wednesday.The…

Local

Family, supporters gather in Brooklyn for Eric Garner…

Family members gathered on Wednesday for the funeral of Eric Garner, who died shortly after police put him in a banned chokehold as they arrested him.

Going Out

Where to go drinking on National Tequila Day…

Thursday is just close enough to the end of the week to make you envision yourself already sunning on a beach towel or lounging by…

Going Out

Things to do in NYC this week: July…

Performing arts A 70’s Summer Night Friday, 6:30 p.m. The Green Building 452 Union St., Gowanus $35, 347-529-6473 Party like it’s summer in the 1970s…

Going Out

5 must-try dishes at Edible Manhattan's Good Beer

Rooting out the exotic amid the New York City bar scene is noble quest. But if you’d like to have it all come to you,…

Books

Art imitates life (almost) in David Shapiro's new…

David Shapiro talks about his book, "You're Not Much Use To Anyone."

NFL

Jerry Reese confident with Giants, skipping countdown clocks…

Last year, Giants GM Jerry Reese installed a countdown clock in the locker room to inspire Big Blue to play in their own stadium for Super Bowl XLVIII.

MLB

Brandon McCarthy finds his calling on Twitter

Yankees starter Brandon McCarthy joined Twitter three year ago for the same reason many people do: to get news quickly.

Sports

NBA great LeBron James sends 800 cupcake apologies…

By Kim PalmerCLEVELAND (Reuters) - NBA star LeBron James, whose recent return to the Cleveland Cavaliers in his home state of Ohio sparked a frenzy…

NFL

Fantasy football: Johnny Manziel could give your running…

Fantasy football: Johnny Manziel could give your running game a boost

Food

Recharge with a post-workout smoothie from Nicky Hilton

Some people can roll out of bed right as their alarm goes off. And that alarm isn’t set for 20 minutes before they have to…

Education

Colleges are increasingly embracing the concept of gender-neutral…

  Northwestern University recently made headlines after announcing that it would be installing two gender-neutral bathrooms in the university's student center. “These are two gender-open…

Career

How to prepare to interview for your dream…

    Congratulations! You landed a job interview at your dream company! A lot of hard work has gone into determining which companies to apply…

Style

The shirtdress is a summer must-have

  We love throwing on our boyfriend’s shirt and a pair of jeans (no matter how much he grumbles that it’s his turn to wear the…