November 20, 2008

Half of women subject to urinary infection

Half of all women will develop a urinary tract infection, or UTI, in their lifetimes, a U.S. expert says.

The annoying, but easy-to-treat, ailment occurs when a bacterial infection flares up in the urinary tract, says Dr. Philippe Zimmern, a urologist at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.

Women should seek treatment immediately after symptoms are detected, Zimmern says. Symptoms of a UTI can include frequent and urgent urges to urinate, sharp pain during urination and cloudy urine, however, soreness may also be felt in the lower abdomen, back or sides.

Zimmern says proper diagnosis and treatment by a physician is important to ensure an infection is treated correctly and does not spread to the kidneys. Antibiotics are often prescribed.

Good personal hygiene can aid prevention -- women should wipe from front to back and wash daily. Washing the body before and after sex can also decrease UTI risk, Zimmern suggests.