Urinary Tract Infection (cont.)

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Is it possible to prevent a urinary tract infection?

Women and girls should wipe from front to back (not back to front) after bowel movements. This helps prevent bacteria from the anus entering the urethra.

Empty the bladder regularly and completely, especially after sexual intercourse.

Drink plenty of fluids. Cranberry juice, especially, has been shown to help prevent urinary tract infections. There is evidence that cranberries reduce the risk of the bacteria's adhesion to bladder cells.

What is the prognosis of a urinary tract infection?

For people with uncomplicated cystitis or pyelonephritis, antibiotic treatment usually brings complete resolution of the infection.

If not treated promptly, urinary tract infections can cause permanent scarring of the urinary tract.

Pyelonephritis, if not treated promptly, can spread to the bloodstream and cause a very severe infection.

  • Short-term and long-term kidney damage can be a result of pyelonephritis.
  • Death from pyelonephritis is rare in otherwise healthy people.
  • Factors associated with poor outcome are old age or general debility, kidney stones, recent hospitalization, diabetes, sickle cell disease, cancer, or chronic kidney disease.


Shaikh, N., N.E. Morone, J. Lopez, J. Chianese, S. Sangvai, F. D'Amico, A. Hoberman A, and E.R. Wald. "Does This Child Have a Urinary Tract Infection?" JAMA 298.24 Dec. 26, 2007 : 2895-2904.

St. John, A., J.C. Boyd, A.J. Lowes, and C.P. Price. "The Use of Urinary Dipstick Tests to Exclude Urinary Tract Infection: A Systematic Review of the Literature." Am J Clin Pathol 126.3 Sept. 2006: 428-436.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/9/2015

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