08 July, 2011
Is Low Potassium Associated With UTIs?
Urinary tract infections -- or UTIs -- can be a painful experience. When caught early, however, UTIs are easily treated with antibiotics and are rarely life-threatening. Low levels of potassium, on the other hand, can be associated with a number of more serious conditions, including chronic kidney failure. There is no evidence to support the idea that low potassium levels are associated with UTIs.
Urinary Tract Infection
Urinary tract infections are common bacterial infections that affect women 10 times more frequently than men, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. UTIs can affect any portion of your urinary system including your kidneys, bladders, ureters or urethra. Pain and burning during urination, foul smelling urine, cloudy urine, pink-colored urine, pelvic pain, rectal pan, abdominal pain. the frequent urge to urinate, passing small amounts of urine at a time, chills, fever, nausea and vomiting are signs of an urinary tract infection. These infections must be treated by a doctor to prevent the infection from spreading to your kidneys. They are typically diagnosed with a urine sample. Once diagnosis is confirmed, you will be provided with an antibiotic to clear up your infection.
UTIs are caused by the spread of bacteria into your urinary system. This can occur in a number of ways due to a variety of risk factors. Having diabetes, being pregnant, being a female and having a history of urinary tract infections can make you more prone to this condition. Being sexually active -- with a new partner, multiple partners, having intercourse frequently and the intensity of intercourse -- can also increase your risk of UTIs. Holding your urine for too long, wiping from back to front after urination and certain birth control pills can also lead to UTIs.
Potassium is important in the daily functioning of your body including the function of your muscle cells -- especially your heart -- and your nerves. MayoClinic.com indicates potassium levels should be between 3.6 and 4.8 mEq/L. Potassium levels below 2.5 mEq/L can be life-threatening Symptoms of low potassium include feeling tired, weakness, muscle cramping, constipation and an irregular heart beat. Potassium levels can be measured through urine or blood tests.
Causes of Low Potassium
There are a number of causes of low potassium. Potassium is most commonly lost through urination or through the digestive tract as the result of numerous conditions. These conditions can include chronic kidney failure, eating disorders, including anorexia and bulimia, excessive use of laxatives, diarrhea, use of water pills, vomiting, diabetic acidosis, low magnesium levels, acute tubular necrosis and Cushing's syndrome.
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