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What are some reasons why E. coli could be present in urine?

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Quick Answer

E. coli, bacteria located in the digestive tract, is present in urine during a urinary tract infection, Mayo Clinic says. Women are at a higher risk of contracting an infection of the bladder, for which E. coli is mainly responsible.

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Though E. coli is a mostly harmless bacterium that lives in the gastrointestinal tract, it can spread to other parts of the body and cause infections. People who find E. coli in urine are typically suffering from a urinary tract infection, Mayo Clinic says. Raw milk and raw fruits and vegetables can lead to an infection, WebMD says, as can interacting with someone who did not wash his hands properly after using the bathroom.

Typically, E. coli makes its way from the gastrointestinal system to the urethra and then to the bladder, causing a bladder infection. Sex may lead to these infections as well. Due to their anatomy, women contract this type of UTI more often than men, Mayo Clinic asserts. Some strains of E. coli can lead to anemia and kidney failure.

Most doctors prescribe antibiotics, such as ampicillin and amoxicillin, to treat UTIs. Minor UTIs caused by E. coli may clear up in just a few days, Mayo Clinic says. Patients may also take a pain medication to relieve the burning sensation while urinating.

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