Urinary tract infection (UTI) is a common problem, especially for women. If not treated properly and at the appropriate time, it can lead to serious problems and pain.
What is a UTI?
A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection of the kidneys, ureters, bladder, or urethra. The lower urinary tract is the site of the majority of infections (bladder and urethra).
The infection that is restricted to your bladder can be provoking and painful. However, it can have serious consequences if it spreads to the kidneys.
What Are the Symptoms of a UTI?
The most common symptoms of a UTI are:
- Lower-abdominal pain
- Discomfort when passing urine (typically described as a burning, stinging pain)
- Passing urine more frequently
- An urge to pass urine
- Smelly or cloudy urine
How Long Does a UTI Last?
Mild UTIs usually resolve within a few days if promptly treated with antibiotics. However, sometimes they return – a condition known as recurrent urinary tract infections (RUTIs). Although there are few studies on RUTIs, one found that 27% of women ages 17 to 39 experienced a second UTI within six months of the first, and 3% experienced a third UTI within another six months.
Why do UTIs Reoccur?
Recurrent UTIs are genetically predisposed in some women. For example, if your mother or sister has this issue, you’re more likely to have it as well.
The risks vary depending on your age. One recent study found that recurrence happens 16-36% in premenopausal women and 55% in post-menopausal women.
What Are the Risk Factors for a UTI?
Some people are more likely to get a UTI than others. Women using diaphragms for birth control are at higher risk. As a result of changes in the immune system caused by high sugar levels, people with diabetes have a higher risk of infection. Any abnormality of the urinary tract that blocks the flow of urine, such as kidney stones, increases the risk for an infection. UTIs may occur in infants who are born with abnormalities of the urinary tract, but this can be corrected with surgery in some cases.
When Should You See a Doctor?
You should check with your doctor if your symptoms do not improve within a few days or if they recur after treatment. You should also see your doctor if you have blood in your urine, if you’ve never had a UTI before, or if you’re pregnant and experience symptoms.
Which Specialist Should You See if You Have a UTI?
You should see a primary care physician if you suspect you may have a UTI. A diagnosis of a UTI is often made after a routine urine examination requested by a physician. Fortunately, most UTIs are treated by antibiotics. However, recurrent UTIs warrant specialist care; your primary care physician can refer you to a urologist for further care.
How to Prevent UTIs?
Here are some tips on preventing UTIs:
- Drink two to three liters of fluids every day.
- Make sure to get enough vitamin C in your diet. It makes your urine acidic, which decreases bacteria.
- Try to void urine at 2-3 hour intervals.
- Try voiding urine before bedtime and after intercourse.
- Try to cleanse the genital area with water before sexual intercourse.
- Avoid the usage of feminine hygiene sprays and scented douches, as they may irritate the urethra.
- When using the restroom, wipe from front to back to prevent bacteria from reaching the urethra.
- Keep away from bubble baths and other chemicals in bathwater.
- Maintain good vaginal muscle tone.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Urinary Tract Disorders in Sarasota, Florida
If you’re looking for a highly qualified family medicine provider and a medical practice that can take care of all your health care needs, call Intercoastal Medical Group today for an appointment at the location nearest you or request one online. We have family practitioners at all of our campuses, and we look forward to providing you and your family with the best care.