“Do I have a Urinary Tract Infection?”
This is likely the very question that brought you to this page. We would like to help you answer that question in a timely manner. Here are the common symptoms of a UTI according to the Mayo Clinic:
- A strong, persistent urge to urinate
- A burning sensation when urinating
- Passing frequent, small amounts of urine
- Urine that appears cloudy
- Urine that appears red, bright pink or cola-colored — a sign of blood in the urine
- Strong-smelling urine
- Pelvic pain, in women — especially in the center of the pelvis and around the area of the pubic bone
You may not experience any symptoms at all. But if the above symptoms sound uncomfortably familiar, there’s an excellent chance you’re dealing with a UTI.
Now let’s back up just a little bit and discuss the details:
A UTI is an infection in any area of the urinary tract. This includes your kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. The infection is a result of bacteria entering the urethra and spreading to the bladder. Eventually it can spread into the kidneys and could be dangerous.
There are more specific symptoms related to the area of the urinary tract that is infected. You should contact the Urology Associates of South Bend right away if you’re experiencing any of the common symptoms, and especially the following:
- Urethra: burning urination and discharge
- Bladder: frequent and/or bloody urination, pelvic pressure, pain in the lower abdomen
- Kidneys: high fever with chills, nausea, vomiting, upper back and side pain
Both men and women can get UTIs. However, women are more prone to these infections because of the nearness of the urethra to the rectum. It is easier for potential bacteria from the rectum to make its way into the urethra. Additionally, both pregnancy and menopause raise the risk of contracting a UTI.
Other risk factors for both men and women include:
- Age: older adults and younger kids tend to be more at risk
- Poor hygiene: especially common among potty training children
- Sexual activity: most often after a new partner
- Previous urinary tract infections
- Structural anomalies: such as prostate enlargement
At this point, you may be fairly certain that you are suffering from a urinary tract infection. What now? Your very first course of action is to contact a urologist like one of the experts at Urology Associates of South Bend. It is important to visit your doctor to confirm that what you are experience is in fact a UTI and not another condition. Once the UTI is confirmed through discussion of symptoms, a physical examination, and a urine test if needed, your doctor will likely prescribe an antibiotic.
It is recommended that you take the antibiotic exactly as directed and drink plenty of water.
The ideal situation is to avoid a urinary tract infection altogether. Here are some tips for keeping bacteria away from where it doesn’t belong:
- Wipe from front to back (and teach potty training girls to do the same)
- Hydrate well and urinate often
- Urinate after sexual intercourse
- Limit feminine products such as sprays, douches, and powders
- Shower instead of taking baths
- Avoid certain birth control methods such as diaphragms and spermicide-treated condoms
Read More: What Do Urologists Do?