When To Seek Care
In general, UTIs present with the following symptoms:
- Pain and burning during urination
- Frequently feeling like you need to urinate
- Frequently feeling like you need to urinate after you just did
- Urine that is cloudy
- Urine with a strong odor
- Pressure and cramping in the lower belly
- Feeling weak or shaky
The sooner you can address these symptoms, the more likely youll avoid letting a UTI develop into a kidney infection. Though some people have beaten uncomplicated UTIs with fluids and supplements, like cranberry pills, Dr. Perlmutter says its best to call your doctor, get a urine culture and, if deemed necessary by your doctor, start a round of antibiotics.
Theres really no need to delay treatment since the majority of the time, fluids and antibiotics will easily knock out a UTI, he says.
If a UTI is treated early, there will likely be no lasting effect on your urinary tract. However, UTIs can cause complications if not found and treated quickly.
You should immediately call your doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms, as they could be signs of larger urinary tract problems:
- Blood in your urine
What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of Utis
UTIs can cause such signs as:
- pain, burning, or a stinging sensation when peeing
- an increased urge or more frequent need to pee
- waking up at night a lot to go to the bathroom
- belly pain in the area of the bladder
- foul-smelling pee that may look cloudy or contain blood
If you have any symptoms of a UTI, youll need to go to a doctor right away. The sooner you begin treatment, the less uncomfortable youll be. Call your doctors office or clinic. If you cant reach your doctor, you can visit an urgent care center or hospital emergency room. The most important thing is to take action as soon as possible.
Urinary Tract Infection Treatment
If you are a healthy adult man or a woman who is not pregnant, a few days of antibiotic pills will usually cure your urinary tract infection. If you are pregnant, your doctor will prescribe a medicine that is safe for you and the baby. Usually, symptoms of the infection go away 1 to 2 days after you start taking the medicine. Its important that you follow your doctors instructions for taking the medicine, even if you start to feel better. Skipping pills could make the treatment less effective.
Your doctor may also suggest a medicine to numb your urinary tract and make you feel better while the antibiotic starts to work. The medicine makes your urine turn bright orange, so dont be alarmed by the color when you urinate.
Read Also: Can A Urinary Tract Infection Kill You
Are Urinary Tract Infections Life Threatening
Untreated UTIs become more and more severe the further they spread. A UTI is usually easiest to treat in the lower urinary tract. An infection that spreads to the upper urinary tract is much more difficult to treat and is more likely to spread into your blood, causing sepsis. This is a life-threatening event.
How long can a UTI go untreated before it becomes serious?
How long does a UTI last untreated? Some UTIs will go away on their own in as little as 1 week. However, UTIs that do not go away on their own will only get worse over time. If you think you have a UTI, speak with a doctor about the best course of action.
How do I know if my UTI is serious?
Feeling pressure or even pain in your lower abdomen or your back may also be a sign. Other symptoms include foul-smelling urine, or if it is cloudy or even bloody. While having a UTI you might feel tired and experience fever or chills.
How do you know when a UTI is serious?
A kidney infection is, in essence, a UTI that has spread into the kidneys. While this type of infection is rare, its also very dangerous and if youre experiencing any of the following signs of a kidney infection, you should see a doctor immediately: Upper back or side pain. Fever, shaking or chills.
Bladder Infections Vs Other Utis
It is possible to have a more serious type of urinary tract infection that affects your upper urinary tract, a.ka. your kidneys. This typically happens as a result of an untreated UTI in your bladder.
A kidney infection causes symptoms like fever, nausea or vomiting, and one-sided back pain. It is serious and requires immediate medical intervention to avoid complications like scarring of the kidney.
You May Like: Urinary Incontinence And Lower Back Pain
You Can Get Help Without Going To A Doctors Office
In the past, receiving treatment for a UTI required scheduling an office visit and suffering through your symptoms until you can see a doctor. Now, telemedicine services like MDLIVE allow you can talk to a doctor via phone or videowherever you arein an average of 10 minutes or less. And if you need a prescription, you can have it in your hands that same day.
When it comes to UTIs, there are tests a doctor can run a urinalysis and culture, which can get quite expensive. However, if youre a healthy female between the ages of 18 and 65 with the symptoms of a UTI and without any complications, these tests most likely arent going to change the initial treatment a doctor prescribes, says Dr. Talbott.
If your doctor sees anything complicated in your symptoms, it does make sense to do a urinalysis and possibly other laboratory tests. But in a majority of cases, its reasonable to initiate treatment and forgo the cost and inconvenience of testing, and delay in treatment, because most of the time it wont change the antibiotic thats prescribed.
This makes telemedicine a more convenient and inexpensive way to get the treatment you need to minimize your discomfort and start feeling better, faster.*
How Do You Get Urinary Tract Infections
The design of the human body makes it so it isnt hard to get a bacterial UTI, because the infection comes from outside, through the urethra. Bacteria in the genital area can enter the urethra and the urinary tract, either because wiping after going to the bathroom, sexual activity, or unsanitary conditions. Once the bacteria have entered the urethra, the body tries fight them off, but sometimes the bacteria multiply and cause an infection.
In the case of a fungal infection, usually the fungus gets to the urinary tract through the blood stream. Those who develop this type of infection are usually ill with a disease that has compromised their immune system, such as AIDS.
In general, women get more UTIs than do men and this increases with age. Statistics show that many women get more than one. Almost 20% of women who have had one UTI will go on to have a second. Of this 20%, 30% of those will have a third, and in turn, 80% of these women will have more.
Read Also: How Can You Get A Urinary Tract Infection
Don’t Miss: Royal Canin Urinary Diet Feline
Can A Cat Get Over A Uti On Its Own
In addition to blood work or x-rays, we may also recommend treatment if the symptoms are severe. It is possible for some urinary tract infections to heal on their own, but antibiotics will be prescribed if necessary. It is best to follow all the instructions a vet gives you in order to prevent a relapse or re-intestinal infection.
Cut Bladder Irritants From Your Diet
When you have a UTI, caffeine, alcohol, spicy food, nicotine, carbonated drinks, and artificial sweeteners can irritate your bladder further, making it harder for your body to heal, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Focus on healthy foods, such as high-fiber carbohydrates , that are good for your digestive health, says Holly Lucille, ND, RN, a naturopathic doctor in private practice in West Hollywood, California, and the author of Creating and Maintaining Balance: A Womans Guide to Safe, Natural Hormone Health.
Recommended Reading: Urinary Incontinence Devices For The Elderly
Diagnose Your Uti Head To The Doctor
Suspect you have a UTI? A good idea is to find an OTC UTI test that you can take in the convenience of your own home. These UTI tests will give you fast results, and help your doctor make a quicker decision on whether or not antibiotics are necessary to treat your UTI, if that is the case. If you dont have an OTC UTI test available, head straight to the doctors office! Theres a chance your doctor will want you to have a full pelvic exam to check for other infections, because UTI and sexually transmitted infection symptoms are sometimes similar. Either way, its better to be safe than sorry! Be sure to use your at home test kit before taking any urinary pain relievers to avoid inaccurate results.
Things Women Need To Know About Utis
May 12, 2016
If youve ever had a urinary tract infection and if youre a woman, chances are you have you know theyre not fun. UTIs not only feature unpleasant symptoms, like an increased urge to urinate and a burning sensation when you do, but also a tendency to come back again and again. In fact, UTIs are the second most common type of infection in the body, leading to over 8 million visits to health care providers each year.1
Because urinary tract infections are also one of the most common conditions treated by MDLIVE doctors, we decided to speak to Dr. David Talbott, MDLIVEs VP of Physician Education and Quality Assurance, to find out what we should know.
Recommended Reading: How To Treat Urinary Infection In Babies
How Are Utis Treated And Prevented
A UTI is often a once-off illness that resolves quickly and responds to treatment with antibiotics if needed. However, for some people, UTIs are a recurring problem.
If you have repeated UTIs there are some self-help measures that may help prevent further infections:
- drink more fluids to help flush out bacteria
- urinate immediately after intercourse
- gently wipe from front to back after urinating
- wear cotton underwear and loose-fitting pants
- eat natural yoghurt to restore normal vaginal environment
- find an alternative method of birth control if you use spermicides
There is conflicting evidence for drinking cranberry juice to prevent UTIs. If you want to try cranberry products, ask your doctor for advice.
Dont Miss: Clove Essential Oil For Tooth Infection
Can Utis Resolve On Their Own
According to a 2014 study published in JAMA, UTIs can resolve on their own within one week without antibiotics in 25% to 50% of women with these infections.
The body can fight a urinary tract infection on its own by recruiting white blood cells to kill the bacteria, says Dr. Tharakan.
A UTI may resolve on its own if the infection is mild, or if you do not have a history of multiple past infections. A UTI may also resolve on its own if you take steps to clear bacteria from your urinary tract. This may include drinking more water than usual, urinating as soon as you feel the urge, and avoiding sprays, powders, and douches that can introduce bacteria to the urinary tract.
Many doctors advise against waiting for a UTI to resolve on its own, given how it can lead to complications if it doesnt go away. Complications of a UTI include:
You May Like: Persistent Urinary Tract Infections In The Elderly
Practice These Healthy Habits
Preventing urinary tract infections starts with practicing a few good bathroom and hygiene habits.
First, its important not to hold urine for too long. This can lead to a buildup of bacteria, resulting in infection .
Peeing after sexual intercourse can also reduce the risk of UTIs by preventing the spread of bacteria .
Additionally, those who are prone to UTIs should avoid using spermicide, as it has been linked to an increase in UTIs .
Finally, when you use the toilet, make sure you wipe front to back. Wiping from back to front can cause bacteria to spread to the urinary tract and is associated with an increased risk of UTIs .
Urinating frequently and after sexual intercourse can reduce the risk of UTI. Spermicide use and wiping from back to front may increase the risk of UTI.
Several natural supplements may decrease the risk of developing a UTI.
Here are a few supplements that have been studied:
- D-Mannose. D-Mannose is a type of sugar that is found in cranberries. Research suggests its effective in treating UTIs and preventing recurrence (
Why Antibiotics Sometimes Dont Work
Most UTIs arent serious. But if left untreated, the infection can spread up to the kidneys and bloodstream and become life threatening. Kidney infections can lead to kidney damage and kidney scarring.
Symptoms of a UTI usually improve within 2 to 3 days after starting antibiotic therapy. Many doctors prescribe an antibiotic for at least 3 days.
While this type of medication is the standard treatment, researchers are noticing that antibiotic-resistant bacteria are reducing the effectiveness of some antibiotics in treating UTIs.
Some UTIs dont clear up after antibiotic therapy. When an antibiotic medication doesnt stop the bacteria from causing an infection, the bacteria continue to multiply.
The overuse or misuse of antibiotics is often the reason for antibiotic resistance. This can happen when the same antibiotic is prescribed over and over again for recurrent UTIs. Because of this risk, experts have been looking for ways to treat UTIs without antibiotics.
Some research has shown that UTIs can be treated without traditional antibiotics by targeting E. colis surface component for adhesion, FimH.
Typically, the urinary tract flushes away bacteria when you urinate. But according to researchers, FimH can cause E. coli to firmly attach to the cells in the urinary tract. And because of this tight grip, its hard for the body to naturally flush the bacteria from the urinary tract.
Also Check: How To Heal Urinary Tract Infection Without Antibiotics
Do Baths Make A Uti Worse
If a woman already has a UTI, taking a bath or sitting in a hot tub can increase irritation. Harsh soaps for baths and abrasive chemicals used to keep hot tubs clean can also lead to irritation. Taking baths or sitting in hot tubs wont cause UTIs, but it can irritate the skin in the groin and disrupt the pH balance. This makes it easier for the infection to occur. Fans of hot tubs should avoid staying in wet bathing suits for extended periods of time, and fans of baths should be sure to pick out a pH-balanced soap.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Utis
If you have a UTI, you may:
- pass very small amounts of urine
- feel the need or urge to pass urine frequently
- feel that the bladder is still full after passing urine
- feel unwell with nausea and fever
- experience confusion
- have pain stinging or a burning feeling when urinating
- have smelly, cloudy, dark or blood in the urine
- pain in the lower back or sides or feel uncomfortable in your lower abdomen
Signs of UTIs in children can also include:
Read Also: Cystex Urinary Pain Relief Side Effects
Uti Treatment From Tufts Medical Center Community Care
Tufts Medical Center Community Care provides treatment for a range of common illnesses, such as UTIs. Our primary care physicians, family physicians, OB/GYNs and urologists are highly trained and experienced, and provide individualized care to patients of all ages. We have locations throughout the north suburban Boston area, so you wont need to travel too far to get the world-class care you deserve. Our centers are easily accessible, have ample parking and feature shorter-than-average wait times. We also offer both evening and weekend appointments for your convenience.
Contact the friendly staff at Tufts Medical Center Community Care today to schedule an appointment for UTI treatment. We accept most major health insurance plans.
myTuftsMed is our new online patient portal that provides you with access to your medical information in one place. MyTuftsMed can be accessed online or from your mobile device providing a convenient way to manage your health care needs from wherever you are.
With myTuftsMed, you can:
Cut Back On Meat And Poultry
Some studies, such as one published in August 2018 in the journal mBio, have linked contaminated poultry and meat to E.coli bacteria strains that can cause UTIs. These studies havent proven that eating meat or poultry causes UTIs. In fact, some E.coli can live in the intestines without causing any problems. However, bacteria from the gut can enter the urinary tract and cause infection. This risk is greater in women than men, because women have shorter urethras than men, meaning the bacteria has less distance to travel to reach the bladder.
Cutting back on meat and focusing on fruits and veggies may slightly cut your risk of UTIs. According to a study of Buddhists in Taiwan, published in January 2020 in Scientific Reports, compared with nonvegetarians, vegetarians had a 16 percent lower risk of UTI.
Related: Vegetarian Diet Linked to Lowered Risk Of Urinary Tract Infection
Don’t Miss: What Causes Urinary Retention In Elderly Females
How Are Utis Treated
UTIs are treated with antibiotics. After several days of antibiotics, your doctor may repeat the urine tests to be sure that the infection is gone. It’s important to make sure of this because an incompletely treated UTI can come back or spread.
If a child has severe pain when peeing, the doctor may also prescribe medicine that numbs the lining of the urinary tract.
Give prescribed antibiotics on schedule for as many days as your doctor directs. Keep track of your child’s trips to the bathroom, and ask your child about symptoms like pain or burning during peeing. These symptoms should improve within 2 to 3 days after antibiotics are started.
Encourage your child to drink plenty of fluids, but skip drinks that containe caffeine , such as soda and iced tea.
Most UTIs are cured within a week with treatment.