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.
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According To Urologists It Could Take A Weeklonger If You Have A Severe Case Or Certain Underlying Conditions
Joni Sweet is a freelance writer and editor who specializes in travel, health, and wellness. Her work has been published by Health, SELF, Healthline, National Geographic, Forbes, Lonely Planet, Thrillist, and dozens of other publications. When shes not traveling the world, she can be found practicing yoga, riding her bike, and looking for the best vegetarian food in the Hudson Valley.
Symptoms of a urinary tract infection can feel like they go on forever. After all, time doesnât exactly move at a fast clip when youâre constantly running to the bathroom and it feels like youâre peeing red-hot razor blades. But how long does a typical UTI last?
The answer: It depends. If youâve got a UTI in your bladder , youâre looking at anywhere from one to seven days, said Jennifer A. Linehan, MD, a urologist and associate professor of urologic oncology at the Saint Johnâs Cancer Institute at Providence Saint Johnâs Health Center in Santa Monica, California.
âBut if you have a kidney infection, it will take 14 days to treat,â added Dr. Linehan.
Letâs take a closer look at how long it takes for a UTI to clear up, along with some tips on finding relief ASAP.
When To See A Doctor For A Uti
Always go to your primary care physician immediately if there is blood in the urine, if you have a fever, and/or low back pain with your UTI symptoms, says Dr. Sajdak. UTIs can move fast so its better to go to your PCP sooner than later.
Although natural remedies can be beneficial for alleviating UTI symptoms and preventing recurrent UTIs, they are unlikely to beeffective in treating the infection.
If symptoms still persist after three days then it is time to move on to antibiotics, says Ivy Branin, ND, a naturopathic doctor in New York City who specializes in womens health. I often recommend a patient to see their doctor for a UA and a prescription for antibiotics just in case and to fill it if they have no improvement after three days.
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What If I Don’t Go To The Doctor
What happens when UTIs are left untreated? Contrary to popular belief, your immune system is often able to clear a UTI on its own. Studies have found that 25-42% of women are able to recover from an uncomplicated UTI without antibiotics.
But that means a majority of UTIs do not go away on their own. If left untreated, they can lead to continued discomfort and other more serious health issues, such as kidney damage or a severe infection. Therefore, treatment is recommended.
“Physicians tailor care plans to each patient, and there is no sole treatment for everyone,” says Stanford physician Kim Chiang, MD. During your visit, feel free to ask in-depth questions, particularly if a non-recommended antibiotic is prescribed.
This is the fifth post in the series Understanding UTIs. The goal of this seven-part series is to provide easy-to-understand, scientifically grounded information about UTIs. Patients referenced are composites, compiled from actual patient experiences.Data on medications used for UTIs were extracted from the National Disease and Therapeutic Index, a nationally representative physician survey produced by IQVIA.
Do You Need To See A Doctor To Get Antibiotics For A Uti
You need to speak with your doctor or a licensed medical professional to be prescribed antibiotics for a UTI. This can usually be done in person, at the doctor, or over the phone.
If this is your first UTI or your symptoms are severe, it may be helpful to get treated in person. You may also want to consider an in-person visit with your healthcare professional to rule out sexually transmitted infections if you are sexually active or have multiple sexual partners.
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Do I Really Have To See A Doctor For A Uti
It may seem unnecessary to see a doctor for such a common illness. Why not just let it go and treat it on your own? Dr. Elizabeth Rice, a licensed naturopathic doctor and primary care physician at Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine, has tips for natural treatments, but says you always have to be careful. A partially treated or mistreated UTI can quickly become a serious condition known as pyelonephritis , so care must always be taken when treating UTIs naturally.
If youre just starting to feel or see potential UTI symptoms, you can try a few natural remedies to try to flush out the bacteria and reduce inflammation before the infection really takes hold, Rice says. Increase your intake of fluids to help flush the bladder. But if the symptoms persist more than a day, or get worse, you have to go to the doctor.
Going to the doctor may be a bit annoying, but a UTI that morphs into a kidney infection is way worse than an afternoon in the waiting room. Kidney infections can lead to potentially life-threatening sepsis or permanent kidney damage. Seeing a doctor to prescribe antibiotics may ultimately help you avoid a lifetime of medical complications.
You know your body best, so listen to it. You may not run to the doctor after one weird-feeling pee. If you start to have mild symptoms, here are a few natural choices that may help you out.
Causes Of Urinary Tract Infections
Urinary tract infections are usually caused by bacteria from poo entering the urinary tract.
The bacteria enter through the tube that carries pee out of the body .
Women have a shorter urethra than men. This means bacteria are more likely to reach the bladder or kidneys and cause an infection.
Things that increase the risk of bacteria getting into the bladder include:
do not use scented soap
do not hold your pee in if you feel the urge to go
do not rush when going for a pee try to fully empty your bladder
do not wear tight, synthetic underwear, such as nylon
do not drink lots of alcoholic drinks, as they may irritate your bladder
do not have lots of sugary food or drinks, as they may encourage bacteria to grow
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Drink Plenty Of Water
Although urinating can be painful when you have a UTI, its important to drink as many fluids as possible particularly water. Most adults should aim to drink between six and eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day.
The more you drink, the more youll urinate, which can help flush harmful bacteria from the urinary tract.
Why Are Females At A Higher Risk For Utis
People with female reproductive organs are at a higher risk for UTIs because of their anatomy. The female urethra, the tube which empties urine from your bladder out of your body, is shorter than someone born with male anatomy.
The female urethra is also quite close to female reproductive organs. That means bacteria from sexual intercourse as well as products like spermicide can be in close contact with the urethra and bladder.
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Relief Without A Prescription
An over-the-counter drug called phenazopyridine can help ease your pain, burning, and irritation. It also controls your need to pee frequently and urgently.
But there’s a catch. It only works on your symptoms. It doesn’t cure your infection. You still need to see your doctor to make sure you get treatment to fight the bacteria that’s causing your UTI.
Also, one common side effect: It turns your pee dark red or orange while you take it.
How To Prevent Utis
Additionally, there are a few general lifestyle behaviors you can practice to help prevent UTIs before they occur, including:
- When you feel like you have to urinate, go don’t hold it.
- After urinating and especially after a bowel movement, wipe from front to back to prevent bacteria from entering your urethra.
- Urinate before and after having sex.
- Avoid using scented soaps, bubble baths, or douches.
- Avoid tight pants.
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/8cranberries May Help Prevent Utis
Although there is no conclusive research to suggest cranberries can treat or prevent UTI, some studies have indicated that unsweetened cranberry juice, cranberry supplements, or dried cranberries can reduce the risk of UTIs.
This is because cranberries contain proanthocyanidins , which may stop bacteria from sticking to your urinary tract lining.
Do I Need To See A Doctor
Yes. Painful urination can be a symptom of a more serious problem. You should tell your doctor about your symptoms and how long youve had them. Tell your doctor about any medical conditions you have, such as diabetes mellitus or AIDS, because these could affect your bodys response to infection. Tell your doctor about any known abnormality in your urinary tract, and if you are or might be pregnant. Tell your doctor if youve had any procedures or surgeries on your urinary tract. He or she also need to know if you were recently hospitalized or stayed in a nursing home.
Seeking Medical Treatment For A Uti
Water Is Your Best Friend
When you first notice burning when you use the restroom, its tempting to reduce your water intake. After all, that will prevent the pain, right?
It seems counter-intuitive, but you need to flush out your system. You should drink plenty of water to help your body remove the E. Coli. Dont overdo it, but drink as much water as possible in those crucial first 24 hours.
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Related Conditions And Causes Of Uti
There are a number of health conditions that share some symptoms with urinary tract infections, including:
The following conditions may make you more susceptible to developing a UTI and increase the severity of symptoms:
Type 2 diabetes
And having a UTI can increase a manâs risk for benign prostatic hyperplasia .
When To See A Doctor For Your Uti
If your symptoms persist beyond a few days with no sign of improvement, or if your infection keeps recurring, its best to see a doctor. While many home remedies may ease symptoms if they persist your doctor will be able to determine the cause and prescribe a course of antibiotics that should help take care of your UTI right away and prevent it from leading to a worsening condition or infection.
Have you tried any of the above natural remedies for UTIs, or other home treatments to treat your urinary tract infection? Tell us about them in the comments below!
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Most Women With Uti Will Be Treated With Antibiotics
About half of all women will have a urinary tract infection at some point in their lifetime, and most will be treated with antibiotics to eliminate the infection.
While these medications have long been the standard treatment for a UTI, concerns about unnecessary antibiotic use and the growing problem of antibiotic resistance have raised questions about whether the drugs are always needed. Without antibiotic treatment, will a UTI go away on its own?
First, it helps to understand what a UTI is. UTI is classified into two broad categories, uncomplicated, also known as cystitis, and complicated, such as pyelonephritis, catheter-associated, UTI during pregnancy and UTI in setting of kidney stone.
When bacteria invade the urethra and track upwards to the bladder, it causes infection and inflammation in a normally sterile environment. In most cases, UTIs are caused by E. coli bacteria normally found in the bowels that venture out to an area in our body where it is not used to being.
A mild UTI causes symptoms, including painful urination, constantly feeling the need to urinate and cramping pain in the lower abdomen. In the elderly population, a mild UTI can even cause confusion. Symptoms from a complicated UTI include fever, lower back pain, blood in urine, and even pus in urine.
Can you treat a UTI without antibiotics?
While some UTIs may go away without antibiotic treatment, Dr. Pitis cautions against foregoing antibiotics.
Understanding UTI symptoms
- Blood in your urine
Take An Otc Pain Reliever
Over-the-counter pain medications can temporarily relieve pain caused by a UTI. Use caution here, and always speak with a doctor first, as some UTIs can turn into kidney infections. In these cases, patients should avoid taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , which could make the infection worse.
Treatment Of Bladder Urinary Tract Infections
The specific intervention depends on the severity of the symptoms. In many instances, healthy patients who have a urinary tract infection but have no symptoms require no treatment at all. Such asymptomatic UTIs typically resolve within two to three days.
If urinary tract infection symptoms are presentsuch as a burning sensation during urination or an increased need to urinatetreatment usually consists of antibiotic medications, which are prescribed for three to 14 days. They include:
- Trimethoprim: Trimethoprim is the standard treatment for urinary tract infections in otherwise-healthy adults. It is one of the more potent UTI antibiotics, so most patients only require a three-day course. Trimethoprim is generally well-tolerated with few side effects, which generally include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea/constipation or stomach pain.
- Nitrofurantoin: Nitrofurantoin is the second most commonly prescribed antibiotic for bladder UTIs. It usually requires a longer course than trimethroprim , and is usually well tolerated but should not be taken by anyone with kidney disease. Side effects include nausea and vomiting.
- Cephalosporins: Cephalosporins are often used as a first-line of treatment in patients that have upper urinary tract infections involving the ureters or kidneys. It is usually taken for seven to 10 days. Side effects include nausea, vomiting, upset stomach and diarrhea.
Have A Good Sexual Hygiene
Sexual intercourse can invite some bacteria and other microbes to the urinary tract. So, having good sexual hygiene will help reduce the risk of lower urinary tract infections. To get good sexual hygiene, you can
urinate before and after sex
wash the genitals, especially the foreskin, after sexual acts or intercourse
use barrier contraception, which includes condoms
ensure that the sexual partners are aware of the current and past UTIs
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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 someone has a lot of pain from a UTI, the doctor may recommend a medicine to help relieve the spasm and pain in the bladder. This will turn pee a bright orange color, but it’s harmless and will usually make a person much more comfortable within hours. In the case of a kidney infection, a doctor may prescribe pain medicine.
If you’ve finished all the medicine or if your symptoms aren’t much better after 2 to 3 days of treatment, contact your doctor.
Drink lots of water during and after treatment because each time you pee, the bladder cleanses itself a little bit more. Cranberry juice may also be helpful. Skip drinks that containe caffeine , such as soda and iced tea.
People who get a doctor’s help for a UTI right away should be clear of symptoms within a week. Someone with a more severe infection may need treatment in a hospital so they can get antibiotics by injection or IV .
A doctor may tell people with UTIs to avoid sex for a week or so, which lets the inflammation clear up completely.