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.
What Is A Urinary Tract Infection
A urinary tract infection is an infection of the urinary system. This type of infection can involve your urethra , kidneys or bladder, .
Your urine typically doesnt contain bacteria . Urine is a byproduct of our filtration systemthe kidneys. When waste products and excess water is removed from your blood by the kidneys, urine is created. Normally, urine moves through your urinary system without any contamination. However, bacteria can get into the urinary system from outside of the body, causing problems like infection and inflammation. This is a urinary tract infection .
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.*
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What Are Some Of The Symptoms Of A Uti
The common symptoms of a UTI could include pain or burning sensation during urination. You could also experience a frequent or intense urge to urinate, and sometimes very little comes out. More serious symptoms could include pain or pressure in your back or lower abdomen, feeling tired or shaky, fevers or chills.
Symptoms That Show You Are Suffering From A Uti
As earlier mentioned, some of the symptoms mimic those of a sexually transmitted infection. However, it is best to see your gynecologist if experiencing any of the following symptoms. This is essential in order to ascertain the problem and get treatment. These symptoms include:
- When one pees, experiencing a burning sensation
- Frequently having a pressing need to pee, and sometimes the very little is released when one goes to the bathroom
- The urine is characterized by a bloody, cloudy, dark appearance and will smell strange
- Having the shakes and feeling fatigued
- If the infection has affected your kidneys, you may experience chills or fever
- Experiencing pressure or pain on your lower abdomen or back
Treatment Of Urinary Tract Infections
A physician will likely take a urine sample to verify if a person has a urinary tract infection. A laboratory will check this urine sample for the presence of bacteria that cause the infection.
If the doctor suspects a person is experiencing frequent infections because of an abnormality in the urinary tract, he or she may order imaging of the urinary tract. This might include an ultrasound or computerized tomography scan. The doctor also might perform a cystoscopy, which is using a scope to look inside the urethra and bladder.
If a physician thinks the most likely cause of urinary symptoms is a UTI, he or she might prescribe antibiotics immediately to fight the infection. Whatever the root cause of the infection, several treatment options are available.
Urinary Tract Infections In Adults
At NYU Langone, doctors specialize in diagnosing and managing urinary tract infections, or UTIs, in adults. The second most common type of infection, a UTI occurs when bacteria enter the urethra, the tube that carries urine out of the body. This leads to an infection that can cause pain, burning, and other problems with urination. Sometimes, a UTI can lead to a kidney infection.
Our urologists work with adults to cure UTIs and help prevent them from recurring.
Signs And Symptoms Of A Uti
The signs and symptoms are a bit different for an infant compared to an older child. In the urology clinic, we are most concerned when UTI symptoms include a fever and involve the upper urinary tract . However, your child should still see their doctor for possible treatment if they are experiencing any of these symptoms.
UTI signs and symptoms for infants or young children:
- Fever . The fever should not be associated with flu, cold or other illness. In a young infant, a fever may be the only indicator.
- Poor feeding
- Unexplained fussiness
Signs and symptoms of a UTI in older children, which tend to be more common and can include any single or combination of the following:
- Painful or burning feeling during urination
- Stomach pain and vomiting
- Urinary urgency
- Blood in the urine
- Back pain .
- Bedwetting or daytime wetting in a child that is otherwise toilet trained
- Foul smelling or cloudy appearing urine
When Should I Call A Doctor For A Urinary Tract Infection
Sometimes, the bodys natural immune system fights off the infection quickly without medical intervention. Most urinary tract infections, however, will not resolve themselves, and they can become severe quickly. If symptoms persist for more than a few days, its a good idea to speak with a doctor and begin taking antibiotics. There are some over-the-counter test strips that can help identify the presence of bacteria in the urine if you wish to check for an infection before pursuing medical care.
If your primary symptom is frequent urination accompanied by burning, you may wish to try an over-the-counter remedy for a few days. Beware, however, that drugs like AZO can suppress the symptoms of a UTI without treating its cause, which may actually worsen the infection. Always use caution when using any home remedies without antibiotics.
If you develop lower back pain or pelvic pain in conjunction with a fever or nausea, be sure to get medical assistance right away. These are signs of a severe infection that has spread to the kidneys. Left untreated, this infection may cause kidney damage and ultimately lead to kidney failure. It could also release the bacteria into your bloodstream, leading to a life-threatening infection.
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Sex May Cause Utis But Its Not The Only Culprit
The urinary tract is designed to keep bacterial microorganisms outbut its not foolproof. Anything that upsets the natural flora of the urinary tract can lead to a urinary tract infection. Sex especially puts a woman at risk for developing a UTI, since during intercourse the urethra comes into contact with bacteria from the genital area or anus that can move into the urinary tract. In fact, almost 80% of premenopausal women with an infection have had sex within the previous 24 hours.
But there are other pre-existing conditions, activities, and products that can lead to a UTI. Some of the most common causes include:
Other reasons youre likely to develop a UTI involve urinary tract abnormalities, a spinal cord injury, nerve damage around the bladder, and having a shorter urethra than normal. Getting a urinalysis to examine the urine for the number of healthy red blood cells and healthy white blood cells, as opposed to bacteria counts in your urine, can help further determine a root cause of recurring UTIs.
Test Yourself At Home
Again, a simple home test kit of inexpensive urine strips can help determine whether you have a UTI and save you a lot of trouble. Keep a container of these in your first aid kit, along with a thermometer and other basic supplies.
Of course, visit your doctor as soon as you suspect that something is amiss. You may need antibiotics before the infection can clear up.
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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.
Questions To Ask Your Doctor
- Do I need any tests, such as urinalysis?
- What is the likely cause of my urinary tract infection ?
- Do I need medicine? How should I take it?
- What are the possible side effects of the medicine?
- When should I expect relief from my symptoms?
- What symptoms would indicate that my infection is getting worse? What should I do if I experience these symptoms?
- I get UTIs a lot. What can I do to prevent them?
- Do I need preventive antibiotics? If so, should I be concerned about antibiotic resistance?
- My child gets UTIs a lot. Could an anatomical problem be causing his or her UTIs?
Urinary Tract Infections: Signs Symptoms And When To See The Doctor
Working in the Division of Pediatric Urology at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, I see many kids who have experienced a urinary tract infection . Did you know UTIs are relatively common in children? Its not just an infection you get as a teenager or adult. About eight percent of girls and two percent of boys will experience a UTI by the time they are seven years old. Kids with one or more serious UTIs, which are associated with fever, are at risk for scarring their kidneys. Kidneys that are scarred can lose the ability to function properly. In this blog post, Ill talk about what a UTI is, the signs and symptoms and when its appropriate to call your childs doctor.
Next week Ill blog about how to prevent urinary tract infections and provide simple tips, like wearing proper clothing, teaching your child how to wipe and more.
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.
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The Pain Has Become Unbearable What Can You Do
If you either have started taking the antibiotic and it hasnt kicked in yet or you havent gotten to the doctor yet, the pain may still be causing you a lot of discomfort. There are plenty of over-the-counter medications that you can take to relieve the symptoms while youre waiting for your antibiotic to work its magic. Simply consult with your doctor on which option they recommend and pick it up at your nearest drugstore.
What Causes A Uti
A UTI occurs when bacteria infect the urinary tract, causing irritation and inflammation. Most UTIs are caused by E. coli, a bacterium that normally resides in the gut but can get displaced from the rectum to the urethra after a bowel movement.
And after an infection takes hold in the urinary tract, it can then progress to the bladder and even the kidneys.
UTIs are more common in women than in men because a woman’s urethra is much shorter making it easier for bacteria to not only become relocated there but to move through and into the bladder as well.
To help prevent a UTI, always be sure to wipe from front to back never the other way around while using the restroom.
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Whats The Difference Between A Urinary Tract Infection And Bladder Infection
A urinary tract infection is a more general type of infection. There are many parts of your urinary tract. A UTI is a term for an infection that takes place throughout the urinary tract. A bladder infection, also called cystitis, is a specific infection. In this infection, bacteria makes its way into the bladder and causes inflammation.
Not all urinary tract infections become bladder infections. Preventing the spread of the infection is one of the most important reasons to treat a UTI quickly when you have symptoms. The infection can spread not only to the bladder, but also into your kidneys, which is a more complicated type of infection than a UTI.
Confusion Alone Does Not Signal A Urinary Tract Infection
When an older adult becomes confused, many people both medical and non-medical assume that a UTI is responsible.
But aging increases the incidence of confusion and delirium, especially among those who are cognitively impaired, depressed, malnourished or completely dependent.
Delirium can be caused by various factors, the most common one being dehydration, notes Dr. Lathia.
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Risk Factors In Women
Urinary tract infections are most common in young to middle-aged sexually active women. Things that increase a woman’s risk of getting UTIs include:
- Sexual activity, which pushes bacteria into the urethra. Sexual activity with the use of a diaphragm and spermicide raises the risk.
- Previous UTIs.
- Lack of estrogen, which allows bacteria that can cause UTIs to grow more easily in the vagina or urethra. Women who have gone through menopause are at increased risk for UTIs.
How Are They Treated
Antibiotics prescribed by your doctor will usually cure a bladder infection. It may help to drink lots of water and other fluids and to urinate often, emptying your bladder each time.
If your doctor prescribes antibiotics, take the pills exactly as you are told. Do not stop taking them just because you feel better. You need to finish taking them all so that you do not get sick again.
How Can I Prevent Chronic Urinary Tract Infections
- Keep your genital area clean
- Wipe from front to back after a bowel movement
- Drink plenty of fluids, particularly water, to flush bacteria out of your urinary system
- Urinate immediately after intercourse to help eliminate any bacteria
- Use forms of birth control other than a diaphragm and spermicides
- Avoid douches, powder and deodorant sprays
- Wear un-dyed, full cotton underwear
Other prevention measures being studied include drinking cranberry juice and, for women past menopause, the use of estrogen cream or pills.
What Does A Uti Feel Like
If you have a UTI, you almost always feel it.
The most common UTI symptoms include:
- Frequent and strong urge to urinate
- Burning sensation, or even pain, while urinating
- Feeling as if you are unable to empty completely while urinating
- Urine leakage
- Having urine that is strong-smelled, cloudy or discolored
- Pelvic pain, in some cases
“Some of these symptoms, such as a burning sensation during urination, can overlap with the symptoms of other vaginal infections, such as yeast infections which are treated very differently from UTIs,” says Dr. Kannady.
This is one reason why it’s so important to consult your doctor about UTI symptoms. He or she can determine if your symptoms are truly indicative of a UTI and run the tests needed to appropriately diagnose and treat your infection.
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When To See A Doctor About A Urinary Tract Infection
If you are experiencing frequent and painful urination and think you may have a urinary tract infection, call your doctor. Your doctor will test a urine sample for the presence of the specific bacteria that cause urinary tract infections.
If you do test positive for a UTI, your doctor will prescribe you on antibiotics to treat the infection. As with all antibiotics, make sure to take the full dosage even if you are feeling better. Additionally, your doctor may prescribe a medication that will make urination less painful.
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What To Do If You Keep Getting Utis
“It’s also important to consult your doctor if you’re getting UTIs frequently which is about three or more times per year,” Dr. Kannady recommends.
Recurrent UTIs are fairly common, and they’re also often effectively controlled via lifestyle changes. In some cases, though, your doctor may recommend that you see a urologist for further evaluation.
“Frequent UTIs are sometimes the result of an underlying health issue, such as kidney stones or abnormalities in your kidneys, bladder, or urethra,” Dr. Kannady adds. “A urologist can rule out or diagnose and treat issues such as these, as well as provide further guidance on how to prevent UTI reoccurrence.”
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