By Dr. Yasir Abunamous,
DocReady Primary Care and Urgent Care Physician
What is a UTI?
A urinary tract infection (UTI) is a common infection caused by bacteria in the urinary tract. UTIs, also referred to as bladder infections, affect millions of women every year and are one of the more frequent conditions treated by DocReady’s board-certified physicians. The common symptoms of a UTI are a burning sensation, bladder pressure, and frequent urination. In addition, some women who have UTIs may notice that their urine looks cloudy or dark, and some may even see blood in their urine. It is also possible to not experience any of these symptoms but know that something is not right; listen to your body. If you have a high fever of more than 100.3 F, back or flank pain, or nausea and vomiting it may indicate something more serious and you should seek urgent medical attention. As painful and uncomfortable as they are, UTIs are generally not serious, and with prompt, proper treatment, they rarely lead to complications. However, it is important to seek medical attention because untreated UTIs can lead to some serious problems for your health. Identifying and treating a UTI as early as possible is the best way to ensure resolution of the infection, and prevent future complications.
What causes a UTI?
UTIs are common, with most adult women reporting having about one infection every two years, and are most commonly caused by the bacteria known as Escherichia coli (E. coli). Typically, E. coli, already present in your intestines, colon and around the anus, is a harmless microorganism but if it makes its way to your urinary tract the result is a urinary tract infection.
Can a UTI be prevented?
This unwanted contamination of the urethra, which occurs commonly when having sex, can be lessened by the woman urinating immediately after having sex in order to clear the urethra of any bacteria that may have been introduced. It is also important that women wipe front to back after using the restroom to prevent potential bacterial transfer to the urethra. Unfortunately, some women are more prone to having recurrent or chronic UTIs. If you experience more than 3 UTIs in one year, you should consult your doctor about treatment options for chronic UTIs. There are numerous treatment options for recurring UTIs.
How do I test for a UTI?
Traditionally, being diagnosed and treated for a UTI involved going to a doctor’s office for a urinalysis and sometimes for a urine culture as well. However, there have been numerous medical studies that have proven that a UTI can be diagnosed and appropriately treated simply by answering a few targeted questions about your symptoms and your relevant medical history. If you are unsure if your symptoms are a UTI, or just want to know for sure, schedule an appointment to speak to one of the DocReady board-certified doctors securely from your phone or computer and get a prescription for UTI in 15 minutes or less. You don’t need to deal with the time and hassle of going to an in-person doctor’s appointment.
What is the treatment for UTIs?
Because UTIs are caused by bacteria, the only way to fully cure a UTI is with prescription antibiotics that eliminate the bacteria. Other methods of treatment merely mask your symptoms instead of wiping out the bacteria causing the infection. Fortunately, most cases of UTIs can be cured with a short course of antibiotic therapy. By treating a urinary tract infection with antibiotics and not just treating the symptoms, you rid the urinary tract of the bacteria that cause the infection.
Lifestyle measures such as drinking plenty of water (8-10 glasses a day), avoiding added sugars in foods and beverages, and getting adequate rest can also be very useful in assisting your body to combat the infection, even while on antibiotics.
Some women experience severe pain during UTIs and may want something to relieve the pain in addition to killing the infection. Your doctor may also prescribe/suggest something to dull the pain.
The bottom line: UTIs are common, easy to diagnose, and respond well to physician recommended antibiotics. Only rarely will you need in-depth testing and examination and with the proper treatment you should be back to feeling well in no time.
If you are experiencing any symptoms of a UTI, book an appointment with DocReady today.
Dr. Yasir Abunamous (“Dr. A”) is a Family Physician who specializes in patient-centered care leveraging the strengths and resources of each individual to optimize and maintain health, and endeavors to restore health during times of illness. He treats patients of all ages (including newborns and infants), with experience in pediatrics and women’s health in addition to general medicine. When not at work, Dr. A spends much of his free time with his beloved family, community members, and friends.