When To See A Doctor About A Uti
As mentioned, antibiotics are typically needed to treat a UTI, so it’s important to seek prompt care if you notice the signs of one.
- Your symptoms are severe or getting worse
- Your symptoms don’t improve after a few days
- You’re getting recurrent UTIs
“Early and effective UTI treatment helps ensure that the infection is dealt with while it’s easiest to treat and before it progresses to the kidneys,” says Dr. Kannady. “Even a mild kidney infection can come with fairly debilitating symptoms, including fever, vomiting and intense pain. These infections also require a longer course of antibiotics.”
And the more serious the kidney infection, the greater the risk of complications. They can range from hospitalization to even permanent kidney damage or a life-threatening bloodstream infection in some cases.
In men, UTIs also can spread to the prostate and cause prostatitis which also often requires a longer course of antibiotics to treat.
“By initiating antibiotics as soon as a UTI is identified, we can greatly reduce the risk of these more complex and serious outcomes,” says Dr. Kannady.
Lastly, if your UTI symptoms don’t improve after taking antibiotics for a few days, be sure to follow up with your doctor.
When To See A Doctor For Bladder Infection
See your doctor promptly if you have any symptoms of a bladder infection including:
Cloudy, bloody, or strong-smelling urine
Frequent or urgent need to urinate
Pain or burning with urination
Pelvic discomfort or pressure
Urinating small amounts frequently
Left untreated, bladder infections can lead to a kidney infection, permanent kidney damage, and even . Seek immediate medical care for symptoms of a kidney infection including:
An Extreme Urgency To Pee
Do you find yourself going extra frequently, and are you finding that when you have to go, you HAVE to go? This could be a sign of a UTI. While your body is trying to fight the infection, it might have you going to the bathroom again and again to flush things out.
Make sure to drink plenty of water. Also keep in mind that this can be a sign of other problems , so dont hesitate to talk to your doctor if you suddenly have to pee all the time.
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What Are The Signs I Might Have A Uti
UTIs are caused by a bacterial infection in your urethra. For most people, symptoms include needing to urinate more frequently, cloudy or smelly urine, burning sensations when urinating, and pain in your abdomen.
In some cases, the bacteria that cause UTIs can travel up the urinary tract towards the kidneys. If you have blood in your pee, pain in your sides or lower back, a very high fever, or diarrhea, it may be signs of a kidney infection, which requires immediate treatment.
Women are more likely to develop UTIs because they naturally have a shorter urinary tract. Your risk of developing a UTI is also increased if you are sexually active, use spermicidal birth control, have a catheter, or have a suppressed immune system due to diabetes, HIV, kidney stones, or other diseases.
Treatment For Frequent Urination
Theres not one way to stop frequent urination. The first step to figuring out whats going on, though, is a urinalysis, the classic test in which you pee in a cup, to rule out any infection or hematuria , explains Dr. Moore. Experts also often recommend keeping a bladder diary documenting the frequency of your urination, which you can share with your doctor.
Once your doctor can rule out those causes, they might suggest certain lifestyle changes to reduce frequent urination, including decreasing your overall fluid intake to less than 64 ounces a day, tapering your consumption of bladder irritants like caffeine, spicy foods and alcohol, and implementing pelvic floor exercises. If those strategies dont work for a patient, a health care provider might try other medical interventions like prescriptions or bladder injections, says Dr. Moore.
During pregnancy, the treatment process for frequent urination is similar, but theres also a major emphasis on kegel exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles in order to help hold in urine, says Dr. Pedroso. Additionally, proactively emptying the bladder at certain time intervals, such as every two hours, regardless of the urge to urinate, can improve bladder control and decrease sudden urges, she adds.
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Treatment For More Severe Utis
Kids with a more severe infection may need treatment in a hospital so they can get antibiotics by injection or IV .
This might happen if:
- the child has high fever or looks very ill, or a kidney infection is likely
- the child is younger than 6 months old
- bacteria from the infected urinary tract may have spread to the blood
- the child is dehydrated or is vomiting and cannot take any fluids or medicine by mouth
Kids with VUR will be watched closely by the doctor. VUR might be treated with medicines or, less commonly, surgery. Most kids outgrow mild forms of VUR, but some can develop kidney damage or kidney failure later in life.
Treatment From A Gp For Utis That Keep Coming Back
If your UTI comes back after treatment, or you have 2 UTIs in 6 months, a GP may:
- prescribe a different antibiotic or prescribe a low-dose antibiotic to take for up to 6 months
- prescribe a vaginal cream containing oestrogen, if you have gone through the menopause
- refer you to a specialist for further tests and treatments
In some people, antibiotics do not work or urine tests do not pick up an infection, even though you have UTI symptoms.
This may mean you have a long-term UTI that is not picked up by current urine tests. Ask the GP for a referral to a specialist for further tests and treatments.
Long-term UTIs are linked to an increased risk of bladder cancer in people aged 60 and over.
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When To See A Doctor For Urinary Tract Infection
Sometimes a mild UTI will go away without medical treatment. The use of antibiotics, though, can decrease the length and severity of infection, and help prevent the development of complications. Most healthcare providers recommend contacting your doctor as soon as you notice bladder infection symptoms or urinary tract infection symptoms.
You should also see your healthcare provider if you get frequent UTIs. If you have three or more urinary tract infections in 12 months, call your doctor.
When To Go To The Er For Uti Symptoms
If your symptoms have progressed to the point of lethargy, pain, fever, chills, nausea, vomiting and/or blood in the urine, you need to get to the nearest Advance ER right away.
If you are pregnant, have diabetes, use a catheter, have an enlarged prostate or are prone to kidney stones, it is especially important for you to see a physician right away when you first start to show symptoms of a UTI, said Dr. Shalev. Also, babies and children need prompt care.
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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:
Trying A Wait And See Approach
Urinary tract infections that occur in the urethra or bladder are not medical emergencies. However, a lower urinary tract infection can spread into the kidneys and cause a more serious infection. Kidney infections can result in permanent damage to the organs or pass bacteria into your bloodstream and spur a potentially life-threatening, widespread infection.
The longer a lower UTI persists, the greater the risk of developing a more serious kidney infection. As a result, you should not ignore UTI symptoms that persist for more than a couple of days after you try the self-help tips aboveeven if the symptoms are relatively mild. If your symptoms worsen, schedule an appointment with your primary care physician.
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Irritation Down There Doesnt Necessarily Mean A Uti
Youre likely to remember the symptoms of a UTI if youve experienced one. You have a frequent urge to pee which often results in a minimal amount of urine and any urine that is released causes a painful, burning sensation. You could also have discolored or foul smelling urine, or pressure in your lower abdomen, back or sides below your ribs. In the elderly, confusion can be the main symptom of a UTI. Such discomfort, however, may not indicate a urinary tract infection.
Other diseases present similarly to a UTI. For example, yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis lead to vaginal itchiness, irregular discharge or blood in the urine . At the onset, symptoms for sexually transmitted diseases can also be confused with those of UTIs. Thats why its important you seek professional medical advice when you start having symptoms you think are a urinary tract infection. If you do have a UTI, and you wait too long to receive treatment, it could lead to a more serious kidney and lower urinary tract infections.
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
do not use condoms or a diaphragm or cap with spermicidal lube on them try non-spermicidal lube or a different type of contraception
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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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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.
Though most common in women, the condition can affect men and children, too. Doctors at Hassenfeld Childrens Hospital at NYU Langone provide treatment for urinary tract infections in children.
Our urologists work with adults to cure UTIs and help prevent them from recurring.
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Ways To Prevent Urinary Tract Infections
- Avoid dehydration drink plenty of fluids.
- Empty your bladder before and soon after sex.
- Wipe backwards after bowel movements, to take any bowel motions away from your urethra, where the urine comes out.
- Wear cotton underpants.
- Some people believe that drinking cranberry juice daily may help prevent infections. However, there is little scientific evidence for this.
For younger girls ensure good genital hygiene. Encourage your daughter to avoid perfumed soaps and long soaks in bubble baths . Buy soft toilet paper and tell her to wipe gently.
Avoid food and drinks that can irritate your bladder, including:
- fizzy, alcoholic and caffeinated drinks .
- tomatoes, fruit juice , dairy products, spicy foods, sugar and artificial sweeteners.
Stopping smoking will also help.
Diagnosing A Bladder Infection
Your doctor uses two main tools when assessing if you have a bladder infection. The first is a urinalysis that looks at your urine to check for bacteria or other signs of an infection. The second is a procedure called a cystocopy. A camera on a thin tube is inserted up the urethra to get a look inside the bladder. Since bladder and kidney disorders can have similar symptoms or causes, your doctor may wish to check your kidneys as well. This is accomplished with an ultrasound or CT scan of the abdomen.
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Is It Possible To Prevent Urinary Tract Infections With Diet And Supplements
It is possible to reduce the chance that a UTI will develop with dietary methods and some supplements but prevention of all UTIs is unlikely with these methods.
- Supplements such as eating cranberries, taking vitamin C tablets, and eating yogurt and other substances also may reduce the chance that a UTI will develop .
- However, as stated in the prevention section, changes in a persons lifestyle may reduce the chance of getting a UTI as good as, if not better than, any diet or supplement.
What To Do At Home
To ease your pain or discomfort until antibiotics can work to remedy the infection:
- Drink more water to dilute urine and help flush bacteria out of your urinary tract.
- Avoid drinking fluids that irritate the bladder such as alcohol, soft drinks, coffee or other caffeine drinks, or citrus juices while you have the infection. These may increase the frequency of sensing an urgent need to urinate.
- Use a heating pad set on warm temperature , placed on your abdominal area, to reduce bladder discomfort or pressure.
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Some Preventative Measures Do Help
Because urinary tract infections do tend to reoccur, it can be beneficial to take some steps to prevent them. Dr. Talbott recommends emptying your bladder immediately after sexual intercourse. You can also take cranberry tablets, which are not necessarily curative, but may have some benefit in preventing infection in the first place.
Drinking a lot of water can also be very beneficial, says Dr. Talbott. It helps flush out bacteria and accelerate healing.
If you suffer from recurrent UTIs, you should speak with your physician, who might investigate further for other causes or contributors, including spermicidal agents and lower estrogen levels.
UTIs can be miserable, but you dont have to suffer. If youre experiencing symptoms, MDLIVE is an easy, convenient way to talk to a doctor without having to wait days for an appointmentfrom the comfort of your own home. Our doctors can talk to you about your symptoms, give you a diagnosis, and if a prescription is needed, send one straight to the pharmacy of your choice. Contact MDLIVE for a consult with a board-certified doctor via secure online video, phone, or the MDLIVE App today.
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When To See A Gp About Cystitis
In the following circumstances, you should definitely see a doctor if you believe you may have cystitis:
- Minor cystitis symptoms do not clear up in 2 days
- Cystitis symptoms become more severe
- You get cystitis frequently
- Antibiotics to treat cystitis dont appear to be working
- Symptoms reappear shortly after finishing a course of antibiotic
It is important to see a doctor in such cases so that they can run further tests or prescribe antibiotics to treat cystitis. If you suffer from recurrent bacterial cystitis, a doctor will need to examine you to rule out other serious health complications including diabetes, kidney stones, and abnormalities in the urinary tract.
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When Should I See A Doctor
You should see a doctor as soon as you begin to experience symptoms of a UTI. If left untreated, UTIs can spread and become a serious health concern. One of the most common causes of UTIs is a sexually transmitted infection that can push bacteria into your urinary system. This means your doctor should also test you for common STIs that can be treated at the same time. Its extremely important to get the care you need, so dont hesitate to see your doctor no matter the cause of your UTI.