What Can Happen If A Uti Is Not Treated
If treated right away, a UTI is not likely to damage your urinary tract. But if your UTI is not treated, the infection can spread to the kidneys and other parts of your body. The most common symptoms of kidney infection are fever and pain in the back where the kidneys are located. Antibiotics can also treat kidney infections.
Sometimes the infection can get in the bloodstream. This is rare but life-threatening.
What Are The Symptoms Of A Uti
One of the most common symptoms of a UTI is a frequent and urgent need to pee. You might feel like you need to pee all the time, even if you just went. Other UTI symptoms include:
pain or burning when you pee
bad-smelling or cloudy urine
blood or pus in your urine
soreness, pressure, or cramps in your lower belly, back, or sides
If the infection goes to your kidneys, your UTI symptoms may also include:
pain in your mid-back
When To See A Doctor For A Urinary Tract Infection
Urinary tract infections usually require a visit to the doctor to confirm diagnosis and receive treatment. If a UTI is suspected, a doctorÃ¢â¬â¢s appointment is always recommended for the following groups of people:
- Anyone who has not had a UTI before
- Anyone with blood in their urine
- Anyone with symptoms of an upper urinary tract infection
- Anyone whose symptoms have returned after treatment
Some people who experience UTIs on a frequent basis might be offered different management options by their doctor, such as long-term, low-dose antibiotics. In these special cases, the onset of UTI symptoms may be managed at home, and a visit to the doctor is not always necessary.
In very mild cases, a bladder infection/cystitis may clear on its own without the need for medical treatment. However, other conditions such as genital herpes or vaginal thrush can be mistaken for cystitis, so people who are unsure whether they have cystitis should still see a doctor.
Feeling unwell? People experiencing symptoms that may be linked to a urinary tract infection can carry out a symptom assessment using the free Ada app now.
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Physical Therapy For Ic
Recently, many people with IC, and their physicians, are turning to physical therapy to help treat symptoms. This kind of therapy is especially helpful for pelvic floor dysfunction . I believe this may be helpful for patients with Bladder Spasm or Overactive Bladder as the muscles in the pelvic area are often very tight.
Prevention Of Urinary Tract Infection
There are several steps you can take to reduce your risk of getting a UTI:
- Drink plenty of water and other liquids to help flush out bacteria.
- Urinate frequently, or about every two to three hours.
- For women: Wipe from front to back after urinating or having a bowel movement.
- Urinate before and soon after having sexual intercourse.
- Avoid synthetic underwear, tight pants, and lingering in wet gym clothes or a bathing suit. Though none of this can cause a UTI, these habits can increase the spread of bacteria.
- Avoid vaginal deodorants, douches, powders, and other potentially irritating feminine products.
- Use a method of birth control other than a diaphragm, spermicide, or unlubricated condoms.
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What Can I Do
Through research and trial and error, I found the things that worked for me. I now have been pain-free for over five years, and I am not taking any medications.
Many women find themselves in a situation like the one I have described at some point in their lives. Their GP or gynecologist may not be very knowledgeable about it. Trying to get information about urinary symptoms that are not caused by bacteria and getting the appropriate treatment can be very frustrating.
There Is Great Advice In These Comments
I have had many people visit this page and leave comments. If you need more advice, I would recommend looking through them.
The list is long, but there is some great wisdom to be gained from others who have experienced persistent bladder pain.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the authorâs knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
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What Are The Signs Of A Bladder Infection
Reviewed by our clinical team
A bladder infection is a common condition normally caused by the growth of bacteria in the urinary tract. It typically causes mild urinary symptoms that pass on their own within a few days, however it can sometimes spread to the kidneys causing more serious symptoms. A bladder infection falls under the category of a UTI and is also known as cystitis. You may also hear it referred to as a water infection.
Why Are Women And Older Adults More At Risk
E. coli or other bacteria cause UTIs, which are infections in your kidneys, bladder, ureters or urethra. Unfortunately, women are more likely to get them mainly because of their anatomy.
A womans urethra is shorter than a mans and closer to the anus. The urethra is also close to the vagina, which can collect bacteria during sex. So bacteria from both the anus and vagina have easy access to a womans urinary tract.
Post-menopausal women are also at higher risk because pH changes in the vagina make it more susceptible to infection.
Both men and women are more likely to get UTIs as they age. Certain medical conditions, such as bladder prolapse in women and enlarged prostate in men, cause incomplete bladder emptying in older adults. Urine that stays in your bladder too long can encourage bacteria to grow.
Some newer diabetic drugs can also promote sugar in the urine and create conditions ideal for a UTI, Dr. Vasavada adds.
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For Those Who Experience Frequent Utis Managing Risk Factors May Help With Prevention
In some people, urinary tract infections come back again and again. Women, especially, are likely to have recurrent UTIs. While recurrences usually develop within three months of the original infection, having more than two within six months is technically considered a recurrence.
Besides precautions and at-home strategies to help prevent UTIs, sometimes antibiotics are used as a preventive measure for those with frequent UTI recurrences.
Managing risk factors by maintaining good hygiene, such as wiping from front to back for women and avoiding spermicides can lower your likelihood of repeat UTIs.
Are Any Tests Needed
A urine sample can confirm the diagnosis and identify the germ causing the infection. Further tests are not usually necessary if you are otherwise well and have a one-off infection. However, your doctor may advise tests of your kidney, prostate gland, or bladder if an underlying problem is suspected.
An underlying problem is more likely if the infection does not clear with an antibiotic medicine, or if you have:
- Symptoms that suggest a kidney is infected .
- Recurring urine infections. For example, two or more in a three-month period.
- Had problems with your kidney in the past, such as kidney stones or a damaged kidney.
- Symptoms that suggest an obstruction to the flow of urine.
- Blood-stained urine which persists after treatment with antibiotics.
Tests may include:
- An examination of your prostate gland by examination of your back passage .
- Tests to see how well your bladder is working, called urodynamic tests.
Other Ways To Prevent Recurring Utis
If you have more than 3 UTIs in 1 year, or 2 UTIs in 6 months, there are other things that may help prevent UTIs.
There is some evidence that women under 65 years old who keep getting UTIs may find it helpful to take:
- a supplement called D-mannose this is not recommended for pregnant women
- cranberry products, such as juice or tablets
Speak to your doctor before taking any of these during pregnancy.
Be aware that D-mannose and cranberry products can contain a lot of sugar.
Page last reviewed: 18 November 2020 Next review due: 18 November 2023
Why Do Women Get Urinary Tract Infections More Often Than Men
Women tend to get urinary tract infections more often than men because bacteria can reach the bladder more easily in women. The urethra is shorter in women than in men, so bacteria have a shorter distance to travel.
The urethra is located near the rectum in women. Bacteria from the rectum can easily travel up the urethra and cause infections. Bacteria from the rectum is more likely to get into the urethra if you wipe from back to front after a bowel movement. Be sure to teach children how to wipe correctly.
Having sex may also cause urinary tract infections in women because bacteria can be pushed into the urethra. Using a diaphragm can lead to infections because diaphragms push against the urethra and make it harder to completely empty your bladder. The urine that stays in the bladder is more likely to grow bacteria and cause infections.
Frequent urinary tract infections may be caused by changes in the bacteria in the vagina. Antibacterial vaginal douches, spermicides, and certain oral antibiotics may cause changes in vaginal bacteria. Avoid using these items, if possible. Menopause can also cause changes in vaginal bacteria that increase your risk for urinary tract infection. Taking estrogen usually corrects this problem but may not be for everyone.
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What Causes Bleeding During A Uti
When you have a UTI, the bacteria infect the lining of your urinary tract. This leads to inflammation and irritation, causing red blood cells to leak into your urine.
If theres a tiny amount of blood in your urine, it wont be visible to the naked eye. This is called microscopic hematuria. A doctor will be able to see the blood when they look at your urine sample under a microscope.
But if theres enough blood to change the color of your urine, you have whats called gross hematuria. Your pee might look red, pink, or brown like cola.
If you menstruate, you might wonder if your bloody urine is caused by a UTI or menstruation.
Along with urinary bleeding, UTIs and periods share symptoms like:
- lower back pain
- abdominal or pelvis pain
To determine which one you have, consider your overall symptoms. Youre likely menstruating if you have:
- bloating or weight gain
- skin issues
- food cravings
These symptoms arent typically associated with UTIs. Plus, if you have your period, you wont see blood only when you pee. Youll also have red or darker clumps of blood continuously accumulating on your underwear with menstruation.
Causes Of Bladder Infection In Both Sexes
Cystitis usually causes a frequent, urgent need to urinate and a burning or painful sensation while urinating. These symptoms usually develop over several hours or a day. The urgent need to urinate may cause an uncontrollable loss of urine , especially in older people. Fever is rarely present. Pain is usually felt above the pubic bone and often in the lower back as well. Frequent urination during the night may be another symptom. The urine may be cloudy in severe infection. Uncommonly, when infection results from an abnormal connection between the bladder and the intestine or the vagina , air can be passed in the urine .
Doctors can usually diagnose cystitis based on its typical symptoms. A midstream urine specimen Obtaining a Clean-Catch Urine Sample Urinalysis, the testing of urine, may be necessary in the evaluation of kidney and urinary tract disorders and can also help evaluate bodywide disorders such as diabetes or liver problems. A… read more is collected so that the urine is not contaminated with bacteria from the vagina or the tip of the penis. A strip of test paper is sometimes dipped into the urine to do two quick and simple tests for substances that are normally not found in the urine. The testing strip can detect nitrites that are released by bacteria. The testing strip can also detect leukocyte esterase , which may indicate that the body is trying to clear the urine of bacteria. In adult women, these may be the only tests necessary.
How Do Utis Affect Pregnancy
Changes in hormone levels during pregnancy raise your risk for UTIs. UTIs during pregnancy are more likely to spread to the kidneys.
If you’re pregnant and have symptoms of a UTI, see your doctor or nurse right away. Your doctor will give you an antibiotic that is safe to take during pregnancy.
If left untreated, UTIs could lead to kidney infections and problems during pregnancy, including:
- Premature birth
- Low birth weight
Discuss With Your Doctor If Some Of Your Uti Symptoms Persist After Antibiotics
Here are several questions that you should think about prior to your doctor visit to help your physician with the right information:
- Are your symptoms stronger when the bladder is full and you feel better after urination?
- Does a certain position trigger bladder pain?
- Do you feel that your symptoms stay the same over the course of days and even weeks?
- Is there blood in your urine, foul smell, or is your urine cloudy?
- If youd like more help on how to discuss your UTI with your provider and how to make the most out of your patient-doctor relationships, check out my Actionable Guide here.
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Why Your Uti Test May Be Negative Even When You Have Symptoms
How about a study that looked at bacterial DNA in the urine of women with UTI-like symptoms who also had a negative culture test?
To summarize, the researchers looked at urine samples of women without symptoms and a group with UTI-like symptoms. They performed two tests: a culture test and a DNA-sequencing test that allows identifying if there is any bacterial DNA in the urine.
According to the study, 90.5% of symptomatic women with a negative urine culture tested positive for Escherichia coli bacteria with molecular methods compared to about 5.3% of women without symptoms.
This allowed the researchers to conclude that culture tests might not be sufficiently accurate and if a patient complains of urinary tract infection symptoms, she might as well be treated for an acute UTI.
The findings are gaining traction among chronic UTI sufferers who feel that the study finally gives more credibility to their complaints.
However, argues Dr. Hawes the significance of finding bacterial DNA may be different than the significance of finding live growing bacteria. Does the DNA stay around after an infection? If so, for how long? How do you determine antibiotic sensitivity based on DNA findings rather than live growth?.
As Dr. Hawes concludes, We dont yet understand the clinical significance of this data. In other words, do not dismiss the results of your culture test because of this study.
How To Help Your Loved One Avoid Utis
We dont have enough research to support their effectiveness in UTI prevention, although their medical benefits cant be ruled out completely, says Dr. Goldman.
Instead, he recommends these tried-and-true prevention strategies:
- Encourage sufficient fluid intake
- Promote genital and urinary hygiene
- Ask the doctor about low-dose vaginal cream for postmenopausal women
Dr. Goldman says researchers are also studying D-Mannose for UTI prevention. The supplement, which has few side effects, sticks to bladder receptors that normally attract the E. coli bacteria usually responsible for UTIs.
Researchers also believe D-Mannose may keep bad bacteria from colonizing the digestive tract, which can harbor the bacteria responsible for UTIs in women.
Following these tips should help your aging relative stay healthy, productive and out of the hospital.
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Option #: Persistent Uti Symptoms After Treatment
Here is another option: they sent your urine sample to a lab and later told you that according to the test you have a UTI. However, antibiotics resolved some symptoms , but the urge to urinate or pain in the lower abdomen remained.
As you could imagine, there could be a scenario when not only you have a full-blown UTI, but also an inflamed bladder lining is causing additional symptoms, as discussed above.
In this case, you, most likely, will see a reduction in pain, and your urine will become clear. However, pain in the bladder area and slight irritation after urination might still linger.
Moreover, when patients mention they feel burning in the urethra rather than the bladder, its quite normal. In fact, the urethra has more nerve endings that could be easily irritated due to underlying inflammation.
Reasons Why Antibiotics Did Not Resolve Your Uti Symptoms
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I took antibiotics for UTI but symptoms are still there, its a common complaint among chronic UTI sufferers but it could mean a lot of different things. I askedDr. Lisa Hawes a urologist at Chesapeake Urology to help to navigate different case scenarios and discuss what they could potentially mean. However, do not attempt to self-treat based on this information only.
This post should rather serve you as a guide for a conversation with your doctor. When you know what to mention during your doctor visit, you have higher chances to get better care.
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