Urinary Tract Infection

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are among the most common infections in people, and antibiotic treatment is usually helpful in treating an infection. Your physician at Kwik Kare Urgent Care will be able to determine if you have a UTI and what treatment is needed.

Causes

UTIs occur when bacteria enter and infect the urinary tract. UTIs can affect several parts of the urinary tract, but the most common type of UTI is a bladder infection.

The body can sometimes fight the bacteria without any problems; however, the infection can cause discomfort and may sometimes spread to the kidneys. Kidney infections are less common but can be more serious.

Risk Factors

Some people have a higher risk of getting a UTI. Females are at a higher risk compared to males because their urethra is shorter and closer to the anus, which makes it easier for bacteria to enter the urinary tract. Other things that can increase your risk for a UTI include:

  • A previous UTI
  • Sexual activity, and especially a new sexual partner
  • Changes in vaginal flora or acidity caused by menopause or use of spermacides
  • Pregnancy
  • Age (older adults are more likely to get UTIs)
  • Urinary incontinence or urinary catheter placement
  • Kidney stones
  • Prostate enlargement

Signs and Symptoms

Common symptoms for bladder infection include:

  • Pain or burning while urinating
  • Frequent urination
  • Feeling the need to urinate despite having an empty bladder
  • Low fever (less than 101 °F)
  • Cloudy or bloody urine
  • Pressure or cramping in the groin or lower abdomen

Kidney infections are less common but more serious. Warning signs for a kidney infection include flank or lower back pain, high fever (101 °F or above), nausea or vomiting, mental status changes, chills, or night sweats.

Young children may not be able to tell you about symptoms that they are having; things to look out for include:

  • Fever of unknown cause
  • Change in urine smell or color
  • Vomiting
  • Fussiness or changes in appetite

When to Seek Medical Care

If you have any of the symptoms of a UTI listed above, contact your physician right away.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Your physician will run a urinalysis to determine if you have a UTI. Most UTIs are caused by bacteria and can be treated with antibiotics.

Sometimes UTI symptoms can be caused by other illnesses, such as sexually transmitted diseases. Other times bacteria can be present in the urine without causing an infection.

Symptom Relief

If you are prescribed antibiotics, take them exactly how your physician recommends. Never skip doses. Talk with your doctor if you have any questions about your antibiotics. Drink plenty of water to help clear the bacteria from your body.

Your physician may also recommend a medicine, such as phenazopyridine, to help lessen the pain or discomfort caused by urinating. If you take this medicine, it is important to continue taking your antibiotics at the same time. This medicine only relieves pain and does not cure the infection.

Prevention

Changing personal hygiene habits can help prevent recurrent UTIs. Here are some general suggestions:

  • Urinate before and after sexual activity
  • Stay well-hydrated and urinate regularly
  • Take showers instead of baths
  • Minimize douching, and sprays or powders in the genital area
  • When potty training girls, teach them to wipe front to back