URINARY TRACT INFECTIONS: A GUIDE
WHAT IS A UTI?
A UTI, or a Urinary Tract Infection, is an infection in your urinary system, home to the bladder, kidneys, ureter, and the urethra; the tube that urine passes through as it leaves the body. 60% of women in the US will experience a UTI – and its not-so-comfortable symptoms – in their lifetime, so knowing the signs, causes, and treatment options will ensure you’re prepared for if, or when, the time comes.
UTIs are often thought of as a women’s issue. But the reality is, anybody, of any gender or age can contract a UTI. Admittedly, men are at a lower risk of UTIs, as their long urethra, or pee tube, makes it difficult for the bacteria to reach the bladder. That said, men do make up 20% of all UTI cases, with 13-14% of men experiencing a UTI at some point throughout their lives.
The good news? While UTIs are uncomfortable, they rarely present any real health risk. In the vast majority of cases, UTIs resolve after a course of antibiotics, allowing you to move forward with an understanding of how to lower your risk of contracting a UTI in the future. 50% of women who experience a UTI go on to contract a second UTI within a year, so prevention is key.
Generally speaking, both men and women experience similar symptoms when it comes to UTIs. From a burning sensation when peeing, cloudy urine, needing to pee more often, and an unpleasant odor when peeing to back/ side pain, UTIs are known for causing discomfort in the lower stomach area. Luckily, testing is quick, non-invasive, and reliable, so if you do suspect you have a UTI, getting diagnosed is easy.
As children may have trouble explaining the sensation of a UTI, it’s important to look for subtler symptoms. If they’re peeing more often, holding their pee, wetting the bed, or appearing unwell in themselves, with a high temperature, they may have contracted a UTI.
For many elderly patients, they experience what’s known as a ‘silent UTI’; a UTI infection that fails to show many of the typical symptoms. Instead, older people – especially those with a catheter – will show signs of confusion, agitation, bed-wetting, and shivering.
To give your body a helping hand fighting off your infection, you’ll usually be prescribed a short course of antibiotics – generally lasting between 3 to 7 days. Depending on where your infection is, from your bladder to your lower urinary tract, will determine which antibiotic your doctor will prescribe. Keeping your fluid intake up to ‘flush out’ the infection and staying on top of your pain relief to reduce discomfort will help you move one step closer to recovery.
While UTIs are generally low-risk, it’s important to seek the right treatment early. If left untreated, your UTI could evolve into kidney infection, and even cause an infection in the bloodstream, which could be life-threatening. The quicker you act, the lower the risk.
CAUSES OF UTIs
Can dehydration cause UTIs? Can condoms cause UTIs? Can oral sex cause UTIs? Can alcohol cause UTIs? They’re the questions we’re often asked, and the answer is, there are tens of causes of UTIs, from an enlarged prostate to engaging in sexual activity without protection. Here are the most common factors:
UTI: WHEN TO GO TO HOSPITAL?
It’s a question we’re asked almost daily: “Can I go to urgent care for a UTI?”. Our answer? Absolutely – especially if you’re experiencing fever-like symptoms. If you’d like to get seen sooner rather than later, without having to endure long waiting-room waits, you can be seen from the comfort of your home HERE. Real doctors, confidential support, affordable care – and it’s pretty convenient, too.
We understand that, while there’s nothing to feel embarrassed about, many patients hesitate to seek the right care due to a sense of shame. That’s why we’re bringing healthcare to you, examining your symptoms, exploring your needs, and building a treatment plan through a virtual doctor’s appointment. All the best parts of face-to-face care, wrapped up into one convenient app.