UTI 101: Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention
Each year, urinary tract infections (UTIs) cause more than 8 million visits to healthcare providers and are one of the most common bacterial infections. At best, a UTI is a short-lived and painful inconvenience, but left untreated, these infections can spread, causing much larger problems.
Formerly, medical providers could only treat these infections at an office visit. Telemedicine now provides an avenue for expedited treatment! Telemedicine helps reduce the number of hospitalizations, cut costs, and improve patients' health.
Learn more about telemedicine and how it works.
A UTI is an infection in any part of the urinary system, including the urethra, bladder, ureters and kidneys. For most people, a UTI happens in the lower tract, the urethra and bladder.
UTIs typically develop when bacteria get into your urinary tract, primarily through your urethra and then into your bladder, which causes inflammation. The urinary tract is highly sensitive to bacteria as normal urine contains none, which is why a UTI comes on so quickly.
Because women have a shorter urethra than men, they are at higher risk for developing a UTI, as the bacteria have a shorter distance to travel.
UTIs do NOT always cause symptoms and may be mistaken for other conditions in older adults. Common symptoms of a UTI include:
- A strong, persistent urge to urinate but only passing small amounts of urine
- A burning sensation when you urinate
- Cloudy or pink appearance to your urine
- Foul-smelling odor to your urine
- Pelvic pain in women, rectal pain in men
- Lower abdomen discomfort, pelvic pressure
These symptoms and discomfort may come on quickly once bacteria get inside your urinary tract.
In most cases, once diagnosed, symptoms should start to clear in a day or two with antibiotics. You should always complete the entire prescribed course of antibiotics, even if you are feeling better.
Don’t wait. UTIs can become more serious the further they spread and lead to health complications, including recurrent infections, kidney damage, sepsis, and an increased risk for delivering low birth weight or premature infants in pregnant women.
You can take some steps to help prevent a UTI:
- Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. This helps you urinate more frequently which helps flush out any bacteria in your system.
- Don’t hold urine for long periods of time.
- Wipe from front to back. The bacteria that live in the bowel, E. coli, can travel to your urethra if you wipe back to front.
- Women should limit the use of certain feminine products such as deodorant sprays, douches or powders that could irritate the urethra.
- Drink unsweetened cranberry juice. Though there’s no definite evidence that cranberry juice prevents a UTI, it is not harmful and many doctors recommend it.
- Changing your birth control method can shift your hormones and change the bacteria in your vagina, which can increase your risk of a UTI. Diaphragms and certain types of spermicides or condoms can contribute to bacterial growth.
- Try to urinate before and right after intercourse. This helps flush out any bacteria.
- Avoid tight-fitting clothing and opt for cotton underwear to help prevent bacteria from growing in the urinary tract.
- Constipation – if you are frequently constipated you may be at a greater risk of a UTI. When constipated, it’s more difficult to empty your bladder fully so this gives the bacteria trapped in your bladder more time to grow and cause infection.
One of the highest rated telemedicine companies on Google is MDAnywhere. At MDAnywhere, the team of healthcare providers have extensive experience helping patients get the medical care they need as quickly as possible. From yeast infections to UTIs, there are many conditions where early intervention plays a critical role in bringing you much-needed relief while also keeping larger problems at bay.
If you think you may have a UTI, contact your doctor or visit MDAnywhere.com for treatment. They are there to get you feeling better, faster. No appointment needed.
Click here to learn how telemedicine and MDAnywhere can treat you. After all, treatment for simple problems should be easy!