What to Do if You Have a Urinary Tract Infection

What to Do if You Have a Urinary Tract Infection

The risk of getting a urinary tract infection, or UTI, is high when you are a woman. Some experts say there is 50% chance to get it at least once in your life, with many women experiencing UTIs multiple times.

Symptoms of Urinary Tract Infections

First, it is important that you recognize the symptoms associated with the infection that can be located in different parts of the urinary tract.

Symptoms of Lower UTIs

Lower symptoms of UTIs are in the urethra or bladder, and include:

  • Burning feeling while urinating
  • Frequent urge of urination with scarce amounts of urine coming out.
  • Cloudy, bloody or dark urine
  • Strong and strange-smelling urine
  • Pain or pressure in your lower abdomen or back.

Symptoms of Upper UTIs

Upper UTIs are in the kidneys. These are vital to have immediately treated, due to the risk of having the bacteria moving from the kidney to the blood. This last condition is called sepsis and can cause low blood pressure, shock, and even death. Symptoms include:

  • Fever or chills
  • Pain in the upper back and sides
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Diagnosis and Treatment for UTIs

If you think you may have a urinary tract infection, get assessed by your OB/GYN. You will be asked to give a urine sample, which will be used to detect the bacteria that is causing the UTI.

The treatment for lower UTI is oral antibiotics. Be sure to finish all the prescribed number of pills completely. Otherwise, you risk suffering the infection again with stronger bacteria.

Upper UTIs may involve intravenous antibiotics. If your doctor suspects of an upper UTI, he may ask you for blood cultures and a complete blood count (CBC). This is to discard the possibility of having the infection moved to the blood.

Some women have a bigger risk of being affected by a UTI. These factors contribute to a high-risk:

  • Any obstruction to the passage of urine. Can be caused by a tumor or kidney stones.
  • Pregnancy, due to the pressure the uterus may put unto the ureters and bladder, which makes it difficult for urine to go out completely.
  • A condition that involves the bladder’s nerve supply (like diabetes, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injuries and Parkinson disease)
  • Usage of a contraceptive diaphragm or spermicide
  • Catheter placed into the bladder to drain urine.

If you have any of these conditions, it is especially important that you check with your OB/GYN right away when you experience the symptoms previously described.

Recurrent UTIs

Approximately 20% of women suffer a second urinary tract infection, and some undergo this continually. When this is the case, usually there is a different type of culprit or strain of bacteria. Some types can grow a community resistant to antibiotics and the body’s immune system. They travel out of the cells and re-attack.

When the UTIs are recurrent, you should also check if there are any obstructions causing them. The tests used for this are:

  • Ultrasound
  • Intravenous pyelogram (IVP)
  • Cystoscopy

It is possible that during a cystoscopy, your doctor removes a small piece of bladder tissue to have a biopsy and rule out bladder cancer.

Preventing Urinary Tract Infections

You should also talk to your OB/GYN about how to prevent or minimize the urinary tract infections. The recommendations may include:

  • Avoiding to hold your urine in the bladder for too long
  • Taking long-term antibiotics in a low dose
  • Taking a single dose of antibiotic after sex, which frequently triggers the infection
  • Drink more water

Don’t Wait to Seek Help

Don’t take too long to check with your doctor after recognizing the symptoms of a UTI. Kits designed for at-home tests can help detect a UTI but are not 100% accurate.

You can observe the results, prevent complications and ensure a full recovery when you analyze the causes behind the UTI with your OB/GYN. If you suspect you have a UTI, call us today at 770.720.7733 or schedule an appointment online.

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