Why You Shouldn't Ignore UTI Symptoms

Between 25%-40% of women in the United States deal with urinary tract infections, or UTIs, accounting for 6 million doctor visits a year. Most sufferers are between the ages of 20 and 40, and while women are at higher risk for UTIs, men can get these infections as well. Fortunately, it’s an easily treated condition. But if you ignore the signs of a UTI long enough, it can lead to worse problems in the future. 

If you’re dealing with a UTI, Dr. Yadwinder Kang at 1st Choice Urgent Care has decades of experience helping with urinary tract infections and a variety of other ailments.

How do people get UTIs?

The infection comes from bacteria that get into the urinary tract (either from the rectum, skin near the genitals, or sex) and infect the bladder (cystitis), the urethra (urethritis), or the kidneys (acute pyelonephritis). Because women have a shorter urethra, and the opening is closer to the rectum, they’re more likely to get this infection. 

A number of things can lead to UTIs, including sex (a higher risk in new partners), the use of diaphragms or spermicides for birth control, declining estrogen in menopausal women, catheter use, and a suppressed immune system. Symptoms include a persistent urge to urinate; burning urination; frequent, small urinations; cloudy urine; strong smelling urine; blood in the urine; or pelvic pain in women.

What happens if UTIs are left untreated?

If the symptoms of a urinary tract infection are not treated over time, it’s possible the infection will improve on its own. But most cases require treatment to avoid the risk of other complications, such as recurring infections, permanent kidney damage or chronic kidney infection, narrowing of the urethra (in men), and sepsis

Sepsis, in particular, can do a lot of damage to multiple systems by infecting the blood. It can also increase the risk of premature or low-weight infants in pregnant women. 

How are UTIs treated?

UTIs are generally treated with antibiotics, but the specific medication will depend on your overall health and the bacteria to be treated. Bactrim™, Septra™, Monurol™, and Macrobid™ are examples of antibiotics used to treat simple cases of UTIs. A more complex UTI or a kidney infection might require a fluoroquinolone, which is another class of antibiotic. 

To prevent UTIs, we recommend drinking lots of water and cranberry juice, urinating after sex, changing birth control methods, and wiping from front to back.

So, if you think you’re dealing with a UTI, make an appointment with Dr. Kang and 1st Choice Urgent Care today.

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