When you have a urinary tract infection (UTI), the lining of the bladder and urethra become red and irritated just as your throat does when you have a cold. The irritation can cause pain in your belly and pelvic area and may make you feel like urinating more often. You may even try to urinate but only get a few drops and/or feel some burning as your urine comes out. At times, you may lose control and wet yourself. You may also find that your urine smells bad or is cloudy.
Kidney infections often cause fevers and back pain. These infections need to be treated at once because a kidney infection can quickly spread into the bloodstream and cause a life-threatening health issue.
If you are worried about a UTI, then you should talk with your health care provider. UTIs can be found by analyzing a urine sample. The urine is examined under a microscope for bacteria or white blood cells, which are signs of infection. Your health care provider may also take a urine culture.
If you ever see blood in your urine, you should call your health care provider right away. Blood in the urine may be caused by a UTI but it may also be from another problem in the urinary tract.
If you are having fevers and symptoms of a UTI, or symptoms that won’t go away despite therapy, then you should call a health care provider. You may need further tests, such as an ultrasound or CT scan, to check the urinary tract.
There are two types of UTIs: simple and complicated. Simple UTIs are infections that happen in healthy people with normal urinary tracts.
Complicated UTIs happen in abnormal urinary tracts or when the bacteria causing the infection cannot be treated by many antibiotics. Most women have simple UTIs, while the UTIs in men and children should be thought of as complicated.
Simple Urinary Tract Infection
A simple UTI can be treated with a short course of antibiotic meds. A 3-day course of antibiotics will often treat most uncomplicated UTIs. However, some infections may need to be treated for 5 days. Depending on the type of antibiotic used, you may take a single dose per day or up to 4 doses per day. Pain and the urge to urinate often go away after a few doses, but you should still take the full course of the meds even if you feel better. Unless UTIs are fully treated, they can often return. You should also drink plenty of liquids, especially around the time of a UTI.
Postmenopausal women with UTIs may be helped by topical (vaginal) hormone replacement (estrogen). Since some patients cannot take estrogen replacement, you should talk with your health care provider before starting any treatment.
Complicated Urinary Tract Infection
If the UTI is a complicated UTI, then a longer course of antibiotics is given and is often started intravenously (IV) in the hospital. After a short period of IV antibiotics, the antibiotics are given by mouth for up to many weeks. Kidney infections are often treated as a complicated UTI.
Dr. Lawrence Newman is a skilled urologist in Las Vegas. He specializes in treating Urinary Tract Infections. Contact his office for an appointment.