Urinary tract infections, or UTIs, are a common condition affecting all age groups. Although both men and women are susceptible, women are the most likely to experience a UTI.
Most urinary tract infections are easily and effectively treated with antibiotics, but there are exceptions in which UTIs can become quite serious. Therefore, it is important to get an appropriate diagnosis and to follow any recommended treatment.
If you are experiencing UTI symptoms, visit your local FastMed clinic any day of the week, with no appointment necessary. We will provide appropriate care to ensure that your UTI does not turn into a more serious kidney infection.
What is a urinary tract infection?
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) result when bacteria enter the urinary tract. From there, they travel to the bladder and can spread rapidly to the kidneys. Symptoms vary, based on which area of the urinary tract is infected.
What causes urinary tract infections?
Bacteria, such as E. coli from the large intestine, pass through the stool onto the skin, then enter the urethra—the tube that carries urine as it exits the body. From there, the bacteria can travel up to the bladder and, if left untreated, can eventually infect the kidneys. Wiping from back to front and not emptying the bladder immediately after sexual activity are the most common causes of urinary tract infections.
What are the symptoms of a urinary tract infection?
Although symptoms vary depending on which area of the urinary tract is infected, the most common symptoms of UTIs include:
- A frequent, possibly intense, urge to urinate, which results in a minimal amount of urine
- Painful, burning, or stinging sensation while urinating
- Cloudy or foul-smelling urine
- The passing of small blood clots
- Tenderness in the lower abdomen
- Back pain in the waist area
- Fever or chills, especially if the infection spreads to the kidneys
In general, someone who has experienced a past UTI is more likely to have a future one.
Urinary tract infections in women
Women are more likely to experience UTIs, possibly because their urethras are shorter than a man’s. This allows bacteria to quickly reach the bladder. Some estimates predict as many as one-half of all women will experience a UTI at some point in their lifetime.
Some women are more susceptible than others due to urinary tract abnormalities or pre-existing conditions, such as diabetes, multiple sclerosis, or even pregnancy. Basically, anything that affects your body’s flora balance can lead to a UTI.
Many women suffer multiple infections, usually resulting from either different strains of bacteria or only partially treated prior infections. In some cases, however, the same strain becomes antibiotic-resistant and re-attacks the body repeatedly. This is why FastMed sends cultures to ensure treatment with appropriate antibiotics.
Urinary tract infections in men
Men rarely experience urinary tract infections (UTIs), especially before age 50. Even after 50, men are far less likely to suffer UTIs, thanks to their anatomy. For this reason, men experiencing frequent, painful urination, or other UTI symptoms may need additional tests to rule out other possible causes, such as sexually transmitted diseases.
Urinary tract infections in kids
Urinary tract infections are far less common in kids, with roughly 8% of girls and up to 2% of boys experiencing their first one by age five. For this reason, it is recommended that both boys and girls be referred to a urologist as early as the first infection, to rule out possible ureteral reflux.
As in adults, common urinary tract infection causes in children are bacteria that enter the urinary tract and spread to the bladder, and sometimes to the kidneys. Although UTIs in children usually produce similar symptom as those in adults, often the only noticeable symptom may be fever or irritability. For this reason, it is important to have any symptoms that may indicate a childhood UTI properly diagnosed immediately. This can help to avoid possible complications and potential kidney damage.
Your neighborhood FastMed clinic is available for pediatric evaluations seven days a week, including holidays. No appointment is necessary.
How to cure a UTI
Although there are many UTI remedies tried at home, few have proven to be effective, including cranberry juice. The most effective UTI treatment is an effective antibiotic course. The type and duration of the UTI medication will depend on many factors, such as the patient’s overall health history and the type of bacteria causing the UTI infection.
Most UTI symptoms will improve after a few days of treatment. You should continue taking the antibiotics for the prescribed duration to ensure a complete recovery. Your doctor may also prescribe pain medication, such as Pyridium, to relieve any discomfort while urinating.
* The content presented on this page is not intended to diagnose health problems or take the place of professional medical care.