If you are like most people, your only concerns about going to the bathroom are whether the toilet is clean and if there is enough toilet paper. But sometimes, you may ask yourself why not much is coming out, despite the urge to urinate. Or perhaps you look in the toilet afterwards and see it is cloudy or – gasp! – pink or red. If you’re not feeling 100% down there, there could be many reasons for it, but the main reason is a urinary tract infection, or UTI.
In this article, we’ll learn about UTIs, how to prevent them, and what to do if you get one.
Urinary Tract and Bladder Infections
The urinary tract includes your urethra, bladder, ureter and kidneys. If harmful bacteria make it into any of those, they grow and multiply – causing the symptoms mentioned above, and more. Women are more susceptible than men, due to their anatomy. UTIs are most frequently caused by E. coli, which is present in our gastrointestinal (GI) tract. It is important to know that they most commonly begin in the urethra (urethritis) or bladder (cystitis), and that they have several typical symptoms:
- An urge to urinate constantly, despite there not being much urine
- Burning during urination
- Cloudy urine
- Discolored urine (pink, red, or brown, indicating blood in the urine)
- Pelvic pain
There are other infections and problems which present with similar symptoms, so if you are experience any of the above, stop in to our Spring Hill walk in clinic to get a full diagnosis.
An ounce of prevention
Whether you’ve never had a UTI or you get them frequently, there are some steps you can take which will minimize your risk.
- Drink plenty of fluids. This is not only healthy for your body generally and digestive system in particular, it’s excellent for your urinary tract. Frequent (but not excessive) urination ensures that anything potentially harmful isn’t sticking around for long.
- Beware of your wipe. Since the bidet hasn’t taken off in the US, we have to be more careful about our hygiene. Wiping from front to back ensures that there is minimal chance of E. coli from the GI tract making its way to the urethra.
- Use the bathroom after sexual intercourse. Although you may not feel an urge to urinate, it is worth trying, to ensure that you’re flushing out any foreign fluids from the area.
- Beware of what you use down there. Whether it’s your choice of birth control or your chosen sanitary product for that time of the month, be aware that increased interaction with foreign substances or irritants can increase your chances of UTI.
Treatment – Urinary Tract Infection
When you stop into our Spring Hill walk in clinic and meet with the doctor, he or she will most likely have you give a urine sample. Analyzing the sample will ensure a diagnosis the majority of the time. Because we have a lab on-site, we can quickly determine what the problem is. If it is a UTI, the most common treatment is antibiotics. If you are prescribed antibiotics, it is necessary to take them the full course, even if you begin to feel better after 2-3 days. This is because it’s necessary to ensure all harmful bacteria have been eliminated – and to prevent them from mutating into something worse.
It is also worth supplementing your diet with natural probiotics like sauerkraut and unsweetened yogurt, or a prescription probiotic. These will ensure that good bacteria aren’t destroyed during the antibiotic treatment, making you more susceptible to yeast infection and other complications.
If you have recurring UTIs, you may need a different approach to treatment. In the case that you experience something “not right” after finishing antibiotics, you can once again stop into our Spring Hill walk in clinic – no appointment necessary – and we will determine a new strategy for diagnosis and treatment.
LifeGuard Urgent Care
If you live in the Spring Hill area, we encourage you to pay us a visit and discuss your symptoms. We are open seven days per week with no appointment necessary. Simply show up, and we will take care of you. To learn about other services that we provide, visit our website.