Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are common bacterial infections that can be quite painful. The burning, abdominal pressure, and frequent urge to urinate brought on by a UTI make it tough to rest or work.
Women get UTIs eight times more often than men, and between 50-60% of women experience at least one UTI in their lifetime. While easily treated if caught early, untreated UTIs can lead to sepsis or kidney damage.
We offer treatment for UTIs at the Medinet Family Care Clinic in Houston. Women can schedule a well-woman exam to treat UTIs and other gynecological issues. However, you may wonder what causes UTIs, who’s most at risk, and when to book an appointment for treatment.
What causes UTIs?
When certain bacteria (like E.coli) get into the urethra, they can travel into the bladder and kidneys. The urethra is a tube-like body part that carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body. Women have a shorter urethra than men, making it easier for this bacteria to get where it shouldn’t be.
Other risk factors include those with an enlarged prostate or a bladder that doesn’t empty completely. You may also be at risk if you’re a woman in menopause, due to lower estrogen levels which put you at greater risk for infections.
4 UTI symptoms that signal the need for medical help
While it’s possible to have UTI and not know it, this type of infection usually causes discomfort. Common symptoms include pressure or pain in your lower abdomen, a burning sensation when you urinate, and cloudy or strong-smelling urine. Here’s how to gauge if you need medical assistance.
1. Your symptoms are severe
If your symptoms cause pain, then you should contact your doctor. In some cases, severe UTI symptoms can go beyond the burning and pressure in the lower abdomen to fever, chills, vomiting, and back pain. You don’t need to endure such symptoms, and they’re a sign you need medical attention.
2. You’re pregnant
When you’re pregnant, you’re at greater risk of infections like UTIs, which can lead to complications for your baby. Don’t hesitate to make an appointment for an evaluation.
3. You have a history of UTIs
If you have recurrent UTIs, seek medical help to find out why. Sometimes, the infection can spread to the kidneys or other parts of the urinary tract, putting you at risk of serious complications.
4. You’re 65 or older
Older adults are at greater risk for infections like UTIs, and you may experience more severe symptoms.
When you see a doctor for UTI symptoms, they’ll usually test your urine to confirm the infection and determine the bacteria. From there, they’ll often prescribe antibiotics. If you follow the complete course of antibiotics, you should be free of the bacteria within a few days.
If you suspect you have a UTI, schedule an appointment with Medinet Family Care Clinic in Houston to start feeling better.