Although anyone can get a urinary tract infection (UTI), it’s mainly a women’s health issue. In fact, 1 in 5 women have had at least one UTI in her lifetime. They are so common, many people just write UTIs off as an inconvenient annoyance and wait for them to go away on their own.
Without proper treatment, however, your UTI can lead to some serious complications.
Fortunately, you don’t have to live with the pain and other symptoms, nor do you have to risk your health while waiting for your body to fight off the infection on its own.
At Woodstock Family Practice & Urgent Care in Woodstock, Georgia, we diagnose and treat UTIs quickly to get rid of your pain and preserve your health. Here’s what you need to know.
What’s a urinary tract infection?
Your urinary tract begins in your kidneys, which filter impurities out of your blood and turn them into urine. Next, the ureters transport the urine to your bladder, where it’s stored until you release it through your urethra.
An infection anywhere along this path is considered a UTI, but the most common infections occur in the urethra.
Infections in the lower part of the urinary tract can travel upward and cause a bladder infection, or even a kidney infection.
How do you get a UTI?
UTIs occur when bacteria enter your urinary tract. This can happen during sex, but can also result from bacteria in the anal area creeping into the urethra. That’s why women are more susceptible to UTIs than men — the distance between a woman’s anus and urethra is very short.
Women who use diaphragms and spermicides for birth control are at a higher risk, and menopausal women are also more vulnerable due to decreased estrogen.
Bladder infections may occur when an infection in the urethra progresses, but it may also stem from E. coli bacteria that originates in the gastrointestinal tract.
Symptoms of a UTI
The signs of a UTI are unmistakable:
- Frequent urge to urinate
- Burning during urination
- Pressure and pain in the pelvis
- Blood in the urine
- Cloudy urine
- Foul-smelling urine
If you also experience pain during sex, lower back pain, fever, chills, and vomiting, your infection may be severe and require immediate attention.
Why seek urgent care for a UTI?
It’s dangerous to ignore a urinary tract infection because it can lead to some serious health complications, including:
- Recurrent UTIs
- Kidney damage
- Sepsis (potentially life-threatening)
Men with UTIs may risk a narrowing of their urethra, and pregnant women may deliver premature or low-birth weight babies.
To avoid these complications and relieve the painful symptoms of your UTI, it’s best to seek urgent care right away — and that’s where Woodstock Family Practice & Urgent Care comes in. At the first sign of a UTI, we urge you to schedule a visit or walk in to get immediate care.
Our team, led by Dr. James Lee, can diagnose your UTI with a simple urine test. We deliver your results quickly and start your treatment right away. Typically, that means you take a course of antibiotics. In severe cases, you may need an intravenous treatment.
If you get recurrent UTIs, Dr. Lee may recommend low-dose antibiotics over the course of six months, or single-dose antibiotics you take after sex.
There’s no need to endure the discomfort of a UTI, and doing so may put your overall health in danger, so come see us as soon as you feel the symptoms. Call us to schedule a visit, book online, or walk in when it’s convenient — we’re here to help.