A Quick Guide to Urinary Tract Infections (UTI)
Experiencing pain or discomfort every time you relieve yourself? It could be a urinary tract infection (UTI). At Statcare Urgent Care, we can help diagnose urinary tract infection (bladder infection or kidney infection) by doing an in-office test. More than that, we also provide treatment without the need for an appointment.
If you are not able to come in for a personal consultation, Statcare also does Telemedicine – schedule your visit today!
What is a Urinary Tract Infection?
A UTI (urinary tract infection) is an infection of one or more components of the urinary system, which consists of the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra.
UTI is often used to indicate an infection anywhere along the urinary tract. But it can also be specified based on the part of the urinary tract affected by the infection:
- Urethritis is an infection of the urethra.
- Cystitis is an infection of the urinary bladder.
- Bladder and urethral infections are also called lower UTI.
- Pyelonephritis is an infection of one or both kidneys. This infection is called an upper UTI.
UTI is one of the most common bacterial infections. Approximately 7 million of all doctor visits yearly involve this kind of infection. According to the American Urological Association (AUA) women are at higher risk of UTIs than men. Approximately 40% of women and 12% of men have at least one UTI in their lifetime.
Women get it more frequently because they have a shorter urethra than men. Hence, contamination with bacteria in the stool is much more likely because of this proximity. Older men with enlarged prostates are also more likely to get UTIs.
Symptoms of UTI
The symptoms of a urinary infection will depend on the location of the infection.
If the infection affects the urethra (urethritis), you may experience:
- burning pain when passing urine
- urgent need to empty the bladder
- a feeling of incomplete emptying of the urinary bladder
- spasmodic pain at the end of urination with or without bloody discharge in the urine
If the infection affects the urinary bladder (cystitis), symptoms may be minimal. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), which is a part of the National Institutes of Health, bladder infections are the most common of all urinary infection types.
This may include symptoms like:
- pressure-like discomfort on the pubic bone above the genital area
- frequent passing of urine (frequency)
- burning pain (dysuria) on passing urine
- cloudy and foul-smelling urine
- incontinence (loss of bladder control) triggered by coughing or sneezing
- lower abdominal discomfort (similar to but more distinct than menstrual cycle pain)
A urinary infection that affects the ureters and kidneys (acute pyelonephritis) is characterized by:
- back pain
- blood in urine
- shaking and chills
There are also silent UTIs, which are infections in the urinary system but without the typical symptoms of a regular UTI. People with weak immune systems are more likely to experience this type of UTI.
Even though UTIs are treatable, access to prompt medical care and treatment may affect the duration of the disease and its prognosis.
The Dangers of UTI
Urine does not normally contain bacteria. But if the flow of urine is obstructed or if urine is retained in the bladder, bacteria may multiply. Most urinary tract infections are caused by bacteria that enter the urethral opening and move up the urethra to the bladder.
Lower UTIs are usually uncomplicated and easier to treat. However, if left untreated with antibiotics in a timely fashion, the infection will spread up into the kidneys. Kidney infections are harder to treat and may involve a prolonged course of antibiotics.
A kidney infection is often a result of an untreated bladder infection. It can also be caused by an underlying condition, such as a kidney stone or a partially or incompletely treated UTI. Untreated, a kidney infection enters the bloodstream, causing life-threatening sepsis.
Home and over-the-counter (OTC) remedies, herbal medicines, and urinary analgesics (Pyridium) only relieve symptoms temporarily. Without antibiotics, a urinary infection will simply not go away. On the other hand, a simple antibiotic course prevents UTIs from getting worse.
Importance of Urine Culture
Urine culture is a lab test that helps health professionals check for the presence of germs or bacteria in a urine sample. This test helps establish the identification of the bacteria causing the infection and if it is antibiotic-resistant. Recurrent and antibiotic-resistant UTIs are often due to a recent hospitalization, catheterization, diabetes, or kidney stones.
Most urine infections are caused by Escherichia coli (E. coli), a bacteria found in stool. Usually, these bacteria are sensitive to antibiotics. Other bacteria that may cause infections include Proteus, Klebsiella, and Enterococcus. These are usually resistant to antibiotics. Additional tests are needed to confirm their presence in the body.
Drinking enough water, using the bathroom more frequently, and completing the course of antibiotics prescribed to you can help prevent UTI. Steer clear of birth control methods that may cause bacterial growth, such as spermicide, condoms, and diaphragms. Birth control pills, on the other hand, have no proven link to the development of urinary tract infections. Read 10 ways to never get another UTI for more information on this topic.
At Statcare, you may come in any time during business hours to get treated for a UTI. We are open daily including evenings, weekends, and holidays. Set up an appointment online or visit us in multiple locations in NYC:
- Hicksville, Long Island
- Astoria, Queens
- the Bronx at Bartow Avenue (Co-op City)
- the Bronx at E. 174th Street
- Jackson Heights, Queens
- Midtown Manhattan
- Jamaica, Queens
Statcare serves the Long Island residents of Nassau County, Suffolk County, Queens, Manhattan and Brooklyn, as well as the Bronx in NYC. If you have any questions about any conditions we treat or services we offer, call (917) 310-3371 today.