Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are a painful condition caused by an infection in any part of your urinary tract–kidneys, ureters, bladder or urethra. Most UTIs are limited to the lower urinary tract–the bladder and the urethra. While lower urinary tract infections can be painful and bothersome, serious complications can arise if the infection spreads to the kidneys.
Symptoms of a UTI include:
- Painful burning during urination
- Frequent urge to urinate, or urinating frequently in small amounts
- Blood in the urine (seen as red, brown or pink urine)
- Pelvic pain
An infection that has spread to the kidneys can cause fever, nausea or pain in the lower back or sides, where the kidneys are located, and should be treated immediately by a doctor. UTIs are more common in women, because it is easier for harmful bacteria to enter the urinary tract, and the urinary tract is shorter.
To prevent UTIs, it’s important to always drink plenty of water, and avoid products that may irritate (i.e. certain feminine products or birth control methods). A doctor can usually diagnose a UTI with a simple urine test, and if the diagnosis is positive, will most likely prescribe you a course of antibiotics. Many times, symptoms will clear up on their own, but it’s important to see a doctor to minimize the risk of an infection spreading to the kidneys. For recurring UTIs, your doctor may recommend you take an antibiotic after sexual intercourse, or put you on a long-term low dose antibiotic.
River City OB/GYN provides women’s health treatment for women of all ages. If you’re suffering from the symptoms of a UTI, contact us for an appointment at (804) 362-0808.