If you suspect you have a urinary tract infection, visit your gynecologist as soon as possible to get tested and treated.
What Is a Urinary Tract Infection?
If you are a sexually-active female, then you are naturally at risk for getting a urinary tract infection. UTIs develop as a result of fecal bacteria spreading to the urinary tract through the urethra. Women have much shorter urethras than men. Therefore, women have a much higher likelihood of getting a UTI. Bacteria and germs are pushed into the urethra during sex. Your partner’s penis, fingers, or other objects that touch the vagina during intercourse can spread this bacteria.
Women who just have begun having sex or are now having sex more frequently are at risk of getting a UTI. Urinary tract infections can also occur as a result of using spermicides or diaphragms during sexual intercourse. Other risk factors include: history of UTI, history of multiple childbirths, diabetes, obesity, and menopause. Holding urine for too long can also cause UTI and make the symptoms worse since too much urine in the bladder creates more germs and bacteria.
Pregnant women can also experience the signs of a urinary tract infection. If you are pregnant and notice any of the symptoms below, it is important to seek treatment immediately in order to prevent any problems with your baby.
Understanding the Signs of a Urinary Tract Infection
Certain signs typically accompany a UTI. These include:
- Persistent pain and/or pressure in the lower abdomen
- Burning sensation or pain during urination
- Frequent urge to urinate followed by an inability to urinate or only urinating small amounts
- Fever and chills
- Nausea and vomiting
- Intense pain under the rib cage in addition to above the waist or both sides of your back
- Cloudy urine that has a bad smell and looks red or pink in color
- Feeling fatigued
The symptoms of a urinary tract infection may overlap with other conditions like vaginal infections or irritable bladder. This is why it is extremely important that you do not try to self-diagnose or treat yourself for a UTI. Visiting a women’s health center like The Woman’s Clinic can help you properly identify the condition and get the appropriate care.
Here’s What to Expect: Treatment for UTIs
Once your doctor obtains laboratory confirmation of a urinary tract infection, you will be prescribed antibiotic therapy. These drugs help your body to fight off and kill the specific bacteria that was responsible for the infection. The type of drug you are prescribed will depend on the exact type of bacteria in your urine. Not all urinary tract infections are caused by the same type or strand of bacteria, which is why it is important for each symptomatic episode to be clinically evaluated.
Some physicians also provide prescriptions for an analgesic that helps you to urinate more easily and with less pain. UTIs are treated differently based on the general health of the patient. If you are pregnant or have frequent UTIs, your doctor may suggest a different course of action.
If you are worried that you are currently experiencing the signs of a urinary tract infection, contact The Woman’s Clinic for quality care in Little Rock you can count on. Call us at 501-664-4131 to schedule an appointment any time.
*photo courtesy of Vanessa Bazzano through Flikr