A urinary tract infection, or UTI, is a condition in which the lining of the urinary tract is infected with bacteria, thus causing inflammation. The urinary tract is the pathway that makes up your urinary system and includes your kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra. A UTI can affect any area of your urinary system and is generally caused by bacteria, but may also be due to viruses or yeast. UTI can also occur with reduced ability to empty the bladder.
In the United States alone, about 8.3 million doctor visits every year are related to the occurrence of UTI. Although both men and women, of any age, are susceptible to urinary tract infections, the condition is more prevalent in women than men. Women are also more likely to experience recurring UTI’s. This is mainly due to the fact that the urethra is shorter in women than men.
Whether you are experiencing your first UTI or experiencing your third, symptoms are very noticeable and can be an annoyance to your everyday life. Read the list of common symptoms below to determine if you are experiencing a urinary tract infection.
Common Symptoms of Urinary Tract Infections
- Increased frequency or urgency to urinate
- Frequent or intense urge to urinate at night
- Pain or burning during urination
- Cloudy, dark, foul-smelling urine
- Lower abdominal or pelvic pain and pressure
- Blood in the urine
- Fever and chills
- Feeling tired or shaky
Although primary-care doctors are able to treat most urinary tract infections with antibiotics over the course of one week, frequent recurrences of UTI may be a sign of a more serious issues that may need further investigation by a specialist. It is important to get to the root of the problem because while UTI’s that are limited to the bladder are bothersome, they can normally disappear within 24-48 hours after treatment with antibiotics begin. However, if the condition is not responding to treatment and occurs more than twice in 6 months, it is considered a recurring UTI.
Behavioral changes, preventative medications, or long-term and low-dose antibiotics may need to be prescribed. Unchecked urinary infections may lead to kidney infection and kidney damage.
Kidney infection (pyelonephritis) is potentially life threatening and may lead to sepsis, which occurs when bacteria from the infected kidney enters the bloodstream. Sepsis is an alarming condition that can cause low blood pressure, shock, and even death. Symptoms of pyelonephritis typically include:
- Pain and tenderness in the upper back and sides
Learn more about URIs by visiting Wikipedia.org.
When to See a Urologist
An evaluation by a urologist for recurring UTI is usually only recommended if there is suspicion about structural or functional abnormalities of the urinary tract. However, your family doctor may refer you to a urologist for frequent UTI recurrences that don’t respond to antibiotics or if you may be at risk for a chronic kidney infection. A skilled urologist will be able to check for obstructions by utilizing a number of tests including ultrasound, CT scan or cystoscopy.
Contact UTI Treatment Experts in Beverly Hills
The Institute for Incontinence and Vaginal Reconstruction is conveniently located in Beverly Hills, California. Our urologists strive for the best treatment outcomes possible and are experienced with treating a variety of urological conditions. If you would like to schedule an appointment with one of our Los Angeles urologists, please contact us online or call 310.231.5234 today.
Next, read our blog, Know if You are at Risk for Urinary Incontinence.