What is a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)?
A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection occurring in the kidneys, bladder, ureters or urethra. Women are at a higher risk of developing UTIs than men, and as many as one-in-two women will experience a urinary tract infection at least once in their lives. They are extremely common, resulting in nearly 8 million doctor visits annually.
While most UTIs affect either the bladder or urethra, it’s possible for infection to spread to the kidneys, which can lead to severe complications.
What Causes Urinary Tract Infections?
Although the urinary system is generally resistant to many different types of harmful bacteria, urinary tract infections can occur when bacteria enters the urethra and multiply in the bladder. This can occur under a number of circumstances, ranging from lapses in bathroom hygiene to sexual intercourse. If an infection is not treated, it can spread further past the bladder and affect the kidneys—one of the reasons why it’s important to identify a potential UTI as early as possible.
What are the Symptoms of UTIs?
Urinary tract infections tend to be characterized by a number of different symptoms, including the following:
- Burning during urination
- Strong urge to urinate
- Frequent urination
- Lower abdominal pain
- Lower back pain
- Cloudy or dark urine
When Should I Seek Medical Attention?
One of the most common misconceptions about urinary tract infections is that they can clear up on their own. UTIs must be treated by a medical professional in order to ensure infection does not travel to the kidneys and lead to severe complications, including:
- Recurring UTIs
- Permanent kidney damage
- Risk of premature birth in pregnant women
- Urethral narrowing
If you experience symptoms of a UTI, be sure to visit ConvenientMD today.
Diagnosing & Treating Urinary Tract Infections
Diagnosing a UTI begins with seeking medical attention, where you will most likely be asked to give a urine sample that can be tested for certain types of bacteria. In the vast majority of cases, UTIs will be treated with antibiotic therapy, which can help to clear up the infection quickly and effectively. Your treating provider may also recommend treating UTI-related pain with anti-inflammatory medications and/or a heating pad, both of which can help ease symptoms.
UTIs in children that are left untreated can result in serious complications, including kidney damage. Infants and young children require immediate attention should a UTI be suspected—treatment usually involves oral antibiotics. For young children or those with impaired immune systems, IV antibiotics may be given.
Recurrent UTIs are not uncommon in children and should always be treated by a medical provider so as to keep complications from developing.
Clear Up UTIs with ConvenientMD! Visit Any of Our Urgent Care Locations in NH, ME and MA Today.
Urinary tract infections can be painful, and—if left untreated—potentially dangerous. The expert team at ConvenientMD can diagnose and treat UTIs with ease, getting you back on your feet in no time. We’re open seven days a week, so just stop into one of our clinics in Maine, New Hampshire or Massachusetts without ever needing an appointment.