What is a urinary tract infection?
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are bacterial infections in any part of the urinary tract. The urinary tract includes the urethra, ureter, bladder, and kidneys.
The urethra is a tube that connects the bladder to the outside of the body. Urine leaves the bladder, travels down through the urethra, and exits the body at the end of the tube.
What causes a UTI?
E Coli, found in fecal matter, is the most common cause of bacterial infections in the urinary tract. The close proximity of the rectum and the urinary tract makes bacterial transmission easy.
The UTI bacteria enter the urethra and begin to multiply. Bacteria can multiply and spread upward and into the bladder. Once bacteria are present in the bladder, it is possible to spread even further into the kidneys. Bacteria in the bladder and kidneys can be very dangerous and have long-term consequences.
Urinary tract infections can happen from wiping incorrectly and bringing fecal matter into the urinary tract. UTIs can also be contracted during sex. For this reason, it is recommended to urinate after intercourse. Occasionally, some patients contract UTIs from bacteria in hot tubs or from frequent long baths.
What are the symptoms of a UTI?
Early symptoms of a urinary tract infection may include:
- Pain or burning with urination
- Urgency to urinate
- Frequent urination
- Urine with a foul odor
As the bacterial infection spreads, UTI symptoms may worsen to include:
- Low fever, under 101° F
- Chills and fatigue
- Pain or pressure in the lower abdomen or pelvis
- Back pain
How do I get rid of a UTI?
A medical professional should diagnose your UTI. Other conditions may cause similar symptoms and a misdiagnosis can lead to serious complications.
Occasionally, UTI symptoms resolve within a few days, and treatment is not needed. Much more often, however, antibiotics are needed to kill the bacteria to prevent further complications, such as bladder and kidney infections. Antibiotics typically prescribed for UTIs caused by E Coli are Bactrim DS, Keflex, and Nitrofurantoin.
How long does it take for antibiotics to work?
Many people get relief quickly, sometimes within hours. However, all patients should notice improvements in UTI symptoms after three doses. If symptoms worsen or do not improve after three to four doses, then patients should speak to their healthcare provider. Occasionally, E Coli bacteria are resistant to certain antibiotics and patients may need a different medication for their UTI.
How long do I take antibiotics for a UTI?
Depending on the length and the severity of symptoms, antibiotic treatment for UTI may last between five and ten days. It is very important that patients take all of the UTI antibiotic doses as prescribed. Though UTI symptoms may ease after a few doses, bacteria still remain and need to be treated with the full course of antibiotics.
Can I get online treatment for a urinary tract infection?
Yes! Online telehealth appointments are quick and easy. Meet with a board-certified healthcare provider who can diagnose your urinary tract infection and prescribe medicine to treat it. Your preferred pharmacy receives your prescription directly, saving you time and hassle.
When you schedule an appointment with Tennessee Telederm, you receive high-quality healthcare tailored for you and your schedule.