Why does it burn when I pee?
Do I have a UTI?
Urinary tract infection (UTI) in women.
As painful and uncomfortable as they are, urinary tract infections (UTI) are generally not serious, and if properly treatment, they rarely lead to complications. Left untreated, urinary tract infections can turn into kidney infections then blood infections which are life threatening conditions.
Urinary tract infections are common, occurring much more often in women than men. There are many types of bacteria that normally live in the vaginal area and skin and happily coexist. They keep each other in check, like a mini-ecosystem. Urinary tract infections typically occur when bacteria enter the urinary tract and begin to multiply in the bladder. Although the urinary system is designed to keep out invaders, these defenses sometimes fail. When that happens, bacteria may take hold and grow into a full-blown infection in the urinary tract. UTI’s are rare in men younger than 50 years old, but the chance of developing a UTI goes up as men get older. On the other hand, some studies suggest that 1 out of every 2 women will get a urinary tract infection at some point in their lives.
Sexual activity is one of the biggest risk factors for a UTI in women. Anything that irritates the vaginal and anal area can cause bacteria to get pushed up into the short female urinary tract, since they are close neighbors. Another risk factor is waiting too long to empty the bladder. For elderly people, the main culprits behind recurrent UTIs are physical changes, including thinning of vaginal tissue, incontinence, and trouble completely emptying the bladder. The lower levels of estrogen after menopause are also a factor.
Possible symptoms of a UTI include frequent urination, cloudy urine, dark urine, persistent urge to urinate, sense of incomplete bladder emptying, blood in urine, cramping or vaginal irritation, fever, fatigue and discomfort in the lower pelvic region. Some women have none of these symptoms and have a UTI, others have all of these symptoms. Most have at least a few of them.
To prevent a UTI, you should empty your bladder every time following sexual intercourse or anything that irritates the vaginal area. Drink plenty of liquids, especially water and cranberry juice. Natural Cranberry Juice has been linked to preventing UTIs by inhibiting bacteria from binding to the wall of the bladder, but once an infection occurs, it has not been shown to help. Also very importantly, wipe from front to back and avoid potentially irritating feminine products.
UTI’s are easily treatable at an Urgent Care facility or primary care physician.
See our Physicians and P.A.s at Doctors Urgent Care for the highest quality medical evaluation and treatment. We treat UTI’s frequently. We even provide free antibiotics on site at your visit so you do not need to make a separate trip to the pharmacy.
David B. Dean, MD
Doctors Urgent Care