Urinary Tract Infection

Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

A urinary tract infection, commonly known as UTI, can be an uncomfortable and bothersome experience. At Vital Urgent Care, our on-site labs enable us to promptly diagnose and treat UTIs, ensuring quick relief for you.

If you notice a burning sensation during urination or an increased frequency of urination, it could be a sign of a urinary tract infection. Seeking medical treatment is important if you experience any signs or symptoms of a UTI, as leaving it untreated can lead to more serious infections or complications.

Vital Urgent Care offers convenient hours, allowing you to receive the necessary treatment when you need it. Don't hesitate to visit us at the first sign of a UTI, where our caring and friendly medical team will help you feel better swiftly.

Now, let's understand what exactly a UTI is. It is an infection that can occur in any part of your urinary system, including the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. Most UTIs typically affect the lower part of the urinary tract, such as the bladder and urethra, which is the tube that carries urine from the bladder out of the body.

UTIs generally occur when bacteria enter the urinary tract through the urethra and multiply in the bladder. While our urinary tracts have defense mechanisms to keep out unwanted bacteria, sometimes these microbes manage to evade them.

UTIs are more prevalent in women due to their anatomical structure. The shorter distance between the urethra and anus, as well as the urethral opening to the bladder, makes women more susceptible to UTIs. Common bacteria found in the gastrointestinal tract, such as Escherichia coli (E. coli), are often the cause of these infections. Post-menopausal women are particularly vulnerable to UTIs, and older adults also have a higher risk due to age-related changes in the immune system.

Other factors that can contribute to UTIs include bladder or bowel incontinence, catheter use, and menopause. Menopause can disrupt the proper bacterial balance in the vagina due to decreased estrogen levels.

Symptoms of a UTI may vary, and some individuals may not experience any symptoms at all. Common signs of a UTI include a strong urge to urinate, a burning sensation during urination, frequent urination in small amounts, cloudy urine, pink or reddish urine (indicating blood presence), strong-smelling urine, and pelvic pain in women. If the infection reaches the kidneys, additional symptoms may include upper back pain, fever, shaking or chills, nausea, and vomiting.

Diagnosing a UTI

To diagnose a urinary tract infection (UTI), our medical team will analyze a urine sample provided by you. This urinalysis helps us identify signs of infection, such as cloudy appearance, altered pH, presence of bacteria byproducts, and white blood cells.

In order to identify the specific bacteria causing the infection, your healthcare provider may recommend a urine culture. This involves sending a urine sample to an external laboratory. The culture not only allows the bacteria to grow and be identified, but also helps the lab determine which antibiotics will effectively eliminate the bacteria, ensuring appropriate treatment.

UTI Treatment

Since UTIs are caused by bacteria, they are treated with antibiotics. Prompt initiation of UTI treatment is crucial upon diagnosis. While a urine culture can assist in selecting the most suitable antibiotic, usually an empiric antibiotic is started during the visit to expedite resolution of the infection.

Untreated UTIs may lead to complications, including:

  • Recurrent infections, particularly for individuals who have experienced at least two UTIs within a six-month period or at least four UTIs within a year.
  • Permanent kidney damage resulting from a kidney infection.
  • Sepsis, a serious and potentially life-threatening infection-related complication.

Preventing Future UTIs

To prevent future UTIs, consider the following measures:

  • Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of fluids throughout the day increases urination frequency and helps flush bacteria out of your urinary tract. Aim for 6 to 8 glasses of water daily. Limit or avoid caffeinated and alcoholic beverages, as they can irritate your bladder.
  • Don't "hold it in": Avoid holding in urine, as it can facilitate bacterial growth in your urinary tract. Unless you are sleeping, make sure to urinate at least once every four hours and empty your bladder completely each time.
  • Practice proper wiping: Wiping from front to back after using the toilet is a simple yet effective way to prevent UTIs. This technique helps keep waste away from your genital area. Remember, the rectum is a major source of E. coli, which can lead to infection. Pay extra attention to this step when you have diarrhea, as it can make it challenging to control bowel movements.
  • Evaluate your birth control: Certain forms of birth control, such as spermicides, diaphragms, and non-lubricated or spermicide-coated condoms, may increase the risk of bladder infections or UTIs. Consult with your healthcare provider to determine the most suitable birth control method for you.
  • Urinate before and after sexual activity: For women, sexual activity can contribute to UTIs. To reduce the risk of bacteria entering your urethra, make sure to urinate before and immediately after sex to flush out your urinary system. Additionally, gently washing your genital area before sexual activity may help reduce the presence of harmful bacteria.
  • Consider cranberry juice: While studies have yielded inconclusive results, some people find that cranberries can help prevent UTIs. Compounds called proanthocyanins in cranberries may prevent E. coli from sticking to tissues in the urinary tract. Moreover, the vitamin C in cranberry juice can increase the acidity of urine, potentially inhibiting the growth of harmful bacteria. You can try low-sugar cranberry juice, raw or frozen cranberries, or cranberry pills to see if these benefits apply to you. Please note that there is no evidence supporting the use of cranberries for treating an ongoing infection.
  • Avoid scented products: Women should refrain from using scented hygiene products, as they can disrupt the balance of healthy bacteria in the vagina. This disruption may lead to immune system disturbances, such as bacterial vaginosis, yeast infections, and UTIs.

Access to

Urgent Care

when you need it most

Book an Appointment

To Top