The Treatment and Prevention of UTIs
posted by The Live Better Team | June 29, 2016
Your family doctor or OB/GYN can treat most urinary tract infections, but if you experience frequent recurrences or have a chronic kidney infection, you’ll probably be referred to a urologist, a doctor who specializes in urinary disorders, for an evaluation.
If you’ve been diagnosed with a UTI in the past, you’ll probably recognize the symptoms of a new one right away. Once the urgent, frequent or painful urination begins, or you find blood in your urine, call your doctor. Early treatment usually resolves most UTIs, but if an infection is ignored while still confined to the lower urinary tract, it can travel to the kidneys and lead to complications that include:
Permanent kidney damage from an acute or chronic kidney infection (pyelonephritis)
Sepsis, a potentially life-threatening complication
Increased risk in pregnant women of delivering low birth weight or premature infants
Recurrent infections, especially in women who experience three or more UTIs
Urethral narrowing in men from recurrent urethritis
Your doctor will perform one or more tests and procedures to diagnose a urinary tract infection including:
Urine sample analysis to detect the presence of white blood cells, red blood cells or bacteria
Urine culture to identify the specific bacteria responsible for your infection to determine which medications will be most effective
Imaging tests such as a CT scan, MRI or ultrasound if your urologist suspects that you are having frequent infections due to an abnormality in your urinary tract
Cytoscopy allows your urologist to see inside your urethra and bladder using a long, thin tube with a lens
Your doctor will usually prescribe antibiotics for your urinary tract infection. Your health condition and the type of bacteria found in your urine determine the specific drug and the duration of treatment.
Simple infections are commonly treated with Ciprofloxacin, Doxycycline, Levofloxacin, Azithromycin and several other medications. Your symptoms may clear up in a few days, but be sure to take the entire course of antibiotics as prescribed, even if you feel better. Your urologist may also prescribe a pain medication to relieve burning while urinating.
If you have frequent UTIs, Mayo Clinic advises that your doctor create a special treatment plan that includes:
Low-dose antibiotics, initially for six months but sometimes longer
Self-diagnosis and treatment, provided you stay in touch with your doctor
A single dose of antibiotic after sexual intercourse if your infections are related to sexual activity
Vaginal estrogen therapy if you’re postmenopausal
A severe UTI may require treatment with intravenous antibiotics in a hospital.
Ease your pain and discomfort while waiting for the antibiotics to take effect by:
Drinking plenty of water to dilute your urine and flush out bacteria.
Avoiding all the foods and beverages known to irritate your bladder.
Applying a warm heating pad to your abdomen to soothe bladder pressure or pain.
Reduce your risk of future urinary tract infections by:
Wiping front to back after urinating and defecating.
Drinking enough fluids to produce clear urine to ensure that you flush bacteria from your urinary tract before an infection can begin.
Emptying your bladder immediately after intercourse and drinking a full glass of water to help flush bacteria.
Changing your birth control method if you are using diaphragms or unlubricated or spermicide-treated condoms that contribute to bacterial growth.
Taking showers instead of baths.
Sleeping in loose-fitting pajamas made of natural, breathable fibers without underwear.
Would you like to partner with a group of compassionate, patient-centered health care providers who truly put “your health above all else”? Revere Health Urology providers specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of pediatric and adult urinary problems in eight easy-to-access Utah locations. We offer state-of-the-art, personalized care tailored to your unique needs.
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.