You’re constantly running to the bathroom, and once you’re there, you feel burning and stinging. These symptoms can make you miserable, but you might feel embarrassed or ashamed to tell your doctor that you think you have a urinary tract infection (UTI).
There are a lot of misconceptions about UTIs, but they’re actually very common. In fact, urinary tract infections are the reason for almost 10 million doctor visits every year! Preventing them, recognizing them, and treating them when they occur can save you a lot of physical and mental discomfort.
If you think you have a urinary tract infection, you might wonder: How did this happen, anyway? Basically, a UTI can happen when bacteria like E. coli get inside your urinary tract—like your kidneys, bladder, or urethra—and multiply. The more opportunities for bacteria to enter the urinary tract, the more likely a UTI will occur. These everyday situations include:
Urinary tract infections can range from annoying to downright painful. Some key symptoms include a burning feeling when you urinate and an unusual urgency to do so.
Women are at greater risk of developing a UTI when using feminine hygiene products, using spermicides or diaphragms for birth control, and after menopause. Adopting certain lifestyle habits could help lower your risk of developing a UTI. For example, urinating after sexual activity can help to flush bacteria out of the urethra.
It’s common to think you only get UTIs if you are sexually promiscuous, practice poor hygiene, or have another condition, like a sexually transmitted infection (STI). But these common misconceptions around UTIs fuel a stigma that makes many people feel embarrassed or ashamed when they develop one.
While UTIs are more common in people having sex, they are not sexually transmitted, like an STI. STIs occur when new bacteria, viruses, or parasites are introduced to the body, often through sexual activity. Bacteria that already exist in your body cause UTIs, and sex creates a scenario where this naturally occurring bacteria can move to your urethra.
Getting a UTI doesn’t mean you have done anything wrong, shameful, or gross. Even if your friends don’t understand that your doctor does!
Another misconception is that only women can get UTIs. Shorter urethras do make them more common for women, but men can also contract UTIs.
Other health conditions could also cause burning or pain when you urinate. Common conditions that share these symptoms with UTIs include:
See your doctor right away if you have urinary tract infection symptoms. Not only could this help you feel better sooner, but it could also help reduce your risk of complications. Without treatment, UTIs can lead to kidney damage or other problems.
If you have a UTI, your doctor may prescribe antibiotic medicine to kill the bacteria. It’s important to take your antibiotics as directed to completely kill the bacteria and avoid needing another prescription since overuse of antibiotics can make them less effective.
Talking to a vybe physician about personal hygiene, problems in the bathroom, or your sexual history can feel uncomfortable, but it’s the best way to get help. Swing by one of our urgent care centers if you’re dealing with urinary tract infection symptoms. Walk-ins are welcome 7 days a week, but if it’s more convenient for you, you can book an appointment, too!