Common and potentially painful, a urinary tract infection (UTI) occurs in any part of the urinary tract. This may include the following:
UTIs are most commonly found in the lower urinary tract, which includes the urethra and bladder. While it’s possible for men to get UTIs, they’re much more common in women. As many as 50-60% of women will experience at least one UTI in their lifetime! While these infections can be irksome and interrupt daily life, they will usually clear up within a week with proper treatment.
Seeking care is key because, without treatment, infections can spread and become more serious. UTIs that spread to the upper urinary tract, including the kidneys and ureters, can even cause kidney damage.
Keep reading to learn more about UTI symptoms, causes, and treatment.
What are the common symptoms of UTIs?
Symptoms may include any of the following:
- Pain or a burning sensation when urinating
- Feeling like you need to urinate often and with increased urgency
- Pain and/or pressure in your lower abdomen or rectum
- Urine that is tea-colored, pink, or cloudy
- Blood in your urine
- Strong-smelling urine
Upper tract infections may also cause fever, chills, nausea, and/or vomiting.
What are the common causes of UTIs?
Sometimes mistaken for STDs, UTIs are not sexually transmitted. Both share similar symptoms, so getting tested is the often best way to know for sure what’s going on. Understanding the cause of your symptoms lets you know the next steps for treatment, and how to prevent future infections.
Most commonly, UTIs occur when bacteria make their way into the urinary tract. Less commonly, UTIs occur when a fungus, like Candida, or a virus enters the urinary tract. Irritation or inflammation of the urinary tract can also increase the likelihood of infection.
Some common scenarios that may result in a UTI include:
- Sexual intercourse (by far the most common)
- Improper wiping after using the bathroom
- Wearing moisture-trapping, tight-fitting clothing
- Taking long, frequent baths
- Using spermicides or diaphragms for contraception
Why are UTIs more common in women?
The prevalent reason is that women have short urethras. This means bacteria have more opportunities to infect the urinary tract before urination flushes it out. Additionally, in many cases, the anatomy of a woman makes it easier for bacteria to spread to the urethra during normal activities like sex or working out. Lastly, hormone changes that naturally occur during menstruation, pregnancy, or menopause can make a woman more likely to contract a UTI.
How to prevent a UTI
There’s no guaranteed way to prevent an infection, but there are some simple choices that can help reduce your risk. These include:
- Urinating after sex to flush your urethra
- Wiping properly after using the bathroom (front to back)
- Staying hydrated
- Not holding in your urine for extended periods of time – go when you need to go
- Wearing breathable, moisture-wicking clothing when working out
Can you go to urgent care for a UTI?
Yes! A clinician will diagnose a UTI after a urine test and careful examination of symptoms. vybe offers same-day urine testing for UTIs, making sure you get the treatment you need fast.
Any medications prescribed will be dependent upon the cause of the UTI, though the most common form of UTI is bacterial. Treatment options include:
- Medication to reduce urethra/bladder spasm
- Increased fluids
UTIs happen, and they don’t have to stop you in your tracks. If you think you may have a UTI, visit your local vybe urgent care for testing and treatment today! Our conveniently located urgent care centers are open 7 days a week with hours that work for your busy schedule.