Are you struggling with multiple trips to the bathroom or experiencing discomfort while urinating? It could be a urinary tract infection (UTI).

The function of the urinary tract is to produce and store urine in the body. This system consists of not only the urethra, where you may be experiencing pain due to an infection, but also includes the kidneys, ureters, and bladder. An infection occurs when bacteria invade and multiply within the urinary tract. An infection in any area of the urinary tract can cause a great deal of discomfort, and while most infections occur in the lower part of the urinary tract, an infection can in some cases spread to the kidneys and cause serious health complications.

So how can you tell if you have a urinary tract infection, and what should you do about it? Common symptoms of an infection include:

  • Frequent urge to urinate
  • Pain, discomfort, or burning with urinating
  • Pressure or discomfort in the pelvis, or lower back
  • Inability to urinate when needed, or only able to pass small amounts of urine
  • Blood in urine
  • Cloudy urine
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Chills

If you think you may have a urinary tract infection, you should visit your health care provider. Your doctor will likely test your urine to see if there is blood or bacteria in the sample as these are not usually present in urine, and can suggest infection. Usually, a course of antibiotics is prescribed and, if needed, a medicine to help alleviate pain or burning.

There are certain factors that can make a person more susceptible to urinary tract infections including:

  • Being female
  • Not drinking enough fluids
  • Not urinating regularly
  • Recent sexual activity
  • Taking certain brands of birth control
  • Menopause
  • Abnormalities in the shape or structure of a person’s urinary tract
  • Conditions that suppress the immune system
  • Recent surgeries or procedures relating to the urinary tract
  • Catheter use

Fortunately, there are also steps you can take to help prevent bacteria from entering your urinary tract, which will help prevent urinary tract infections.

Check out these tips:

  • Stay hydrated! Drinking plenty of water can help your body to flush out bacteria that cause infection. Some studies have found that drinking cranberry juice can help prevent urinary tract infections, although there isn’t conclusive data on the benefits of consumption.
  • Follow proper wiping techniques. Wipe from front to back because you can contaminate your urethra with harmful bacteria from the anus.
  • Avoid feminine products that can cause irritation. Douches, body washes, powders, and wipes can affect the pH of your body and encourage bacterial growth.
  • Urinate after intercourse. This can help flush out bacteria in the urinary tract and can help prevent infection.

Think you have a UTI? Patient First can diagnose and treat urinary tract infections, and you can even get prescriptions for treatment on site. Our centers are all open from 8 am to 8 pm every day, including holidays.


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