Urinary Tract Infections (UTI): What to Do and How to Prevent Them

| How-To

No one really wants to talk about urine, but when you are experiencing pain or burning while going number one, it might be all you can think about. Understanding and addressing the issue early on will help you get on with your life and think about much happier things.

Experiencing pain or burning while urinating typically points to a urinary tract infection or other issue with your urinary system. A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection that occurs in your bladder, kidneys, urethra, or other part of the urinary system.

There are a few different types of urinary tract infections that are identified by the part of the system they affect: the bladder, kidneys, or urethra. The symptoms you are experiencing may help identify which part of the system is infected.

How do you know it’s a UTI?

There are several common symptoms associated with a UTI:

  • Burning sensation while urinating
  • Frequent urination, often in small amounts
  • Constantly feeling like you need to urinate
  • Pelvic pain (in women)
  • Cloudy urine
  • Discolored (pink, reddish, or brownish) urine
  • Unusually strong smelling urine

While these symptoms may also be related to other issues with your urinary system, UTIs are most common, especially in women. The best way to know definitively if it is a UTI or something else is to work with your primary care provider. They will perform a urine test to see if there is bacteria present that is causing the infection. If you get UTIs on a frequent basis, your doctor may refer you to a urologist to examine the anatomy of your urinary system to determine if it is a part of the issue.

What causes a urinary tract infection?

UTIs are caused by bacteria that have entered the urinary tract. While your urinary tract is actually designed to prevent bacteria from entering, there are cases where it can fail. Often, UTIs are developed due to:

  • Sexual intercourse
  • Improper hygiene
  • Wiping back to front (causing bacteria in stool to enter the urinary tract)
  • An infection already in the bladder (often due to E. coli) that passes into the urinary tract
  • The body’s natural anatomy

To prevent a UTI, it’s important to take measures such as urinating after sexual intercourse, wiping front to back (especially after a bowel movement), and staying hydrated. However, some women’s body anatomy may provide a higher chance of developing a UTI. If you experience frequent urinary tract infections, this may be why.

What happens if a UTI is left untreated?

Left untreated, a UTI can lead to further complications or permanent damage to your urinary system. If you are experiencing any symptoms, it is critical to see your primary care doctor and address the issue.

How to treat a UTI

Treating a UTI depends on where the infection is occurring as well as what caused it. It’s extremely important to work with your primary care provider to determine what treatment is best for your situation, especially if you are prone to frequent UTIs .

Your doctor will likely prescribe an antibiotic to clear up the infection. If you are more susceptible due to your bodily anatomy, your doctor may prescribe a regiment of antibiotics or another treatment method to help prevent frequent UTIs.

UTIs don’t have to be a part of life

If you are experiencing any symptoms of a UTI, work with your primary care doctor at Schneck by scheduling an appointment. If you are prone to frequent UTIs, we’re here to help you make sense of why you are experiencing and find solutions. You shouldn’t have to suffer alone.

Dr. Charity H. Welch

About the Author

Charity H. Welch FNP-C

Charity Welch is a nurse practitioner with First Urology of Schneck Medical Center.