Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
Most people experience the burning associated with a urinary tract infection at least once or twice in their lifetime. Rose Urgent Care & Family Practice, with offices in Vancouver and Battle Ground, Washington, provide a comprehensive UTI service to patients whether it's their first infection of this kind or they get them chronically. The goal is not just reigning in the current infection but finding ways to prevent future ones.

Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) Q & A

What is a UTI?

UTI stands for urinary tract infection. In other words, an infection in any part of the urinary system including the:

  • Kidneys
  • Ureters
  • Bladder
  • Urethra

The majority of Rose Urgent Care & Family Practice patients have infections in the lower urinary tract, specifically the bladder or urethra.

What are the symptoms of a UTI?

Most people know right away when they have a UTI because the symptoms are distinctive. Common signs include:

  • Persistent urge to urinate
  • A burning sensation when you pee
  • Passing small amounts of urine with each trip to the bathroom
  • Cloudy urine
  • Strong smelling urine
  • Urine that is red, pink or dark brown
  • Pelvic pain for women

Not all UTIs come with symptoms, though. Most patients do not present will all these symptoms, either, but if you experience one or more of them, it's time to make an appointment at Rose Urgent Care & Family Practice.

What causes UTIs?

Bacteria causes most UTIs. They enter the urinary tract through the urethra – the tube that allows urine to leave the body. Once bacteria are in, they can easily multiply in the tube and the bladder. The urinary system is closed to protect against infection but that doesn't' always work, especially for people with common risk factors like:

  • Sexually active women
  • Diaphragm for birth control
  • Menopause

You might notice that these risk factors are specific to women. They have a greater risk of UTI because they have shorter urethras than men, so bacteria have less distance to travel to get to the bladder.

There are less gender-specific risks, though, including:

  • Catheter use
  • Urinary surgery
  • Suppressed immune system
  • Kidney stones
  • Urinary tract abnormalities

What is the treatment for UTIs?

Antibiotics are necessary to kill the invading bacteria. This is important because ignoring a urinary tract infection can lead to serious medical complications such as:

  • Kidney damage
  • Acute kidney infection
  • Narrowing of the urethra
  • Sepsis

The practitioners at Rose Urgent Care & Family Practice may also suggest some lifestyle changes, especially for patients who are prone to urinary tract infections. For example, increasing water intake can help flush out bacteria before it grows. Patients may also want to avoid certain kinds of drinks such as coffee or juice, because they irritate the lining of the bladder, making it more prone to infection.

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