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What’s a UTI and How is it Treated?

People who have never had a UTI often hear the term but don’t really know what it is. Of course, once you or someone close to you has a UTI, you start to learn about it. But for those who aren’t really sure, here’s some basic information about what a UTI is, and how it’s treated by medical professionals.

UTI stands for urinary tract infection, and it is exactly what it sounds like: An infection that takes place inside the urinary tract. There are actually three types of UTI: 1) acute pyelonephritis (this affects the kidneys), 2) cystitis (this affects the bladder), and 3) urethritis (this affects the urethra). Infections of the lower urinary tract (bladder and urethra) are much more common. If left untreated, infection can spread to the kidneys, which is a more serious issue.

What are the signs and symptoms of a UTI?

When it comes to symptoms, everyone is different. People may suffer one or several of the following symptoms as a result of UTI:

• Burning sensation during urination

• A constant or frequent urge to urinate, with little urine coming out

• Pain in the abdomen area and/or pain in the lower back

• Urine that seems unusually dark, cloudy or with a funny odor

• Blood in the urine

• Fatigue, shakiness or fever

All of these symptoms tell you that something needs to be addressed. Fever in particular (in combination with other UTI symptoms) should be taken seriously, as it might mean the infection has spread to your kidneys and needs to be dealt with promptly.

UTIs and women

Statistically speaking, UTIs are far more common in women than they are in men. This is for the simple reason that bacteria has a much easier time entering a woman’s urethra than a man’s. Hygiene issues, sexual intercourse, and even genetic predisposition can all lead to UTIs, although sometimes they occur without any observable cause. A great number of women — some statistics say around 20%, or 1 in 5 — suffer chronic UTIs that continue to recur. Obvious, having a UTI is not an idea situation and treatment should be sought.

How to treat UTIs

The common method of treatment for a UTIs is a course of antibiotics, since UTIs are a bacterial infection (hence antibiotics will work) as opposed to a viral infection, which doesn’t respond to antibiotics. If you have UTIs infrequently or almost never, your nurse or doctor may put you in a single course of antibiotics. For chronic UTIs, the treatment plan will often include a longer course of low-dose antibiotics to help infections from recurring over the long term. Better self-care practices will also be discussed as a means or protection yourself from further infections.

Where to seek treatment for UTI

Family First Urgent Care centers in both Oakhurst and Toms River are well equipped to diagnose and treat UTI in women or men. In some cases, especially if a UTI is suspected in a man, the clinic may suggest one or more STI tests, as UTI symptoms can often be confused with the symptoms of certain sexually transmitted infection.

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