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Understanding Urinary Tract Infections: Recognizing Symptoms and managing common risk factors.


female doctor talking to male patient in exam room

Did you know that Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are the second most common type of infection in the body?


The urinary tract is the body's drainage system for removing wastes and extra water - it includes two kidneys, two ureters, a bladder, and a urethra. UTIs are common infections that happen when bacteria, often from the skin or rectum, enter the urethra and infect the urinary tract. When an infection develops in the bladder, the symptoms can be painful and annoying, but serious health problems can result if a UTI spreads to the kidneys.


“While women are more prone to UTIs, men can get them as well. It’s important to seek treatment if you are experiencing symptoms of a UTI. If left untreated, a UTI can travel to your kidneys, with the potential for a more serious kidney infection. And while cranberry juice is touted as an at-home remedy for treating a UTI, most UTIs need antibiotics to clear the infection, “ said Dr. John Kulish, emergency physician and director of Ambulatory Services for IEP Urgent Care.


Recognizing the signs and symptoms of a Urinary tract infection is crucial for early detection and prompt treatment. Our providers at IEP Urgent Care can help you diagnose and treat a UTI – Call or visit one of our eight locations if you think you might have a UTI.


The most common symptoms include a strong and persistent urge to urinate, a burning sensation during urination, cloudy or bloody urine, frequent urination in small amounts, and a feeling of incomplete bladder emptying. Some individuals may also experience lower abdominal pain or discomfort. If you notice any of these symptoms, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and treatment.


To effectively manage UTIs, you need to understand and address the common risk factors associated with these infections. By taking these proactive steps, you can minimize the chances of developing a UTI:


  • Hydration: Staying adequately hydrated helps flush out bacteria from the urinary system. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to promote urine production and maintain a healthy urinary tract.


  • Personal hygiene: Maintaining good personal hygiene is vital in preventing UTIs. Always wipe from front to back after using the toilet to avoid introducing bacteria from the anal area into the urethra. Additionally, opt for gentle, unscented soaps for intimate hygiene to avoid irritation.


  • Urinate frequently: Do not hold in urine for prolonged periods. Urinating regularly helps prevent the growth of bacteria in the urinary tract. Make sure to empty your bladder completely when urinating.


  • Cranberry products: While the evidence is mixed, some studies suggest that cranberry products, such as cranberry juice or supplements, may help prevent UTIs by inhibiting the adherence of bacteria to the urinary tract walls. However, it's important to note that cranberry products should not replace medical treatment if you already have a UTI.


  • Avoid irritants: Certain substances can irritate the urinary tract and increase the risk of infection. These include harsh chemicals, perfumes, and douches. Opt for gentle and hypoallergenic products to minimize irritation.


  • Sexual activity: Sexual activity can introduce bacteria into the urinary tract, increasing the risk of UTIs. Urinating before and after sexual intercourse can help flush out bacteria that may have entered the urethra. Additionally, practicing safe sex and maintaining good personal hygiene are important for reducing the risk of UTIs.


  • Chronic conditions: Individuals with certain chronic conditions, such as diabetes or kidney stones, may be more susceptible to UTIs. Managing these conditions effectively can help reduce the risk of infection.


It's worth noting that while these preventive measures can significantly reduce the risk of developing UTIs, they may not guarantee complete protection. If you experience recurrent UTIs or severe symptoms, or just think you might have a UTI, call or visit one of eight IEP Urgent Care locations for appropriate diagnosis and treatment.



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