Have you been experiencing a burning sensation during urination, or a frequent urge to urinate even though you’ve just been to the bathroom? These are the most common symptoms of cystitis, known colloquially as a UTI. A UTI is usually easy to treat but can also cause serious complications if ignored, so if you’re feeling the burn, check out these facts and see if you need to pay a visit to your doctor.
What is a UTI?
Also known as a lower urinary tract infection (UTI) is technically an inflammation of the bladder. Symptoms include feeling the urge to urinate frequently, and pain or a burning sensation while urinating. Some people also experience lower back or pubic bone pain. In the elderly and in infants, symptoms of an infection may not be as clear cut, so these populations should be checked for it especially when exhibiting incontinence or lethargy.
More than half of women experience this type of infection in their lifetime, but they’re a much rarer occurrence in men. Most internist attribute this to the fact that women’s urethras are shorter, as well as the fact that the placement of the urethra is in close proximity to the vagina and anus causes it to come in increased contact with the causal bacteria. A man’s risk of these types of infection increases with age, due to the growth of his prostate.
What is the cause?
The main bacteria that cause UTIs are E. coli. Women can get them as a result of frequent sex, since E. coli, which normally lives in our intestines and solid waste, may come in contact with the urethra during sex. The sexually transmitted infections chlamydia and mycoplasma can also cause these infections. The use of spermicides, diaphragms and catheters all increase the risk of infection. Pregnant women are also at an increased risk of infection due to the fluctuation of hormones.
In men a UTI may be indicative of a more serious problem like an obstruction in the urinary tract, and so should be checked out as soon as possible.
How is it treated?
Usually UTIs are not serious and can be treated by course of oral antibiotics. For most otherwise healthy women, a treated infection should clear up in about six days. However, these infections have a high recurrence rate, so it’s important to finish all prescribed antibiotics even if the symptoms have cleared. Those prone to UTIs should also take preventative measures when possible. Doctors recommend drinking plenty of water to dilute your urine and urinating after intercourse to prevent bacteria from taking hold. Women should also wipe from front to back and should not use deodorants, powders in the genital region, as they are known to irritate the urethra. Some studies have shown that the use of cranberry juice or cranberry extract supports healthy bladder infection treatment.
If left untreated, it may lead to an upper urinary tract infection, or a kidney infection. Symptoms of a kidney infection include frequent and painful urination, back pain, fever, nausea and vomiting, and cloudy or bloody urine, and could cause permanent kidney damage or blood infection, so proper treatment of a UTI to prevent its spread to the kidneys is key!
If you’re in the New York City area and think you’re experiencing signs of a UTI, consider making an appointment at the Walk-in Clinic of New York City. Find Walk in Clinic in NYC you can get prompt, same-day medical attention for a UTI or a variety of other minor illnesses without breaking the bank, even if you don’t have insurance. You can even make an appointment online at sexually transmitted infections.