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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Wondering When to See a Doctor for UTI?

UTIs, also known as lower urinary tract infections (UTIs) are unfortunately a common medical issue.  In fact, more than half of women will have a UTI in their lifetime, and UTIs are prone to recurrence.  Symptoms can range from mild to severe depending on the person, so people experiencing milder symptom sets often wonder whether they should wait to see if the infection clears up before going to a doctor.  But while an infection generally isn’t serious and is easily treatable, it could lead to more serious complications, so it’s important to stay informed before deciding whether to wait or seek medical attention.

A bladder infection is caused when bacteria enter the bladder—usually through the urethra, but also rarely through the bloodstream—causing inflammation.  The main bacteria that cause infections are E. coli, but some other types of bacteria, including the causal bacteria of chlamydia, have been known to cause them as well.  Symptoms include burning or pain during urination, the frequent urge to urinate, and lower back or pubic bone pain. 

Deciding how serious symptoms of a UTI are may depend on your gender.  While women are prone to infections due to the female anatomy and the urethra’s proximity to the vagina and anus, UTIs in men are rare. Sometimes, a bladder infection for a man could be indicative of a more serious medical problem, like an obstruction of the urinary tract, so men should take these symptoms seriously and contact a doctor.  But, since they experience them more often, women sometimes attempt to cure bladder infection themselves with natural or over-the-counter remedies.  Being checked out by a doctor is the safest and fastest way to curing a bladder infection, but if the symptoms begin appearing at night or on the weekend—times when most traditional doctors’ offices don’t keep hours—there are some available treatment options for use until you can be seen by a professional in a walk in clinic. 

Drinking a large amount of water is advisable, as it may flush some of the bacteria out of the bladder. Cranberry juice and cranberry extract is known to fight E. coli bacteria, and if taken early on, may prevent the E. coli from adhering to the bladder walls, therefore preventing the infection from taking hold.  Over-the-counter remedies, the most popular probably being AZO tablets, don’t cure UTIs, but they can ease the pain and frequent urge to urinate. (They also turn your urine bright orange, so don’t be alarmed!) You can also buy over-the-counter home test kits, which measure for the presence of white blood cells and E. coli in the urine, two signs of an infection that primary care doctor NYC test for.

However, leaving a bladder infection untreated can lead to serious health problems like kidney infections, which could cause permanent kidney damage or a blood infection.  Symptoms of a kidney infection, in addition to painful and frequent urination, also include fever, nausea, vomiting and bloody urine.  A kidney infection could require hospitalization, so to avoid these potential complications, doctors suggest seeking medical care as soon as possible after you experience symptoms of a UTI, rather than waiting to see if it clears by itself.  UTIs are generally treated with a simple course of oral antibiotics, and usually clear up in about six days.

If you’re experiencing the symptoms of a UTI, the sooner you can begin UTI treatment in NYC, the better, so if you’re in the New York City area, you should consider the Walk-in Clinic of NYC.  At Walk in Clinic in NYC, you can get a same day appointment with a board certified doctor; the clinic also offers evening and weekend appointment hours, so you can get on your way to feeling better as soon as possible, with affordable care even if you don’t have health insurance.  Call Walk-in Clinic NYC for an appointment today at (212) 696-5900.

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