Urinary tract infections are extremely common. Women are more likely to get them than men, but it isn’t unheard of for a man to have one.
In most cases, UTIs are caused by bacteria invading the urinary tract system.
If you think you have a UTI, it’s important to see a doctor for diagnosis and treatment. In the meantime, consider the most common causes, symptoms and treatment options.
What Are Common Causes of a Urinary Tract Infection?
The most common cause of UTIs is bacteria, which enter the system through the urethra and start multiplying within the bladder. When the body can’t fight off the bacteria, an infection develops. The type of bacteria responsible for most UTIs is Escherichia coli, or E. coli.
But other bacteria can cause UTIs, too, as can viruses or fungi.
What Are the Symptoms?
Most UTIs take place in the lower urinary tract, which is where the bladder and urethra are. The symptoms of a lower urinary tract infection usually include a burning sensation during urination, increased need to urinate, and pelvic pain. The urine may also appear cloudy or bloody, and it usually has a strong odor.
However, some UTIs go into the upper urinary tract, such as the kidneys and ureters. If this happens, you might experience pain in your flank and lower back, nausea, vomiting, fever and chills.
What Are Some UTI Treatments?
Since bacteria cause most UTIs, the typical treatment is often a course of antibiotics, which should start fighting the bacteria and provide some relief within days.
But your doctor will perform a test to determine if the cause of the UTI is bacteria, a fungus or a virus. If it’s a fungus, the doctor will prescribe an antifungal medication, while you’ll get an antiviral medication for a virus.
While you should always seek medical treatment for a UTI, there are home treatments to help in the interim. The most effective option is to drink plenty of water or sugar-free cranberry juice to help flush out the bacteria.
You can use a heating pad on your pelvis and take over-the-counter pain relievers to reduce discomfort while you wait to see your doctor.
If you think you have a UTI, call today to schedule an appointment so you can get the diagnosis and treatment you need to start feeling better.