What is a Urinary Tract Infection?
As you can see, the bladder can be the only part infected. If it’s a bladder infection, then doctors call it “cystitis.”
When the infection is higher up in the kidneys, then it called “pyelonephritis.” This is a much more serious condition.
Quickcare or ER?
The Red Flags that will send you to the ER include:
- Pain in the back
Pregnant women generally are admitted if they have a fever and pain associated with a urinary tract infection.
I also get concerned when a patient with diabetes has an infection.
What will your doctor ask?
Your doctor will want to know your symptoms. Remember, a symptom is your description of what you have. It is your story.
Answers to the following questions will help your doctor understand.
- When did it start?
- What makes it better?
- What makes it worse?
- Do you have a fever?
- Does you back hurt over the kidneys?
Typical UTI symptoms include:
- Painful urination
- Pain when bladder is full
- Frequent urination (” I have to pee every 10 minutes”)
- Urinary urgency (“I feel I have to go but nothing comes out”)
What will your doctor look for?
Your doctor will look for signs.
Remember, a sign is an objective finding such as lab report or an xray or a physical finding.
A doctor will check for pain over the kidneys. This is a concern. Why? If it hurts then it implies that the infection went from the bladder to the kidneys. That is bad. Infection in the kidneys is called pyelonephrtitis.
Patients with this condition are sick. Your doctor may also press over the liver to check for gall bladder pain.
What is the doctor thinking?
Your doctor will create a mental list of possible reasons for your signs and symptoms. This list is called a differential diagnosis. It is possible to have bladder pain but no infection. Thus a urine test is warranted. After confirming that there is an infection as seen on a urine study, your doctor is thinking if this a simple or complex infection. Is it down low in the bladder or higher up in the kidneys?
One unique group of women who get infections are the Honeymoon Cystitis crowd. This is an old term that refers to newlywed women who are newly sexually active. Practices to prevent the infections include hand washing and urination after intercourse.
What is the treatment of a Urinary Tract Infection?
Many patients come to me after trying home remedies for a UTI. The most common is cranberry juice. For some, it does work. But, many persons who are symptomatic after 2-3 days of drinking juice, will come to me looking for antibiotics.
A typical antibiotic is Cipro or Bactrim DS. For pregnant women, a good antibiotic is Macrobid. In addition to antibiotics. I like to prescribe Pyridium which helps with painful urination. Remember: Pyridium will make the urine orange
How long will you be sick?
Most persons are sick for less than a week. If a person has to come back, then I do a urine culture to see what bug is causing bladder pain. Then I change the antibiotics.
Let me tell you a story
“Doctor Reyes. I got it again,” Carla said.
“OK. That’s very consistent of you,” I thought to myself. When I looked back at the chart, then I realized she had been in a few times for urinary tract infections (UTI)
“Why do I keep getting them? Ever since menopause. Now I get them every year,” she said
In the case of Carla, her painful bladder syndrome started 3 days ago. She has pain over her bladder but it does not go to her kidneys. It hurts only when she pees. No associated fever or chills.
Carla did not need a shot or blood work. Her case resolved with Cipro 500mg twice a day for 5-7 days.
By the time she left the clinic, I think half the town knew she was ailing and were willing to pitch in to help her get back to her saintly work.
I hope this helps
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