When to See a Doctor About a UTI

When to See a Doctor About a UTI

urinary tract infection (UTI) is the second most-common type of infection, so your odds of developing one at some point are high. If you get a urinary tract infection (UTI), you may be able to take care of it yourself at home. Sometimes, if you notice a UTI early enough, you can wipe it out quickly by drinking a lot more water and some cranberry juice.

But other times, you need to see a doctor. To tell the difference between when you can stay home and when you need to seek a doctor’s care, Dr. Ruchir Thakkar at NewMed Immediate Care explains more about the signs of concern.

The symptoms of a UTI

It’s usually fairly easy to tell if you have a UTI. The symptoms of a UTI include the following:

You may not have all of these symptoms, but they are usually present when you have a UTI. A UTI generally tends to get worse over time.

How to take care of a UTI at home

If you have the early signs of a UTI, you may be able to get rid of it by yourself at home. Some of the self-care tips you can use to get rid of a UTI include:

Drink more water

Drinking lots of water will make you have to urinate more, which helps to flush out the bad bacteria from your bladder.

Drink cranberry juice or take vitamin C

Drinking cranberry juice for a UTI is more than just an old wives’ tale. Cranberry will make your urine more acidic, as will vitamin C, which can help fight a UTI.

Urinate more often

Women tend to hold their urine for longer periods than they should. This, combined with the fact that women’s urethras are shorter than men’s, accounts for the increased rate of UTIs in women. Urinate much more often than you usually do.

Signs of when you need to see a doctor

Sometimes, a urinary tract infection doesn’t go away on its own and in fact, it gets worse. Signs that your UTI has gotten worse and needs a doctor’s attention include:

Although UTIs are more common in women, men can get them, too. Additional symptoms of a UTI in men include pain behind the scrotum, painful ejaculation, and blood in the semen.

How the doctor diagnoses a UTI

When you see a doctor about a UTI, he will likely order several tests. These include the following:

Providing a urine sample

When you provide a urine sample for analysis, the doctor will look for indicators of infection. These include white blood cells, red blood cells, or bacteria. You will most likely have to do what’s called a “clean catch,” which involves wiping your genitals with an antiseptic pad.

Growing bacteria in a lab

The doctor may try to grow bacteria from your urinary tract in a lab to determine which bacteria are causing your infection. 

Creating images of your urinary tract

In some cases, we may need to do an image of your urinary tract. This may be an ultrasound, an MRI, or a CT scan. This is only done if you have recurring UTIs and we’re looking for structural abnormalities of your urinary tract.

If you have a UTI, contact Dr. Ruchir Thakkar at NewMed Immediate Care or request an appointment at one of our locations in Rolling Meadows, Mount Prospect, Arlington Heights, or Schaumburg, Illinois.

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