Urinary Tract Infection

Few things bring your daily activity to a halt like a urinary tract infection (UTI). You may urgently need to urinate, and when you do, you feel a painful burning – and the need to urinate again even though your bladder is empty. These upsetting symptoms can last all day, or longer.

The urinary tract normally carries urine out of the body from your bladder. You can develop an infection when bacteria gets into your urinary tract and travels up into your bladder. A urinary tract infection is also known as a bladder infection.

Urinary tract infections are very common, and most are not serious if they are treated promptly. However, without treatment, the bacteria can spread to your kidneys. A kidney infection is serious and can cause permanent damage.

Symptoms of a Urinary Tract Infection

The most common early signs of urinary tract infection include:

  • Pain or burning when you urinate.
  • Feeling a strong and frequent urge to urinate but producing little or no urine.
  • Pain, cramping, bloating or tenderness in your lower belly.
  • Urine that is cloudy, looks pink or red, or has a strange smell.

If you are not treated promptly, you may develop the following symptoms within a few days:

  • Pain on one side of your back under your ribs (where your kidneys are located).
  • Fever and chills.
  • Nausea and vomiting.

If you have any of these symptoms, call your doctor right away. You will need to provide a urine sample so your doctor can determine the type of bacteria that is causing the infection.

Urinary Tract Infection Treatment

Mercy physicians diagnose UTIs and treat both the symptoms and the infection. Once you have been diagnosed with a UTI, you most likely will be treated with antibiotics. Be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions for taking the antibiotics and finish all of them, even if you feel better. Otherwise, the infection may return.

Depending on how bothersome your symptoms are, you may choose to buy an over-the-counter treatment to relieve the pain and burning. Ask your pharmacist about treatment for symptoms, but do not use these products until after you have completed your urine sample, as they can affect the results.

Some people get recurring urinary tract infections. If this happens to you, our Mercy physicians can identify the problem and coordinate ongoing, comprehensive care.

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