STD Facts :: Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) & Bladder Health
WHAT IS A URINARY TRACT INFECTION?
Urinary tract infections (UTIs), also called bladder infections, are common in women. Many women experience at least one UTI during their lifetime.
WHY DO WE NEED TO KNOW ABOUT IT?
Early diagnosis and treatment of UTIs is important to help prevent more serious complications of the infection spreading to the kidneys.
HOW DO I GET IT?
A UTI is defined as the presence of bacteria in the urinary tract that causes discomfort. A common bacteria that causes UTIs is passed from the anus to the urethra (the area that passes urine from the bladder to outside the body) and the bladder. Women may also develop UTIs from irritation to the urethra during sexual intercourse.
General health may be a key to frequent infections. Poor diet, lack of sleep and life stresses may all lower the body's resistance to infections.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
Some common symptoms of UTIs include :
- Pain or burning with urination
- Immediate need to urinate
- Increased frequency of urination
- Urinating small amounts
- Blood in urine
- Low back pain or pubic area pain
HOW DO I KNOW IF I HAVE IT?
In the clinic, you will be asked to give a urine sample. The urine will be tested in the lab to identify evidence of infection. Rarely, more tests may need to be done. Your nurse practitioner will determine if further testing is needed. Through Red Door Services at the Hennepin County Public Health Clinic, screening for sexually transmitted infections is usually recommended.
Women who are pregnant or those women with certain chronic health problems need more evaluation and treatment. Your nurse practitioner will determine what is appropriate treatment for you.
HOW IS IT TREATED?
Most UTIs are treated with a three-day course of antibiotics. It is important to take the antibiotics as instructed. Another medication called Pyridium may be given to help relieve some of the discomfort with urinating. This medication will turn your urine an orange color and may also discolor contact lenses.
It is very important to call or return to your clinic if you experience any of the following:
- Symptoms do not improve within 48 hours (2 days)
- A temperature greater than 100.5º F
- Upper back pain
- Blood in your urine 48 hours (2 days) after treatment
- Symptoms return after treatment
- New, unexplained symptoms develop
If your clinic is closed, you may need to seek immediate care at an emergency room or urgent care facility.
For more specific information about treatment, consult your medical provider.
WHAT ABOUT SEX PARTNERS?
It is best to wait two weeks after treatment, but at the very least wait at least one week after treatment before having sex. Research has shown that urinating within 10 - 15 minutes after sex may help prevent UTIs in women.
WAYS TO REDUCE YOUR RISK
- Urinate within 10 - 15 minutes after sex may help prevent UTIs in women
- Drinking 6--8 glasses of water each day
- Routine drinking of cranberry juice
- Urinating as soon as you feel the urge and completely emptying the bladder
- Avoid excessive caffeine and alcohol use as these substances may irritate the bladder
- Diaphragms and spermicides (nonoxynol-9) may increase UTIs in some women
Questions about your risk? About testing? Email us or call 612.543.555.
Content updated: Jan 08