You know the feeling. It hurts to pee, it’s hard to pee, and putting it mildly, your urine itself smells pretty terrible. Between 50 and 60% of adult women have experienced a UTI in their lifetime, so it’s easy to recognize the early symptoms. Now what, should I see a gynecologist for a UTI?
The Easy Answer Is Yes
A urinary tract infection is more common in women so their gynecologist is the obvious choice for treatment. In addition, don’t wait to get treated. It is important to contact a gynecologist like Virginia Women’s Health Associates as soon as you develop symptoms.
Although the UTI isn’t particularly dangerous, don’t wait to be treated. Waiting can lead to some serious complications like a secondary infection in the kidneys. If a UTI spreads to the kidneys, it may enter the bloodstream and become life-threatening. A kidney infection can also lead to kidney damage and scarring.
Since a course of antibiotics will kill the infection, there is no reason to suffer with a urinary tract infection. If you have symptoms for 2 days, call Virginia Women’s Health Associates.
Cause and Symptoms of a UTI
An infection of the urinary tract is caused by bacteria entering the urethra from the digestive tract and then multiplying. It can spread to the bladder, uterus, and kidneys. Most infections develop from an E. coli bacteria that normally lives in the colon.
It causes pain while urinating, frequent urges to pee, pain in the lower belly, feeling like you can’t empty your bladder, cloudy urine that may contain blood, and feeling generally tired and achy.
A more serious situation may be happening if you develop a fever of 100.4 or higher, pain in your sides or back, shivering or chills, and confusion. Don’t wait to see treatment with these additional symptoms.
Ways to Prevent Urinary Tract Infections
It is possible to prevent or reduce the number of times you get a UTI.
They include the following:
- Urinate when you feel the urge; don’t wait.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Consume unsweetened cranberry juice, unsweetened dried cranberries, or cranberry supplements.
- Wipe your bottom from front to back.
- Increase Vitamin C intake.
- Take showers instead of baths.
- Take probiotics.
- Urinate after intercourse.
- Clean your genital area before and after intercourse.
- Avoid using scented hygiene sprays and douches.
- Wear cotton underwear rather than synthetics.
- Avoid tight clothing like jeans.
Troublesome Chronic UTI’s
Some women seem to get more than their fair share of urinary tract infections. It is considered chronic or recurrent if you get an infection shortly after one has resolved. It is recurrent if you have 2 infections in a 6 month period or 3 infections in 1 year.
Chronic urinary tract infections especially warrant an evaluation by your gynecologist in order to eliminate any other medical causes. Diagnostic tests like ultrasounds of the kidney or bladder may be ordered to look for stones. Another test may look at the bladder with a camera known as a cystoscopy.
Treatments may include prophylactic antibiotics, bladder antiseptics, dietary supplements, and estrogen replacement especially if you are postmenopausal.
Contact Virginia Women’s Health at (703) 435-2555 if you are having any symptoms of a UTI or if you seem to have them frequently.