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Urinary tract infections: Go-to info for women

Ow.

The sting you feel when you urinate that makes you grimace just a little and whisper that two-letter word to yourself—well, it's trying to tell you something: You may have a urinary tract infection (UTI).

A UTI occurs when bacteria invade and infect any part of the urinary tract, from the urethra up to the bladder, ureters and kidneys. UTIs are common—particularly in women, who are prone to them because of their anatomy.

But just because they're common doesn't mean they don't need to be treated: Call your doctor at that first ow.

Do you have a UTI?
According to the Office on Women's Health, a UTI usually announces itself with one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Pain or burning when urinating.
  • A strong urge to urinate, although little may come out.
  • Urine that is cloudy, is tinged with blood or smells bad.

You might also have back pain and possibly a fever, especially if the infection has moved into the kidneys.

Treat and prevent
Your doctor usually can diagnose a UTI with a test of your urine. And antibiotics often are a quick and effective treatment. But note: Take the antibiotics as prescribed until they're all gone, or the infection may come back.

Some things you can do to prevent future UTIs:

  • Drink lots of fluids every day.
  • Avoid douches and feminine hygiene sprays.
  • Wipe from front to back after using the toilet.
  • Don't hold urine in your bladder—when you have to go, go.
  • Wear underwear with a cotton lining.

One more thing: Don't count on cranberry juice to prevent a UTI. The evidence that this popular remedy actually works is shaky.

Have questions?
Campbell County Clinics—OB GYN Specialists encourages you to speak with your doctor if you have questions about urinary tract infections. Visit ccmh.net/OBGYN to schedule an appointment.

Source: American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists