Your Condition Isnt Uti
If you have UTI symptoms, such as urgency to pee or burning sensation during urination, chances are UTIs really what youre dealing with. However, there are still instances when your symptoms are due to another underlying condition that mimics UTI symptoms.
Examples of these conditions are:
When To See A Healthcare Provider For Cystitis Or Uti
Young children and men should see a healthcare provider when experiencing symptoms of a UTI or cystitis to rule out other conditions because both conditions can be more serious among these groups.
For women experiencing symptoms of a UTI lasting longer than three days, see a healthcare provider to get a diagnosis and proper treatment. Because severe cases may lead to more serious infections of the bladder or kidney that need to be treated in a hospital setting, its important to seek treatment as early as possible. Any of the following symptoms warrant a medical providers advice:
- Painful, burning/ stinging urination
- An urgent need to pee frequently but in small amounts
- Bloody, dark, cloudy, or foul-smelling urine
- Pain in the bladder or surrounding areas
Discuss your symptoms in detail with your healthcare provider, seeking their advice regarding diagnostic testing to rule out other diseases.
Enhancing Healthcare Team Outcomes
Recurrent UTIs often have a typical presentation of dysuria, urinary frequency or urgency, and suprapubic pain with/without fever, chills, flank pain, costovertebral angle tenderness, and nausea/vomiting. The diagnosis is often not in question. But, according to the literature, there exists a gap in the perception of the symptom severity between the clinician and the patient, which may be attributed to misinformation, misconceptions, or miscommunication.
The American Urological Association Guidelines are evidence-based guidelines for recurrent UTIs reviewed by an interprofessional expert committee. The current guidelines, published in 2019, have been developed after an exhaustive review of current medical literature from peer-reviewed journals. The only non-antibiotic-based therapies for recurrent UTIs currently recommended by the AUA Guidelines are cranberry prophylaxis and vaginal estrogen.
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Why Should I Take The Full Course Of Antibiotics
Antibiotics start to work against the infection quickly, and you may start to feel better within a few days. However, it takes longer for the antibiotics to completely kill the bacteria causing the infection.
When you dont finish your antibiotic treatment, theres a chance that the bacteria isnt eliminated completely, which may cause repeat infection. Or the bacteria may become resistant to antibiotics and stop responding to treatment in the future.
Signs That A Uti Is Not Responding To Antibiotics
Naturally, the most obvious sign that your UTI isnt responding to antibiotics is the persistence of infection-related symptoms. Additionally, you might even develop new symptoms. If you have a fever , lower abdominal pain, chills, nausea, or vomiting, consult a doctor immediately.
If youre pregnant with a UTI and start having contractions, be sure to seek medical attention right away. Although UTIs are common in expectant mothers, they can become problematic if not addressed quickly. They may increase your babys chances for premature birth and low birth weight.
In general, if ignored, UTIs create serious medical complications . At times, a kidney infection is considered life-threatening, especially in cases of septicemia. This happens when bacteria enters your bloodstream and leads to blood poisoning.
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How My Uti Story Applies To You
Although I recovered from recurrent urinary tract infections to the point where I no longer had to take medication or supplements to manage my symptoms , this isnt a story about a miracle cure.
There is rarely such a thing when it comes to recurrent UTI. I promise I will provide more insight into what worked for me, but I do want to say this:
Thinking one persons approach will work for everyone else is like saying youve found a single pair of jeans that fits everyone perfectly.
But before you jump to the next blog post promising a 24 hour cure, Ill tell you why this story may apply to you. Its about finding the root cause of your recurrent UTIs, and addressing it.
Only by addressing the root cause of frequent UTIs can you hope to break the cycle of symptoms and treatment. Breaking the cycle will likely mean sacrifices, and this is a story about permanent change for the better.
If there is one piece of advice I will freely give to other recurrent UTI sufferers, its that knowledge is the key to recovery.
Learn everything you can about why UTIs can become recurrent, other causes of lower urinary tract symptoms, and how your overall health can prevent you from getting well. Hopefully, my story will help.
What Could Be Mistaken For A Uti
There are several conditions whose symptoms mimic UTIs. Sexually transmitted infections cause symptoms also common in UTIs, such as painful urination and discharge.
Vaginitis, caused by bacteria or yeast, can result in a burning sensation when urinating and similar discomfort that may mimic a UTI.
Often mistaken for a UTI, interstitial cystitis , or painful bladder condition, is a chronic condition affecting the bladder that does not improve with antibiotic treatment. Symptoms of IC include increased urgency and more frequent urination as well as pain in the pelvic area.
Other conditions to rule out are overactive bladder, pregnancy, prostatitis, diabetes, cancer, and kidney stones.
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Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections: The Highlights Reel
A trip to the UK resulted in a UTI the day before my 30 hour flight home to Australia. Flying with a UTI was my worst nightmare.
I managed to get a single dose antibiotic from a walk-in clinic, but was still cracking sweats by the time I got to the airport.
Armed with copious amounts of water, I requested an aisle seat, and proceeded to drink fluids nonstop. I was using the bathroom every 20 minutes, like clockwork, and by the time I landed for my stopover in Hong Kong 13 hours later, I really thought I was on top of it.
How wrong I was. I boarded my flight for Sydney, and over the next 10 hours descended into fevers, chills, shakes and a little delirium.
At Sydney airport I missed my onward flight to Melbourne and broke down at the customer service desk. I barely remember stowing my bag in a locker and wandering around looking for help.
Fortunately, I was able to find the airport doctor, who prescribed antibiotics and anti-nausea pills. He assured me I needed them, and he was right. Within the next 30 minutes I was on the verge of throwing up a new symptom of UTI for me.
I had forfeited my flight, but I didnt care. I eventually made it home to Melbourne, a full 35 hours after the start of my journey, where I passed out for 20 hours. My body was defeated.
Discuss With Your Doctor If Some Of Your Uti Symptoms Persist After Antibiotics
Here are several questions that you should think about prior to your doctor visit to help your physician with the right information:
- Are your symptoms stronger when the bladder is full and you feel better after urination?
- Does a certain position trigger bladder pain?
- Do you feel that your symptoms stay the same over the course of days and even weeks?
- Is there blood in your urine, foul smell, or is your urine cloudy?
- If youd like more help on how to discuss your UTI with your provider and how to make the most out of your patient-doctor relationships, check out my Actionable Guide here.
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Cranberry Juice For Utis
You may have heard about how to get rid of a UTI with cranberry juice and wondered if its just a wives tale. While there is some evidence to support cranberries, or cranberry juice, to help remove bacteria in the urinary tract, the best treatment is still antibiotics. While there is still no certain evidence that cranberry juice helps to treat or prevent UTIs, you can add drinking cranberry juice into your weekly routine as a preventative measure. While the evidence isnt conclusive, it doesnt harm anything to drink cranberry juice to help prevent a UTI in addition to drinking plenty of water daily. However, sugary drinks like gatorade and energy drinks should be avoided since these can increase the chances of developing a UTI.
What To Expect At Home
UTIs can lead to infection. Most often the infection occurs in the bladder itself. At times, the infection can spread to the kidneys.
Common symptoms include:
- Pain or burning when you urinate
- Needing to urinate more often
- Hard to empty your bladder all the way
- Strong need to empty your bladder
These symptoms should improve soon after you begin taking antibiotics.
If you are feeling ill, have a low-grade fever, or some pain in your lower back, these symptoms will take 1 to 2 days to improve, and up to 1 week to go away completely.
Why Symptoms Don’t Go Away With Treatment
If you get a UTI, your doctor can give you medication to make the bacteria causing the infection go away. These medications are called antibiotics.
You will usually need to take the medicine every day for about 2 weeks. You should also drink plenty of fluid to help clear the infection from your body.
Even if you take the medication the way your doctor tells you to and drink a lot, your infection might not go away. There are a few reasons why this can happen.
What Is The Long
Urinary tract infections are uncomfortable and painful. Most chronic UTIs will resolve with a prolonged course of antibiotics, but monitoring for further symptoms is important since the chronic UTIs usually recur. People with UTIs should monitor their bodies and seek immediate treatment with the onset of a new infection. Early treatment of infection decreases your risk for more serious, long-term complications.
If youre susceptible to recurring UTIs, make sure to:
- urinate as often as needed
- wipe front to back after urinating
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Is It Possible To Prevent Urinary Tract Infections With Diet And Supplements
It is possible to reduce the chance that a UTI will develop with dietary methods and some supplements but prevention of all UTIs is unlikely with these methods.
- Supplements such as eating cranberries, taking vitamin C tablets, and eating yogurt and other substances also may reduce the chance that a UTI will develop .
- However, as stated in the prevention section, changes in a person’s lifestyle may reduce the chance of getting a UTI as good as, if not better than, any diet or supplement.
Signs A Uti Isnt Responding To Antibiotics
If youre experiencing any of the common symptoms of a UTI after youve completed the recommended treatment, reach out to your doctor or healthcare provider immediately.
Common symptoms that may persist include:
- An intense, persistent, and frequent urge to urinate
- A burning sensation or pain when urinating
- Passing frequent, small amounts of urine
- Pain in the side, lower abdomen, or back
Reaching out to your doctor is the best step to take if you continue to experience any of these symptoms.
Your doctor can work with you to determine whether you have a UTI or if theres an underlying condition behind your symptoms. Once the correct diagnosis is made, they can recommend effective treatment options.
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Preventing Future Urinary Tract Infections
BATHING AND HYGIENE
To prevent future urinary tract infections, you should:
- Choose sanitary pads instead of tampons, which some doctors believe make infections more likely. Change your pad each time you use the bathroom.
- Take showers instead of baths. Avoid bath oils.
- Urinate before and after sexual activity. Drinking 2 glasses of water after sexual activity may help promote urination.
- Wipe from front to back after using the bathroom.
- Avoid tight-fitting pants. Wear cotton-cloth underwear and pantyhose, and change both at least once a day.
The following improvements to your diet may prevent future urinary tract infections:
- Drink plenty of fluids, 2 to 4 quarts each day.
- Do not drink fluids that irritate the bladder, such as alcohol and caffeine.
Some women have repeated bladder infections. Your provider may suggest that you:
- Use vaginal estrogen cream if you have dryness caused by menopause.
- Take a single dose of an antibiotic after sexual contact.
- Take a cranberry supplement pill after sexual contact.
- Have a 3-day course of antibiotics at home to use if you develop an infection.
- Take a single, daily dose of an antibiotic to prevent infections.
A Doctor That Helped Me Turn Things Around
Not only did my new doctor believe yeast may have been at the heart of these symptoms, she also suspected it was causing my urinary symptoms. Testing confirmed that Candida was an issue in both my gut and vaginal microbiomes.
She managed to convince me, by sharing her own experiences, to go off the pill. This was terrifying to me at the time. I imagined the heavy periods returning, and all that came with that, including the possibility of babies.
But I was done making excuses for myself. I was ready to take control of my health.
The decision to stop taking medications seemed counterintuitive, but I was ready to try a different approach.
I neednt have worried. The process of changing my diet, and the other measures Ive mentioned below, resulted in a super regular and almost symptom-free menstrual cycle.
UPDATE: Although I felt the need to stop using antibiotics when I was recovering, Im not against using antibiotics and I have seen through our community that antibiotics can indeed be the right solution for many.
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Get The Word Of Drug Information
If symptoms of a UTI persist, you may be concerned about other possible causes, including cancer. The good news is that your symptoms are most likely caused by a simple infection that can be treated without complications with a course of antibiotics.
If you have chronic UTIs, you may have already discussed prevention and treatment with your doctor and think you have what it takes to manage them at home. It is still a good idea to contact your doctor to inform them of your symptoms and to get advice on the most effective course of action. Your doctor will want to know if you have recurring symptoms and you will want to share all symptoms without exception to make the correct diagnosis and choose the best antibiotic or alternative.
If symptoms reappear after completing treatment, talk to your doctor as soon as possible to prevent further spread of the infection.
Why Utis Keep Coming Back
It is estimated that 50% of women who encounter a UTI go on to experience a recurrence of infection within a year3. Some individuals have multiple UTI episodes throughout their life, and a few suffer from chronic UTIs. Factors that may increase the chance of UTI recurrence include:
- Sexual intercourse
- Certain types of birth control, particularly diaphragms and spermicidal agents
- Inherent predisposition: some women have urinary tracts that are more prone to bacterial invasion
- Anatomical abnormalities or blockages in the urinary tract
- Immune suppression caused by diseases such as diabetes
- Post-menopausal changes in the vaginal lining and in the ability of the bladder to contract
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Does A Uti Get Worse Before It Gets Better
Sometimes, it will feel like it is getting worse. It can take several days for the antibiotics to take effect and help relieve symptoms.
While you shouldnt treat a UTI yourself, you can help prevent it or reduce the symptoms. As you take the medications your doctor recommends, drink a lot of water and use the bathroom frequently. Connect with your doctor with worsening symptoms and any questions.
What Is The Treatment For A Uti
Antibiotics are considered the “gold standard” for UTI treatment, according to a 2019 article published in Archives of Gynecology and Obstetrics, and it’s always a good idea to get symptoms of a UTI checked out by your healthcare provider.
Healthcare providers often give people who show up with UTI symptoms a prescription for antibiotics that they think will kill the pathogen. They’ll also take a urine sample to see what’s going on. Once the lab results come back , the healthcare provider may switch you to another antibiotic that’s better at killing the particular bacteria responsible for your infection.
“Antibiotics will hasten the cure of the infection. Most of the time, you’ll have symptomatic improvement within 36 hours,” said Dr. Moore.
That means that once you’ve been prescribed the right medication for the bacteria behind your UTI, you’ll feel better but that’s different than being “cured.” Even if you’re no longer feeling a constant, urgent need to pee , the bacteria that caused it could still be lingering around, said Dr. Moore.
You’ll usually need to take antibiotics for between three to five days total before the UTI is completely cleared up, Dr. Moore pointed out.
And while it’s tempting to stop taking your meds the moment you feel better, finishing the antibiotics as prescribed is super important.
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Bladder Cancer Risk Factors
Factors associated with an increased chance of developing bladder cancer include:
- Sex: Men are 4 times more likely than women to be diagnosed with bladder cancer.
- Age: Bladder cancer mostly affects people > 55 years of age. In the United States, the average age of individuals diagnosed with bladder cancer is 73 years.
- Race: White Americans are approximately 2 times more likely to to have bladder cancer detected compared with African Americans and people of Hispanic ethnicity, while Asian Americans and Native Americans have the lowest rates.
- Smoking: Cigarette smoking is the most important risk factor for bladder cancer, causing around half of all cases. Smokers are at least 3 times as likely to get bladder cancer compared with non-smokers.
- Exposure to certain chemicals in the workplace: Aromatic amines used in the dye industry and organic chemicals used in the production of rubber, leather, paint and textiles may contribute to a higher bladder cancer rates in workers. Painters, printers, hairdressers, and truck drivers are also at increased risk due to workplace exposures.
- Arsenic in drinking water: The likelihood of potentially harmful levels of arsenic in water depends on the water source being used.
- Some medicines: The use of some medicines and certain chemotherapy drugs may be associated with increased bladder cancer risk.
- Previous bladder cancer: People who have had bladder cancer are prone to recurrence.