If you've been having pain when you urinate, cloudy urine, or frequent urination, you might have a urinary tract infection. A UTI can cause a lot of discomfort, and it may not clear up on its own, so you'll probably have to see a doctor for treatment. Here are a few things to know about this medical condition and some urinary tract infection treatments your doctor might suggest.
Both Men and Women Get Urinary Tract Infections
Urinary tract infections are more common in women due to a woman's anatomy, but men get them too. The elderly are prone to infections, and kids can get them as well. You might experience a single infection in your lifetime, but it's also common to have them occasionally. Some people even have chronic urinary tract infections.
Urinary Tract Infection Treatments That Can Help
Urinary tract infections are caused by bacteria, so antibiotics are a common treatment prescribed by doctors. Your doctor might test your urine to see what type of bacteria is causing the infection so the best antibiotic can be prescribed.
Urinary tract infections often clear up quickly once you start antibiotics, and the pain clears up as well. If you're having a lot of pain, your doctor might give you a few pain relievers to help until the antibiotics start clearing the bacteria.
The length of time you need to take antibiotics varies depending on the type of infection you have and how severe it is. You'll want to take the antibiotics for the length of time prescribed by your doctor even if you feel well after a couple of days.
In the case of a chronic infection, your doctor might recommend taking a low-dose antibiotic for several months to clear up the infection and keep it from coming back. The goal of treatment is to stop the infection from spreading and to cure the infection.
When a urinary tract infection grows out of control, the bacteria can invade your kidneys, and that's a more serious type of infection that might require hospitalization and IV antibiotics to reverse. If you have problems with infections that keep coming back, your doctor might advise you to wear loose clothing so you stay dry and to practice good hygiene.
The infections are often linked to sexual intercourse, so your doctor might want to change your method of birth control or advise you to clean yourself before and after sex to get rid of bacteria before it enters your urinary tract. Drinking more water might help too, as that can flush bacteria out of your system.
For more questions about urinary tract infection treatment, contact your doctor.