A urinary tract infection, or UTI, can be a minor annoyance or a serious illness. Most UTIs start as simple infections, however, the infection can spread throughout the urinary system and cause severe and even life-threatening complications. It’s important to see a doctor as soon as you notice symptoms so you can treat the infection with antibiotics immediately. Cyrus Lavian, MD, and his friendly staff at Valley Medical Urgent Care in Panorama City, California, can schedule an evaluation promptly, getting you back on the road to recovery. Call today or make an appointment online.
When bacteria collects and multiplies in one or more parts of the urinary system – that’s the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra – it can create what’s called a urinary tract infection (UTI). Usually, these infections are contained in the lower urinary tract, the bladder, and urethra, where they can cause pain and other unpleasant symptoms.
The symptoms you experience depend on where the infection is located.
When the infection is contained in the urethra (urethritis), its symptoms usually include a persistent urge to urinate. You’ll likely urinate more frequently than normal, and when you do, it will often cause a painful burning sensation. You may also notice a foul-smelling discharge from your urethra, or foul-smelling urine. These infections are typically the least serious.
An infection contained in your bladder, also called cystitis, usually causes a feeling of pressure in the pelvis, especially in women, that can become painful over time. Like urethritis, you’ll likely suffer from frequent and painful urination, and a persistent urge to urinate. You also may notice a red tinge to your urine that indicates the presence of blood. Bladder infections can occur on their own, or after the infection has spread from the urethra. Women are more at risk of the latter, as they have a shorter urethra than men, meaning less distance for the infection to spread.
When an infection has spread to the kidneys, it becomes more serious. This is called acute pyelonephritis, and in addition to the symptoms described above, it can cause you to experience nausea and vomiting, shaking and chills, high fever, and pain in either side of your lower back. While it’s always a good idea to see a doctor when you have a UTI, infection in the kidneys is an emergency, as it can lead to permanent kidney damage or sepsis.
When you visit Valley Medical Urgent Care with symptoms of a urinary tract infection, all that’s required for diagnosis is a urine sample. Most UTIs can be treated effectively with a simple oral antibiotic medication. You’ll need to take it for a week or more, but symptoms often begin to clear up after just a few days.
If you think you may have a UTI, call Valley Medical Urgent Care today or make an appointment online.