Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are far more common than many people would probably assume. Based on data gathered by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), UTIs result in over 8 million visits to the doctor in the US each year. While both sexes develop UTIs, women are unfortunately far more likely to develop UTIs than men. This is due to the female urethra being shorter than the male urethra, making it more common for bacteria to be transferred to the bladder. The same NIDDK study indicated that over 50% of women will experience at least one UTI during their lifetime.
Since the prevalence of UTIs is so high in women, we thought it might be helpful to detail the common symptoms of these infections. Hopefully by recognizing these troublesome symptoms in a timely fashion, more women will be able to seek the medical attention necessary to treat their UTIs quickly or even prevent urinary tract infections before they occur.
Common symptoms of urinary tract infections:
1.) Pain or Burning During Urination
Pain or burning during urination is often the first sign of a UTI. However, this may occur whenever there are bacteria in the urethra or bladder and doesn’t necessarily signify a UTI. If the symptoms only occur briefly and then disappear, it may mean that your body has successfully flushed out the bacteria and avoided infection.
2.) Needing to Urinate Urgently
Sudden and urgent need to urinate, especially if you just went to the bathroom, is another telltale sign of a UTI. This can be caused by bacteria irritating the urethra and the lining of the bladder.
3.) Inability to Fully Empty Bladder
Frequent urination is another sign to look out for. If you have a UTI, it can feel like your bladder is full, though only drops come out when you try to go. If your frequent trips to the bathroom are providing minimal relief, you may have a urinary tract infection.
4.) Urine has Abnormal Consistency or Smell
The color or substance of your urine can be worth monitoring as well. Any discoloration of your urine (anything other than the normal yellow or clear) should be a cause for concern. Cloudy, red, or brown urine are all common signs of a UTI. Additionally, urine that has a strong, pungent smell is a common UTI symptom.
5.) Pressure or pain in the Pelvic Area
For certain women (especially older women) pain or cramping in the pelvis or bladder area may be the most pronounced symptom of a UTI.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms and think that you may have a UTI, it’s important to request an appointment with your board-certified gynecologist quickly in order to receive a diagnosis and begin treatment as soon as possible. Here at Gynecology of Associates of Gwinnett, we use a simple test called a urinalysis to accurately diagnose urinary tract infections. We can also send a urine sample to the lab to confirm an infection (urine culture) should that be necessary. Fortunately, treatment for a UTI is fairly simple and certain antibiotics can typically resolve the infection within a week or so. For more information on UTIs or to request your appointment, contact Dr. Kristine Gouldat Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett today. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for more tips and updates, as well as info on our upcoming Health & Wellness events.