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Urinary Tract Infection

Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) at AFC Urgent Care South Philly

A UTI, which is short for “urinary tract infection,” can be an annoying and uncomfortable affliction that can be easily treated at AFC Urgent Care South Philly. Our on-site labs can quickly diagnose and treat your UTI so you can start to feel better. One of the first signs of a UTI is a burning sensation when urinating or needing to go to the bathroom more frequently than you usually would. If you have the symptoms of a UTI, you should seek a diagnosis and medical treatment immediately. Unlike the flu or the common cold, medical intervention is needed, or a UTI could lead to a more severe infection and expensive complications. At AFC Urgent Care South Philly, our state-of-the-art facility and experienced staff are ready to help you!

What is a UTI?

A UTI occurs when an infection develops in the urinary system, hence the name urinary tract infection. The Urinary System includes the urethra, bladder, ureters, and kidneys. The most common location for a UTI is the lower part of the urinary tract, the bladder or urethra, the tube that releases urine from the bladder outside the body. Bacteria can enter the urinary tract through the urethra and begin to grow, causing a UTI. While the urinary tract is designed to keep bacteria and other infections out, it is not foolproof, and bacteria can get through the body's natural defenses.

Those with female anatomy are more likely to have a UTI because:

  • There is a shorter distance between the urethra and the anus
  • The urethral opening to the bladder
  • Post-menopausal women are more susceptible

Most infections are caused by bacteria found in the gastroenterological tract, like E. Coli.

UTIs are also more likely to occur in older adults because of changes in their immune system and other lifestyle changes. Changes that often increase the chance of a UTI include:

  • Catheter use
  • Bladder or bowel incontinence.
  • Menopause

What are the symptoms of a UTI?

Not all UTIs will cause symptoms. However, some of the most common symptoms include the:

  • Cloudy urine
  • Strong smelling urine.
  • Redish or pink-looking urine, indicating blood in the urine
  • Burning sensation when urinating
  • Stronger than usual urge to urinate
  • Urinating frequently, but only in small amounts
  • Pelvic pain (in women.)

A UTI can also infect the kidneys. Symptoms of a UTI in the kidneys include:

  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Upper back pain
  • Shaking
  • Chills
  • Nausea

If the kidneys are infected, you might experience:

  • Fever
  • Upper back pain
  • Shaking or chills
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

How does AFC Urgent Care South Philly treat a UTI?

Bacteria cause UTIs and, therefore, can be effectively treated with antibiotics. Treatment for a UTI should begin as soon as a provider has diagnosed it. Generally, a urine sample and culture are needed to help a doctor choose the most effective antibiotic regimen. The goal is to clear up the infection immediately to avoid complications. They can include:

  • Permanent kidney damage from a kidney infection
  • Sepsis, which can be life-threatening.
  • Recurring infections. (There is a higher chance for this for those who have had two UTIs in six months or at least four in the last year.)

How can I prevent a UTI?

There are several ways and lifestyle habits you can adopt to prevent a UTI from occurring.

  • Drink fluids and remain hydrated - This will help you urinate more frequently and flush more bacteria out of your urinary tract. A good goal is drinking 6 to 8 glasses of water daily. Try to limit caffeine and alcohol intake, as that may irritate the bladder.
  • Wipe the right way - The most common bacteria that cause UTIs come from the digestive tract. When wiping, wipe front to back and keep waste away from your urethra. UTIs are more common when someone is afflicted with diarrhea since it can make it difficult to control one's bowel movements.
  • Urinate when you have to, and don't "hold it." - Holding one's urine can make it much easier for bacteria to remain in the urinary tract system. Outside of sleeping, it would help if you urinated at least once every four hours to empty your bladder.
  • Urinate before and after sexual activity - Sexual activity can lead to UTIs. Flushing urine out of your system before and after sexual activity can reduce that risk. Washing areas where sexual activity has occurred can also help reduce that risk.
  • Check your birth control - Some forms of birth control can make women more prone to UTIs. Check with a provider to determine which kinds of birth control works best to reduce UTIs.
  • Scented Hygiene Products - Scented hygiene products can disrupt the healthy bacteria in a woman's vagina. This can result in immune system disruptions such as bacterial vaginosis, yeast infections, and UTIs.
  • Drinking cranberry juice- Studies examining whether cranberry juice can prevent UTIs are inconclusive. It may help some people. Cranberries have proanthocyanins, a compound that can prevent E. Coli from sticking to tissue in the urinary tract system. The vitamin C in cranberry juice may increase the acidity of urine, making the environment less conducive for harmful bacteria to grow. Cranberry juice will not treat or reduce symptoms if you have a UTI.

Come to AFC Urgent Care South Philly today if you have symptoms of a UTI. Our experienced providers will use our on-site lab to help determine if you have a urinary tract infection. Please make an appointment today or walk in to be seen by our staff.

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