Initially, a person with a urinary tract infection (UTI) may or may not have symptoms.
When present, some of the symptoms seen in the early stages of a UTI are as follows:
- Burning sensation or pain while passing urine
- Frequent urge to urinate but passes only a little
- Pain or pressure in the back or lower abdomen
- Cloudy, dark, bloody, or strange-smelling pee
- Blood in the urine (more common in younger women; notify your doctor or nurse immediately)
Other symptoms that may be associated with a UTI include:
- Flank (side of the body) pain or lower back pain
- Fever (temperature above 100°F) and chills
- Mental changes or confusion
- Pain while having sex
- Penis pain
As the bacteria invade more and more organs in the urinary tract, symptoms may vary and are as follows:
|Part of the urinary tract affected||Signs and symptoms|
|Kidneys (acute pyelonephritis)||
How is a UTI treated?
Antibiotics are the first choice for treating urinary tract infections (UTIs).
The physician chooses antibiotics to treat your UTI based on:
- Effectiveness of the antibiotic toward the infecting bacteria.
- The severity of the infection.
- Your age group.
- Antibiotic resistance pattern.
Some of the antibiotics used to treat UTIs include:
- Beta-lactams, including penicillins and cephalosporins (Amoxicillin, Augmentin, Keflex, Duricef, Ceftin, Lorabid, Rocephin, Cephalexin, Suprax, and others); many organisms have shown resistance to some of these drugs
- Trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole combination antibiotic (Bactrim DS and Septra); many organisms may show resistance to this type of antibiotic
- Fluoroquinolones (Cipro, Levaquin, and Floxin) resistance is developing; avoid giving them to pregnant women or the pediatric population
- Tetracyclines (tetracycline, doxycycline, or minocycline) are used for Mycoplasma or Chlamydia infections; never use them to treat pregnant women or the pediatric population
- Aminoglycosides (gentamycin, amikacin, and tobramycin) are usually used in combination with other antibiotics to treat severe UTIs
- Macrolides (clarithromycin, azithromycin, and erythromycin) are used more often to treat some urinary problems caused by sexually transmitted diseases
- Fosfomycin (Monurol), a synthetic phosphonic acid derivative, is used for acute cystitis but not in complicated UTIs
Apart from antibiotics, cranberry juice is known to show improvement in UTIs; however, monitor for the following signs if you are drinking cranberry juice to treat UTIs:
Do not take cranberry juice if you are on blood-thinning medications such as warfarin.
How do you prevent UTIs?
Some ways to prevent UTIs include:
- Drink plenty of fluids, especially water.
- Use urine alkalizers that are available over the counter.
- Do not hold your urine for a long time.
- Empty your bladder before and after having sex.
- Take showers instead of baths.
- Minimize douching, spray or powder in the genital area to avoid irritation in the urethra.
- Wear loose-fitting clothing (including underpants) and dress children in loose-fitting clothing.
- Change the birth control method if it promotes bacterial growth in the urethra.
- Teach girls to wipe from the front to back while potty training.
- Use appropriate lubrication during sex. Try using a small amount of lubricant (such as K-Y Jelly) before sex if your partner is a little dry.
- Clean the anus and outer lips of the genitals every day to prevent the transmission of bacteria.
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