Could You Have a UTI?

One out of every five women in the United States will have a UTI at some point in their lives, and these pesky and painful infections account for almost 10 million doctor visits each year.

At Southeast Urogyn, our goal is to help our patients in Jackson, Mississippi, quickly eliminate the infection before it leads to larger problems, which means that you should know the early warning signs to seek prompt treatment.

If you’re worried that you may have a UTI, we’ve pulled together the following primer to help you.

As the name implies

A UTI is an infection in your urinary tract, which involves your urethra, bladder, kidneys, and ureters. The infection is caused when bacteria enter this tract and take up temporary residence and multiply, causing inflammation and pain. Most UTIs develop in your lower urinary tract, which includes your urethra and bladder.

If the bacteria are more ambitious and make their way to your upper urinary tract, including your kidneys and ureters, the infection can be far more severe and have a serious impact on your health. Thankfully, upper urinary tract infections aren’t nearly as common as lower ones, which are easier to treat.

Location, location, location

The reason women suffer more UTIs is because of simple anatomy. The opening of your urethra is perilously close to your anus, which harbors all manner of bacteria. And once inside, the bacteria have only a short distance to travel before reaching your bladder thanks to your short urethra.

The bacteria most commonly associated with UTIs are E. coli, which are responsible for 80-90% of all infections. E. coli is no stranger to your body and exists in your gastrointestinal system. As your body processes your food, sending it through your digestive system, your solid waste picks up E. coli on the way and then expels it all through your stool.

As we mentioned earlier, your anatomy is such that the short distance between your anus and the opening of your urethra means that E. coli can take a round trip, entering places it isn’t supposed to be, causing an infection.

If you're not wiping properly after a bowel movement (from front to back), you can deliver the offending bacteria right to your urinary tract. Sexual intercourse is also tied to UTIs as penetration can introduce bacteria closer to your urethra.

The telltale signs

If you’ve never had a UTI before, the symptoms can be quite unpleasant and hard to ignore. Typically, it starts with a little bit of pain or burning when you urinate. In less than a day, this sensation can balloon into severe pain when you urinate. More frustrating still is the fact that you may feel like you have to urinate more frequently, but each time you go to the bathroom, nothing comes out, though the pain still flares.

Outside of the pain during urination, you may have a dull ache in your pelvis or low back because of the inflammation in your urinary tract.

When you are able to relieve yourself, check for cloudy or bloody urine, that often smells very unpleasant. These are sure signs that an infection may be present.

If you also have a fever alongside these symptoms, it’s important that you give us a call for immediate treatment. The same imperative exists without a fever, because the earlier we’re able to go in and fight the infection, the easier it is to eradicate.

Fighting back

When you come in, the first thing we do is gather a urine sample. When we take a look at your urine under a microscope, we can determine whether invading bacteria are present. If we confirm this presence, we put you on antibiotics, which should make short work of the infection.

If you’re still unsure about whether you have a UTI, or you fit the criteria to the letter, please give us a call so we can treat you as quickly as possible to relieve the pain and discomfort. Or you can use the online scheduling tool on this website to book the first available appointment.

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