Do I Have A Urinary Tract Infection?

Published: December 15, 2022
Gabrielle Pierce
By Gabrielle Pierce, PharmD, MBA

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) can occur commonly, especially in women, although they can occur in men too. They occur when bacteria enter and infect any part of the urinary system, including the bladder, kidneys, or urethra.

What are the symptoms of a UTI?
Common symptoms of UTIs include a burning sensation or pain when urinating or

having a frequent and strong urge to urinate. Other possible symptoms include frequently urinating a tiny amount of liquid or urine that is cloudy, red, pink, or that has a very strong smell. Depending on how severe the infection is, these symptoms may get worse or change over time if left untreated.

Who is more prone to getting a UTI?
Factors that can increase the risk of developing a UTI include sexual activity, which can push move bacteria to the opening of the urethra, allowing an infection to develop, using a diaphragm or using diaphragms or condoms with a spermicide which may kill off healthy bacteria that is normally present, pregnancy or menopause where hormonal changes can change the type and presence of bacteria in the urinary tract, having a kidney stone or enlarged prostate or use of a catheter, and having diabetes which may weaken the immune system.

How can I treat a UTI?
There are both prescription medications and over-the-counter (OTC) options for treating a UTI. For a simple UTI, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics to help your body get rid of the infection. These antibiotics are usually taken by mouth. It is important to take the medication as prescribed for as many days as your doctor tells you to, even if you start to feel better after just a few days of treatment. Stopping the medicine early may increase the chance of having a repeat infection with resistant bacteria which can cause antibiotics to not work as well.

An OTC medication that can relieve some symptoms associated with UTIs is phenazopyridine hydrochloride (or Azo). Cystex is another OTC medication that can relieve some of the painful symptoms of a UTI. However, these OTC products will not cure the infection itself.

Drinking lots of water can help dilute your urine and flush the bacteria from your system, which can help get rid of the UTI.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms and think you may have a UTI, you should call your doctor or pharmacist. Your pharmacist can answer questions about OTC options for lessening your symptoms, as well as answer any questions you may have if your doctor prescribes an antibiotic to treat the UTI.

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