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Sure Signs You Have an UTI, Say Physicians

Doctor explains what urinary tract infection symptoms are and how to help prevent one. 
FACT CHECKED BY Alek Korab

Anyone who's had a UTI knows how painful and annoying they can be. It's common to feel discomfort in your lower abdomen, pelvic area and even your back and if left untreated, a UTI infection can spread to one or kidneys causing severe damage in some cases. "A UTI, the acronym for urinary tract infection, is one of those pesky urological problems that many people (especially women) will experience, and likely never forget, at least once in their lifetime. In fact, UTIs are responsible for millions of trips to the doctor's office every year. Understanding why a UTI occurs can go a long way towards preventing the pain and discomfort that can accompany them," Dr. S. Adam Ramin, MD, urologist and medical director of Urology Cancer Specialists in Los Angeles, CA, tells Eat This, Not That! Health. Dr. Ramin also revealed signs of a UTI to watch out for and how to help prevent one. Read his advice below and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.

1

Foul Smell

Woman holding nose because of bad smell
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Dr. Ramin shares, "For most healthy people who properly hydrate, urine should be nearly odorless or in some cases should only have a slight scent of ammonia to it. Sometimes, one of the early signs of an impending UTI is a distinctly unusual smell or cloudy appearance of your urine. If you suddenly notice a foul or otherwise unusual smell to it, this may indicate a urinary tract infection or urinary stones, especially if the smell is also accompanied by a cloudy appearance. These signs warrant a trip to your doctor for evaluation. If you can catch it early, there's a better chance of treating it before more unpleasant symptoms arise."

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2

Painful Burning Sensation While Urinating

 

Woman in bathroom
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Dr. Ramin says, "Those less-than-pleasant UTI symptoms may include abdominal pain, a burning feeling while urinating, and/or the urge to urinate frequently, even if the output is minimal or non-existent." 

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3

Less Control Over Your Bladder

Woman with prostate problem in front of toilet bowl. Lady with hands holding her crotch, People wants to pee - urinary incontinence concept
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"You may also find you have less control over your bladder during a UTI episode," Dr. Ramin states. "Urinary tract infections that have reached the kidneys can include the above referenced symptoms and are frequently also accompanied by back pain and fever."

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4

Treatment for UTI

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According to Dr. Ramin, "At the first sign of UTI symptoms, it's important to get in touch with a health provider as soon as possible. Especially for expectant mothers, a UTI can be dangerous for both mother and child. So, getting in touch with your OB/GYN right away is prudent. In the case of a bladder infection, these UTIs are usually treated easily with a course of antibiotics and instructions to drink plenty of fluids. In the rarer case that the bacteria reach the kidneys, these UTIs can sometimes be tougher to treat and the infection can require more intensive treatment. In more serious cases of urinary tract infection, antibiotics may need to be administered intravenously and then followed by a course of oral antibiotics for several days to weeks. In all cases, the duration of the treatment will depend largely upon the severity of the infection. And anytime antibiotics have been prescribed to you by a doctor (for any type of infection, really), it is extremely important to finish all the medication at the precise doses prescribed to ensure the infection doesn't return."

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5

How to Help Prevent a UTI

Portrait Of Smiling Female Doctor With Stethoscope Sitting Behind Desk In Office
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Dr. Ramin reveals, "One of the most effective ways to prevent a UTI is to engage in proper hygiene. Thankfully, simple steps like urinating after sex, regularly washing the genital area with a mild soap and warm water, and for women, wiping front to back when you use the restroom can help to keep bacteria out of the urethra. If a diaphragm or spermicidal foam is the birth control method you use and you have had a problem with UTIs, talk to your doctor about other possible birth control options or remain vigilant about hygiene after intercourse. Another fantastic and super-easy tip for preventing a UTI – HYDRATE. Making sure your body has the fluids it needs at the levels needed is the key to so many health attributes and optimal urological health is one of them. Lastly, you should never "hold" your urine for too long or rush through urination. Be sure to "go" as soon as you feel the urge and make a conscious effort to empty the bladder every time you urinate. Both actions can increase the chances of expelling UTI-causing germs from your body, thereby further reducing your risk of developing an infection."

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Heather Newgen
Heather Newgen has two decades of experience reporting and writing about health, fitness, entertainment and travel. Heather currently freelances for several publications. Read more about Heather
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