CareNow® - August 25, 2022

Can urgent care treat UTIs?

Urinary tract infections, more commonly referred to as UTIs, occur when the urinary system becomes infected with bacteria entering the tract. This type of infection can impact your kidneys, bladder, urethra, and ureters, often causing pain in the lower abdomen, pelvic area, and lower back.

Women are typically more prone to developing a urinary tract infection, with some research showing that women may have as much as a 50% chance of developing one in their lifetime. Men, on the other hand, have about a 10% chance of getting a UTI.

So how do you know if you have a UTI, and what should you do if you get one? We’re sharing what you need to know about urinary tract infections and how you can prevent them.

What are the types of UTIs?

There are three main types of UTIs: cystitis, pyelonephritis, and urethritis. Each type of infection impacts a different portion of the urinary tract.

Cystitis affects the bladder and can cause you to feel like you need to pee, or it may cause pain when you urinate. Lower belly pain and cloudy or bloody urine are also common symptoms of this type of UTI.

When the infection is in the kidney, it’s called pyelonephritis. With pyelonephritis, you may experience fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, and pain in your side or upper back.

Urethritis is directly linked to the urethra and may cause a discharge and burning when you pee.

What causes UTIs?

Women are often warned of the importance of wiping from front to back once they’ve used the bathroom. This is primarily because of UTIs. Since the urethra, which carries pee from the bladder to the outside of the body, is close to the anus, it can easily collect bacteria.

This makes it easy for bacteria to move up to your bladder and can even move on to your kidneys. Since women’s urethra are shorter than men’s, they are also more susceptible to a bladder infection. Sexual activity can also be to blame for bacteria entering the urinary tract.

What are the symptoms of a UTI?

One of the most common symptoms of a UTI is a burning sensation when urinating. You may also feel an intense urge to use the bathroom, but very little urine comes out when you go.

Other common symptoms of UTIs include pain or pressure in your lower abdomen or back, cloudy urine with a strong scent, and fatigue, fever, or chills.

If your infection is in the kidney, you will most likely have pain in your upper back and side, high fever, nausea, shaking, and chills.

Cystitis, or infection of the bladder, can result in painful urination, blood in the urine, pelvic pressure, discharge and burning when urinating, and discomfort in the lower abdomen.

Does urgent care do UTI tests?

Most urgent care facilities should perform UTI testing. Every CareNow® location offers this type of testing. You can be sure your visit will be easy, efficient, and discreet — and we’ll make sure you have your results quickly so you can begin treatment.

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How long does a UTI test take at urgent care?

To test you for a UTI, one of our qualified providers will perform a urine test, commonly called a urinalysis. Usually, it will take a few minutes to get the results back from your urinalysis. However, in some cases, your urine may be sent out for further testing. If that happens, we will contact you as soon as your results are back and inform you of the best treatment plan.

How are UTIs treated?

After you’ve gotten a diagnosis from the provider, you will most likely be prescribed an antibiotic to help kill the bacteria. To fully get rid of the infection, you will need to complete the entire prescribed cycle of medication.

While the antibiotic is doing its job, you should focus on drinking plenty of water to help flush your body of the bacteria. If you’re in pain during this time, your provider may prescribe you pain medication to help alleviate the pain. You can also use a heating pad to relieve pain in certain areas.

Are there complications from a UTI?

When left untreated, it is possible to develop complications from a urinary tract infection. If you’ve had two or more UTIs within six months, you are at a higher risk of recurring infections.

UTIs can also result in permanent kidney damage from an acute or chronic kidney infection, which is why it’s important to seek treatment as soon as symptoms develop. A UTI during pregnancy can result in low birth weight or premature infants.

If men suffer from recurrent urethritis, they are more susceptible to urethral narrowing, which can be life-threatening.

Can you prevent a UTI?

When it comes to UTIs, the numbers are high, especially for women. However, there are some steps you can take to help minimize your risk, including:

  • Stay hydrated: Drinking liquids can help dilute your urine so that you go more often. This allows the bacteria to be flushed from your tract before the infection begins.
  • Add cranberry juice to your diet: There is some belief that cranberry juice can help prevent UTIs. The juice is also rich in vitamin C, helping keep your immune system working well — so why not?
  • Steer clear of irritating feminine products: Many deodorant sprays and feminine products can irritate the urethra. If possible, stick with non-irritating products to avoid a UTI.
  • Wipe from front to back: Whether you’ve urinated or had a bowel movement, wiping from front to back helps keep bacteria from moving to the vagina and urethra.

If you are experiencing symptoms of a UTI, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible before complications begin. At CareNow®, our experienced practitioners are ready with a full range of primary and urgent care services, including medical testing.

We’ve earned the distinction of Accredited Urgent Care Center from our industry’s association, Urgent Care Association (UCA), so you know you’re getting only the best care.

We’re also committed to getting you in and out quickly, so we offer a Web Check-In® feature that allows you to wait from anywhere!

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