That stinging, burning, often annoying sensation you may get when trying
to urinate – what is it? There can be multiple causes for these
painful and bothersome symptoms. That is why it is so important that you
visit your primary care doctor right away, so that a thorough history
and physical exam is performed to correctly diagnose your symptoms.
A common reason for these symptoms can be due to a urinary tract infection,
better known as a UTI. A urinary tract infection occurs when bacteria
within the urinary system cause symptoms and/or an inflammatory response
Both men and women can get a UTI, including babies, teenagers, adults and
the elderly. Though, according to the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical
Care Survey, a UTI is more common in women than in men. This is mostly
due to the anatomical differences between men and women. Simply put, the
female anatomy often allows for potential bacteria to enter the urinary
system with more ease.
Sometimes a UTI is diagnosed as a complicated UTI, and some risk factors
include: the male sex, pregnancy, diabetes mellitus, immunocompromised
state, and presence of indwelling catheter or kidney stones. When I am
treating a patient with a UTI, I take into account a patient’s individual
history and various factors before I choose the best treatment plan for
“I took some cranberry pills, shouldn’t that treat it”?
I hear this question often in the office. Traditionally, cranberry has
been used for both the treatment and prevention of UTIs. The research
suggests that cranberry works by preventing bacteria from adhering to
the cells in the urinary tract system. More recently, randomized controlled
trials have shown evidence of cranberry’s use in preventing UTIs.
My thoughts on cranberry juice and pills are that they are typically safe
and well tolerated and may help prevent a UTI. However, cranberry alone
will not treat a urinary tract infection.
Often, a diagnosis of a UTI is caused by the bacteria
E. Coli and requires an antibiotic to treat. Your doctor will order tests to correctly
identify the bacteria causing the UTI and prescribe the most effective
antibiotic to treat it.
It can be very dangerous, sometimes even life threatening if you prolong
seeking treatment for a UTI. The infection may spread to your kidneys
or blood stream, so do not wait for your symptoms to persist without seeing
a physician. After all, receiving a correct diagnosis with proper treatment
early on will prevent complications and keep you healthy.
So the next time you have some bothersome urinary symptoms, make sure you
visit your primary care doctor. Each patient has a unique medical history,
and performing a pertinent physical exam and testing we will provide the
appropriate diagnosis and treatment plan to get you feeling better.