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What Is a Urinary Tract Infection and How Do I know If I Have One?
“A urinary tract infection – or UTI – is an infection in any part of your urinary system such as your kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra. It is a common condition, especially among women,” says Benjamin Dillon, M.D., a board-certified Urology specialist at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic. UTIs don’t always exhibit signs and symptoms. Dr. Dillon says when they do, symptoms may include:
- A strong, persistent urge to urinate
- A burning sensation when urinating
- Urine that appears cloudy
- Urine that appears red, bright pink or cola-colored – a sign of blood in the urine
- Foul-smelling urine
“Although over-the-counter test strips are available for at-home use, I don’t recommend it due to many false positive results,” Dr. Dillon says. “If you think you have a UTI, see your doctor. He or she will ask about your symptoms and test a sample of your urine for bacteria.”
To diagnose a urinary tract infection, your doctor may call for a urinalysis or a urine culture to establish the presence and type of bacteria, which will help determine the appropriate treatment. In the case of recurrent UTIs, additional tests may be ordered to determine whether the urinary tract is normal.
“Most urinary tract infections are treated with antibiotics. Which antibiotics are prescribed depends on your health and the type of bacterium found in your urine. Contact your doctor if you have symptoms,” recommends Dr. Dillon.