September 13, 2021
Clinical contributors to this story
Mark Perlmutter, MD contributes to topics such as Cancer Care, Men’s Health.
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) – when bacteria enter your urine and travel to your bladder – cause 8.1 million visits to healthcare providers each year, according to Urology Care Foundation. In fact, UTIs are so common that about 60 percent of women and 12 percent of men will have at least one UTI in their lifetime.
UTIs are common, but can they go away on their own or do they always require medical attention and antibiotics? The answer is not that simple.
Urologist Mark Perlmutter, MD, says a UTI can go away on its own, but not all UTI types and not every time.
âYes, a UTI could go away on its own, but some infections are different from others,â he says. “And if it is left untreated, it can persist longer.”
UTIs are classified into two main categories: uncomplicated, also called cystitis; and complicated, which may be associated with the catheter or occur during pregnancy. In most cases, UTIs are caused by the E. coli bacteria normally found in the intestines.
When to seek care
Usually UTIs have the following symptoms:
- Pain and burning during urination
- Frequent feeling of needing to urinate
- Frequent feeling that you need to urinate after what you have just done
- Cloudy urine
- Urine with a strong odor
- Pressure and cramps in the lower abdomen
- Feeling weak or shaking
The sooner you can treat these symptoms, the better you can prevent a UTI from turning into a kidney infection. While some people have battled uncomplicated UTIs with fluids and supplements, like cranberry tablets, Dr Perlmutter says it’s best to call your doctor, get a urine culture and, if it is deemed necessary by your doctor to start a course of antibiotics.
âThere really is no need to delay treatment since most of the time fluids and antibiotics will clear up a UTI easily,â he says.
If a UTI is treated early, there will likely be no lasting effect on your urinary tract. However, UTIs can lead to complications if they are not detected and treated early.
You should call your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms, as they could be a sign of more serious urinary tract problems:
- Blood in your urine
- Nausea Vomiting
- Lower back pain
- Decreased urine production
How to prevent a urinary tract infection
To prevent UTIs, stay hydrated, cleanse yourself properly after sexual activity, wipe from front to back (for women), and urinate when you feel the urge rather than holding it for long periods of time. periods.
âCranberry tablets have been shown to protect against E. coli infection,â says Dr. Perlmutter. “And the more you can prevent a UTI, the better.”
So, while it’s possible for a UTI to go away on its own, is it really worth the wait?
Next Steps and Resources:
The material provided by HealthU is intended to be used for general information only and should not replace the advice of your physician. Always consult your doctor for individual care.