Can You Go to Urgent Care For a UTI?

Urinary tract infections, or UTIs, are experienced by around 40% of all women and 12% of all men. For many, the symptoms are mild or even unnoticeable. When it causes significant discomfort, though, seeking urgent care for UTI issues will be high on your list of considerations. 

So, can you go to urgent care for a UTI, and what type of treatments can be used to restore your urinary health? Here’s all you need to know.

What is a UTI?

The term urinary tract infection is one that describes an infection to any part of the urinary tract. This covers the kidneys, bladder, and urethra. UTIs develop when bacteria enter the urinary tract, usually via the urethra. Scientific studies show that the female urethra is shorter than the male urethra, which is one of the chief reasons why women are at a greater risk than men. 

Furthermore, more than 20% of women who experience a UTI will encounter a recurrence within 4 months. UTIs can also develop into serious kidney conditions or cause sepsis.

UTI symptoms

Not everyone who has a UTI will notice the symptoms and it is possible that the body will fight the infection by itself. However, not all types of UTIs can be healed without medical intervention. As such, you should be receptive to common symptoms including; a burning sensation when you pee, blood in your urine, cloudy urine, increased frequency of urinating, stomach pains, shivering, or a high temperature. 

When left untreated, UTI symptoms will continue to worsen over time while the damage can spread to other parts of the urinary tract system. In most cases, it starts at the lower parts because this is where bacteria enters the urinary tract but will work its way up when left untreated.

Can you go to urgent care for a UTI?

While a UTI is unlikely to require a trip to the Emergency Room, you may be wondering if you can go to urgent care for a UTI. Urgent care or virtual urgent care can be used to confirm that symptoms are caused by a UTI and subsequently build a treatment plan to manage any pain and promote a full recovery.

UTIs can also cause hospitalizations across both genders and all age demographics. Meanwhile, studies into Hospitalization for urinary tract infections and the quality of preventive health care received by people with spina bifida showed 22.8 inpatient admissions with UTI per 1000 persons with the condition. In conclusion, urgent care for a UTI isn’t always necessary, it is an option.

When should you see a doctor for a UTI?

As mentioned, UTIs are often a recurring problem. If you have experienced new symptoms within a few months of treatment for a UTI, it’s best to see a doctor soon. For a suspected first UTI, you should seek medical help if the pain is severe or the symptoms worsen over time. Alternatively, if the issues persist for a few days without clearing up, a medical intervention is advised.

Even when the symptoms are mild, you should speak to a doctor when it’s convenient, especially if the UTI does not clear within a few days. Aside from treating the condition itself, studies show that untreated UTIs have a positive correlation with bladder cancer, kidney disease, and other conditions.

UTI treatments

UTIs are commonly treated with antibiotics known as fluoroquinolones. In more severe cases, an inpatient hospital stay with intravenous antibiotics may be needed. The type of antibiotics, dosage, and duration will all be dictated by the severity of the infection.in most cases, the treatment will last a few days. However, recurring UTIs may be treated with low doses for several months.

A diagnosis can be made via a urine sample examination, CT or MRI scans of the urinary tract, or using a cystoscope. Analyzing your urine culture by growing urine bacteria in a lab is another possible route that can identify the most effective treatment. Healthcare-associated UTIs (HAUTIs) account for 12.9% of US cases, whichever treatment path is selected, a quick response is the only solution.

UTI prevention

If you have had a confirmed urinary tract infection, you’ll want to avoid repeat experiences, especially as it has been shown that you are vulnerable to them. The most effective methods focus on keeping bacteria out of the urethra. Staying hydrated will force you to urinate more frequently, which flushes bacteria out before it has had the opportunity to multiply. Wiping back to front also prevents bacteria around the anus from making their way to the urinary tract.

While keeping your genitals clean is important, the urge to use perfumed products may actually irritate them. Meanwhile, a 2017 study into Sex differences shape the response to infectious has proved that sex is a variable that impacts the risk of UTIs. Washing before sex and urinating after it can push bacteria out of the body. Meanwhile, talking to a doctor about different birth control methods can help minimize the risk of infection.

How can DrHouse help you?

If you experience the symptoms of a UTI or fear that you have a recurring UTI, urgent care for UTI is the best solution. However, the inconvenience of visiting a busy urgent care center for an issue that only causes a mild level of discomfort probably won’t appeal. DrHouse can connect you to an online doctor to discuss your symptoms and any complications before pointing you towards the right next steps.

This can include getting prescriptions and repeat prescriptions for known recurring conditions. Alternatively, it could include arranging urine tests or other examinations to monitor UTIs and related health concerns.

Key Takeaways

UTIs are very common but that does not mean that their negative health impacts can be ignored. Visiting an Emergency Room will only be needed if you are vomiting and showing signs of sepsis. Nonetheless, urgent care for UTI issues is far more common. If your symptoms have worsened or you’re worried about the recurrence of your UTI, contact a doctor today.

Sources:

  • Ingersoll MA (2017) Sex differences shape the response to infectious diseases. PLOS Pathogens 13(12): e1006688.Available from:  https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1006688
  • Medina M, Castillo-Pino E. An introduction to the epidemiology and burden of urinary tract infections. Ther Adv Urol. 2019 May 2;11:1756287219832172. Available from: 10.1177/1756287219832172
  • Jack L. Radomski, David Greenwald, William Lee Hearn, Norman L. Block, Nitrosamine Formation in Bladder Infections and its Role in the Etiology of Bladder Cancer, The Journal of Urology, Volume 120, Issue 1, 1978, Pages 48-50, ISSN 0022-5347, Available from: https://doi.org/10.1016/S0022-5347(17)57035-4 .
  • Brian S. Armour, Lijing Ouyang, Judy Thibadeau, Scott D. Grosse, Vincent A. Campbell, David Joseph, Hospitalization for urinary tract infections and the quality of preventive health care received by people with spina bifida, Disability and Health Journal, Volume 2, Issue 3, 2009, Pages 145-152, ISSN 1936-6574, Available from: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dhjo.2009.02.001 
  • Prevention of recurrent urinary tract infections in womenDrug and Therapeutics Bulletin 2013;51:69-74. Available from: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/dtb.2013.6.0187

DrHouse articles are written by MDs, NPs, nutritionists and other healthcare professionals. The contents of the DrHouse site are for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you are experiencing high fever (>103F/39.4C), shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, chest pain, heart palpitations, abnormal bruising, abnormal bleeding, extreme fatigue, dizziness, new weakness or paralysis, difficulty with speech, confusion, extreme pain in any body part, or inability to remain hydrated or keep down fluids or feel you may have any other life-threatening condition, please go to the emergency department or call 911 immediately.

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