Urinary Tract Infection

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Patient education: Urinary tract infections

What are urinary tract infections?

Urinary tract infections, also called “UTIs,” are infections that affect either the bladder or the kidneys:

Bladder infections are more common than kidney infections. They happen when bacteria get into the urethra and travel up into the bladder. The medical term for bladder infection is “cystitis.”

Kidney infections happen when the bacteria travel even higher, up into the kidneys. The medical term for kidney infection is “pyelonephritis.”

Both bladder and kidney infections are more common in women than men.

are urinary tract infections treated?

Most urinary tract infections are treated with antibiotic pills. These pills work by killing the germs that cause the infection.

If you have a bladder infection, you will probably need to take antibiotics for 3 to 7 days. If you have a kidney infection, you will probably need to take antibiotics for longer – maybe for up to 2 weeks. If you have a kidney infection, it’s also possible you will need to be treated in the hospital.

Your symptoms should begin to improve within a day of starting antibiotics. But you should finish all the antibiotic pills you get. Otherwise your infection might come back.

If needed, you can also take a medicine to numb your bladder. This medicine eases the pain caused by urinary tract infections. It also reduces the need to urinate.


You have been given an antibiotic prescription. It’s important that you take all the medication, unless instructed otherwise by your physician. Failure to complete the entire course can result in relapse of your condition.


Common side effects of antibiotics include nausea, intestinal cramping, or diarrhea. Women may develop vaginal yeast infections, and babies can get yeast (thrush) in the mouth following the use of antibiotics. Contact your physician if you develop significant side effects from this medication.



Allergy to this antibiotic can result in hives, wheezing, faintness, or itching. If symptoms of allergy occur, stop the medication and call the doctor.


What if I get bladder infections a lot?


First, check with your provider to make sure that you are really having bladder infections. The symptoms of bladder infection can be caused by other things. But if you are really dealing with repeated infections, there are things you can do to keep from getting more infections .



These include:


Avoiding spermicides (sperm-killing creams) – Spermicide is a form of birth control. It seems to increase the risk of bladder infections in some women, especially when used with a diaphragm. If you use spermicide and get a lot of bladder infections, you might want to try switching to a different form of birth control.

Drinking more fluid – This can help prevent bladder infections.

Urinating right after sex – Some doctors think this helps, because it helps flush out germs that might get into the bladder during sex. There is no proof it works, but it also cannot hurt.

Vaginal estrogen – If you are a woman who has already been through menopause, your doctor might suggest this. Vaginal estrogen comes in a cream or a flexible ring that you put into your vagina. It can help prevent bladder infections.

Antibiotics – If you get a lot of bladder infections, and the above methods have not helped, your doctor might give you antibiotics to help prevent infection. But taking antibiotics has downsides, so doctors usually suggest trying other things first.


You should contact your private physician for follow-up care. If you are unable to get a timely appointment, or if you are worsening, call us. For help finding a Primary provider or Urology specialist please call 410-601-WELL (9355)

Please make telemedicine visit or return to the clinic for recheck in two days unless otherwise instructed by your provider. Please return sooner if any new or worsening redness, streaking, increased drainage or fever develops. If you were provided with an antibiotic, please fill this and take as directed until completion.

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