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Healthy You

How Do You Know If It Is A UTI?

Tuesday, July 12, 2016 7:20 AM

Urinary tract infections (UTI) often happen when bacteria enters the urinary tract through the urethra. Urinary tract infections are why we are told to wipe from front to back – especially women as the urethra is close to the vagina and anus. While they do not always show signs or symptoms, The Urogynecology experts at NorthShore, share common UTI symptoms:


  • The strong urge to urinate
  • Frequent, but small amounts, of urination
  • A burning feeling when urinating
  • Pain or pressure in the lower back or abdomen
  • Cloudy or dark urine that may be bloody or have a strange smell
  • Feeling tired
  • Fever or chills
  • Pelvic pain in women

For simple UTIs, symptoms usually clear up in few days after treatment. Treatment can include:

  • Antibiotics can be prescribed and it is important that the full course is followed.
  • A medication that turns the urine orange, to soothe the symptoms, may be prescribed.
  • Drinking plenty of fluids such as water to dilute and flush out the bacteria.
  • Avoiding irritating drinks such as coffee, alcohol or citrus drinks until the infection has been cleared.

Approximately one in five women experiences a second UTI after her first. Three or more infections in a year can be classified as chronic UTI. When multiple infections are experienced, it is important to follow up with your primary care physician to find a treatment plan such as taking a low dose antibiotic over a longer period of time or antibiotics after intercourse.
The following tips could prevent another UTI:

  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Limit your baths or choose showers.
  • Wipe from front to back.
  • Stay away from scented feminine products.
  • Urinate and clean well after intercourse.
  • Avoid trapping moisture by wearing cotton underwear or loose-fitted clothing.

What tips have you found to be helpful in avoiding a urinary tract infection?