Do you or somebody you know suffer from frequent Urinary Tract Infections? If so this is the video for you. Check it out to see how you can recognize a UTI, what is available to treat them and most importantly what you can do to help prevent them! Let me know what you thought about the video and what you have tried to treat or prevent them.
Here is a summary of the things that were discussed in the video.
Here is who is most at risk for frequent UTI’s:
• -A previous UTI
• -Those who are sexually active and especially if they have a new partner
• -Older Age
• -Decreased mobility
• -Urinary incontinence
• -Prostate enlargement
What are some common signs of a UTI?
• Pain or burning with urination
• Urinary frequency
• Urinary urgency
• Feel like you don’t completely empty
• Low grade fevers
• Cloudy or Bloody urine
• Pain, Pressure or Cramping in the groin or lower abdominal area
For mild symptoms if they are not going away after several days then you should probably be seen. These symptoms certainly can be handled at your doctor’s office or urgent care. They usually DO NOT need Emergency Room Care.
What are some signs of a more serious UTI or Kidney infection? They can include bur are not limited to:
• Lower back or side pain
• High fever, typically over 101 F)
• Nausea or vomiting
• Confusion or mental status changes
• Night Sweats
These are symptoms that you should be urgently seeking care if not at your doctor’s office, quick care or even the emergency room. This certainly not a time where you should be trying to treat things on their own.
Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of good options for home treatment of a true urinary tract infection. Since this is a bacterial infection if you don’t clear it on your own, it usually needs an antibiotic to treat. Now there are a lot of things that people are searching for out there and advocating including:
• Wild Oregano oil
• Vitamin C
• Baking Soda
• Colloidal Silver
• Apple Cider Vinegar
Unfortunately, evidence for their effectiveness is lacking so I can’t advocate their use. However they are not felt to be harmful so if you are in the early and mild stages of a UTI then it may be something that you could look into. However if symptoms progress then you need to seek care. Remember though many mild UTI’s if treated with lots of fluids can actually be cleared on their own anyway so it’s hard to judge on whether these alternatives have helped.
So what is available that is over the counter that can help?
Pyridium or phenazopyradine-
You can find an example here: https://amzn.to/2QwG4Hs
This can be given as a prescription or can purchase over the counter. This acts as an anesthetic to help relive the burning sensation. This can be effective to help with the symptoms but it’s important to know that this DOES NOT treat the infection. It only stops the burning. We typically will use this in conjunction with antibiotics when the symptoms are severe to give some relief while waiting for the antibiotics to work.
Now a few cautions regarding taking this medication.
1. It does turn your urine a bright orange color. This in and of itself can be startling.
2. It also can interfere with the urine testing that your doctor may do in his office.
3. You really don’t want to be taking it for more than 2-3 days as it can put you at risk for a condition where your red blood cells break down called hemolysis. This can lead to some anemias or also in the acute setting can put a big load on your kidneys and has been associated with some reports of acute renal failure so be careful and talk to your doctor about using it.
4. Now finally it, can mask symptoms that you should be seeking care for.
Things you can do that help with prevention:
• Urinate before and after sexual activity
• Stay well-hydrated and urinate regularly
• Take showers instead of baths
• When potty training girls, teach them to wipe front to back
• Cranberry juice? Evidence is clear that it DOES NOT treat an active infection. The evidence on prevention is less clear. There is some suggestion that it can help but it is not clear enough to truly advocate for it. It is not felt to be harmful so if you suffer from frequent infections it is certainly something that you can try.
Here is a link to an example: https://amzn.to/2SqxveB
Here are some other products that I recommend to my patients:
Good thermometer-Good all-around and most accurate
Digital Ear/Temporal thermometer-quick and easy, best not to use for infants under 3 months.
Male urinary tract
BruceBlaus [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/...)], from Wikimedia Commons
Female urinary tract
Unknown Illustrator [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons