Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are one of the most common bacterial infections in the United States, resulting in seven million office visits to healthcare providers each year. Additionally, 50 percent of women and three percent of men worldwide will experience a UTI in their lifetime. While most UTIs are not serious, they can cause discomfort, and if left untreated could lead to kidney damage or sepsis.
UTIs are an infection in any part of the urinary system including kidneys, bladder and urethra, often caused by bacteria, like E. coli, entering through the urethra. Symptoms include painful urination, the frequent urge to urinate and pressure in the abdomen or groin.
“Anyone who has had a UTI knows how uncomfortable they can be,” says Bailey Harville, FNP with East Georgia Medical and Surgical Associates at East Georgia Primary Care & Internal Medicine. “While there are steps you can take to help prevent a UTI, the only treatment is antibiotics prescribed by a doctor.”
Bailey Harville, FNP, suggests these habits to help reduce the risk of developing a UTI:
- Empty your bladder completely and frequently: Holding urine for long periods of time can increase the risk of bacteria accumulating in the bladder.
- Wipe correctly: To avoid bacteria entering the urethra, always wipe from front to back after using the restroom.
- Stay hydrated: Drinking a lot, especially water, helps flush out bad bacteria that can cause infection. Oppositely, avoid liquids that can irritate the bladder like alcohol and excessive caffeine.
- Avoid irritations: Scented feminine hygiene products and sprays can irritate the urethra, increasing the risk of developing an infection.
- Try cranberries: Cranberry juice is often associated with relief from UTIs and according to the National Health Institute, cranberries contain the compound proanthocyanidins that can help prevent bacteria from sticking to the walls of the bladder.
Harville adds, “Urinary tract infections are more than just uncomfortable; they can have serious health consequences if left untreated. Symptoms like burning sensations, frequent urination, and cloudy urine should not be ignored. When you come to see your doctor, we can provide a swift and accurate diagnosis, prescribe appropriate antibiotics, and offer guidance on how to prevent future UTIs. Your health is our priority, so please don't hesitate to schedule an appointment to address your UTI symptoms promptly.”
If you are experiencing symptoms of a UTI, or want to book a wellness visit with Bailey Harville or any primary care provider, visit https://www.eastgeorgiamedsurgassociates.com/all-appointments###.
East Georgia Regional Medical Center is owned in part by physicians.