Urinary Tract Infection, or UTI, is a common infectious disease affecting millions of people every year. While it affects people of all ages and genders, women are at higher risk of getting a UTI than men. Research shows that roughly 50 to 60% of women develop UTIs in their lifetime, and 20–50% experience at least one recurrence.
UTIs can cause excessive pain and irritation if not detected and treated early, disrupting a person's daily life from sleep to work and exercise. Luckily, effective treatment from a professional healthcare provider can help address this problem and improve your quality of life. This post provides a detailed UTI overview, including symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and how to get online UTI treatment.
A UTI is an infection in any part of the urinary system. It occurs when harmful bacteria enter the urinary tract, multiply and cause inflammation. This infection can affect your bladder (cystitis), urethra (urethritis), kidneys (pyelonephritis), and ureters. According to the National Kidney Association, UTIs account for nearly 10,000 healthcare visits annually in the US.
Most UTIs involve the lower urinary tract, commonly known as a bladder infection. Upper urinary tract UTIs are rarer but more severe. Serious health problems can occur when the lower urinary tract infection spreads to the kidney.
As previously mentioned, women are more prone to UTIs because their urethra is shorter and closer to the rectum, making it easier for bacteria to reach the urinary tract. People with diabetes, blockages in their urinary tract, or structural problems such as enlarged prostate are also at a higher risk of getting the infection.
UTI symptoms can vary depending on the part of the urinary system that is affected.
The symptoms of a lower tract UTI include:
When a UTI spreads to the kidneys or ureters, it can cause the following symptoms:
People with urinary tract infection symptoms often visit a physical clinic to provide a urine sample for analysis and diagnosis. However, you don't need a urine culture to safely diagnose and treat a minor and uncomplicated infection.
A board-certified doctor, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant can diagnose and treat a UTI online without a urine sample through phone or video visits. They review your medical history and ask the same questions you'd hear at a doctor's office to make an accurate diagnosis and provide a treatment plan. They may order lab tests for further evaluation if they suspect something more serious.
UTIs are caused by the entry of bacteria into the urinary tract through the urethra. Different bacteria live in the area around the rectum, vagina, and on skin. When they enter the urethra, they can travel to the bladder and even up to the kidney if the infection isn't treated.
Escherichia coli is the most predominant bacteria, causing up to 90% of UTIs. It lives in the large intestines and can travel from the anus to the bladder through the urethra. The urinary system is designed to flush out bacteria when you urinate, but sometimes the defenses may fail. When this happens, they multiply and grow into a full-blown urinary tract infection.
Certain risk factors can also increase your likelihood of getting a UTI. These include:
The current rapid technological advancements are gradually changing the face of healthcare by making it possible to access uti treatment online from the comfort of your home. With telehealth or telemedicine, an online doctor consultation can diagnose and treat urinary tract infections without an in-person visit. You only need a stable internet connection on your smartphone, computer, or tablet.
Care on Location is your go-to destination if you're experiencing the UTI symptoms listed above. We match patients with medical professionals on a video call to provide fast and effective relief. You don't have to sit in a crowded waiting room. Our doctors will obtain your medical history and will carefully review your UTI symptoms and prescribe treatment in minutes.
Care on Location is a unique telemedicine service that allows patients to choose their online doctor. The scheduling system is available to you 24 hours a day. To schedule an online appointment, you'll need to look at our healthcare providers list and choose the one you like. You can select the next available provider, especially if you need urgent care.
Next is to book your appointment based on the provided choices, i.e., specialty, first-time or returning visitor, and payment method. You'll receive instructions for your online appointment connection, where you'll chat with your doctor and receive a treatment plan.
Prepare your questions ahead of time and have medical pictures or reports you may want to share. Based on the severity of your condition, they may prescribe medications and may request follow-up appointments.
After evaluating your health history and UTI symptoms, your clinical provider will prescribe a course of antibiotics to treat your infection and alleviate symptoms. You can choose a local pharmacy where you want the doctor to send your prescription. Once done, you'll be asked to go to your local pharmacy to pick up the medicine and take it as directed.
Research shows that approximately 25-42% of minor and uncomplicated UTIs can go away on their own. That means the body may resolve some infections without antibiotics, especially in people with no other health issues.
However, leaving a UTI untreated can result in serious problems such as pyelonephritis and sepsis, which require medical intervention to prevent permanent damage. For this reason, it's imperative to seek treatment immediately if you suspect you may have a UTI.
How long a UTI lasts without antibiotics highly depends on the severity of the infection. A minor UTI may take seven to ten days to clear with a few home remedies and drinking plenty of liquids.
If you fail to pursue treatment and the infection doesn't disappear on its own, you will likely get the worst infection and a much longer recovery time. Always pay close attention to the severity of your symptoms and avoid enduring anything that causes excessive discomfort.
Most UTIs resolve quickly with a course of antibiotics. The symptoms gradually dissipate during the treatment and eventually disappear within a few days. It's always vital to take all the prescribed antibiotics, even when you feel better, to completely kill all bacteria that cause the infection.
Persistent UTI symptoms may signify other issues such as antibiotic resistance, underlying condition, or improper treatment.
If you're concerned about symptoms that linger after antibiotic treatment, reach out to your doctor immediately. High chances are that they have encountered such situations before and know how to help. They may recommend scheduling further follow-up care and making another appointment to check out your progress.
Most private health insurance plans cover telehealth services. Your specific coverage can differ depending on your insurance carrier. For instance, Aetna offers virtual care coverage for minor illnesses like infections and stomach pain.
Medicaid covers some telemedicine services, but the coverage usually differs from state to state. Each state has different online appointment coverage rules for each Medicaid program. You can check with your health provider or local Medicaid office to find out which online services are covered in your state.
A quick internet search yields many articles with remedies that people with a UTI can try at home. While most of them are safe, they shouldn't replace seeking a professional's advice. You can try them while taking antibiotics to quicken the recovery process.
Following these tips can reduce your risk of getting a UTI:
UTIs are very common, and the symptoms are often unmistakable. However, some medical conditions can be misdiagnosed or incorrectly assumed to be UTIs. Among them include:
UTIs rarely lead to complications when treated promptly and properly. However, infections that are left untreated can result in the following problems:
You can use an at-home test to determine whether there are leucocytes or nitrates in your urine. Here is how to go about it.
The final color should tell whether you tested negative or positive for a UTI. Please follow the instructions on the test carefully.
Urinary tract infections can be embarrassing, especially when accompanied by too much irritation, pain, and discomfort. Luckily, you can get quick relief without going to a physical clinic through UTI online treatment. All you need is to find a reliable online health provider like Care on Location, discuss your symptoms and get a prescription in minutes.
We match you with licensed doctors with years of experience to ensure you get accurate diagnosis and treatment. Click here to schedule your first appointment.