How does UTI testing work?
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are a common health issue that affects millions of people each year, particularly women. If left untreated, a UTI can lead to more serious complications; that’s why UTI testing is so important.
At CityMD, it’s easy to pinpoint UTI symptoms and undergo UTI testing that’s easy and convenient for you.
What is a urinary tract infection?
A urinary tract infection is a common infection affecting your urinary system, including the bladder, kidneys, ureters, and urethra.
UTIs are usually caused by bacteria that enter the urinary tract and multiply, causing symptoms like:
- Pain or burning during urination
- Frequent urges to urinate
- Cloudy or strong-smelling urine
- A burning sensation or pain during urination
- Pain or pressure in the lower abdomen or back
- Feeling tired or shaky
UTIs are often uncomfortable and inconvenient, but they are usually easily treated with antibiotics and plenty of fluids.
What causes a urinary tract infection?
Bacteria typically cause UTIs, most commonly a type called Escherichia coli (E. coli for short), found in the digestive tract.
Although your urinary tract system is designed to keep out bacteria, E. coli can sometimes make its way up into the bladder, urethra, or kidneys, leading to an infection.
So, how do bacteria get into the urinary tract? There are a few common ways.
- Wiping from back to front. When you use the bathroom, wiping in the right direction is important. Wiping the wrong way — from front to back — can introduce bacteria from the anus to the urethra, leading to an infection.
- Holding in urine. If you hold in your urine for too long, bacteria can multiply in your bladder, increasing the risk of infection.
- Sexual activity. During sexual activity, bacteria can be pushed into the urethra, leading to infection. That's why it's important to urinate after sex to flush out any potential bacteria.
- Using certain types of birth control. Women who use diaphragms or spermicidal agents for birth control may be at a higher risk of developing UTIs.
- Weakened immune system. Illnesses like diabetes or HIV can weaken your immune system and make it harder for your body to fight off infections, including UTIs.
How long does a UTI last?
The duration of a urinary tract infection varies depending on a few factors, such as the severity of the infection, your overall health, and whether or not you are receiving treatment.
In general, untreated UTIs can last several days to a few weeks, and the symptoms can worsen over time. If these symptoms worsen, schedule a virtual care visit or walk into your neighborhood CityMD location.
With proper treatment, such as antibiotics, UTIs can start to improve within a few days. Typically, doctors will prescribe a course of antibiotics for several days to a week, depending on the severity of the infection.
UTI testing is a relatively simple and non-invasive process. You’ll be asked about your symptoms and medical history during the UTI testing process and have a physical exam.
Medical professionals will ask you to describe your symptoms in detail, including when they started, how severe they are, and whether or not you have experienced them before.
Here are a few examples of common UTI tests.
- Urine culture. The most common type of UTI test is a urine culture. A urine culture involves providing a urine sample that is then sent to a lab. The lab test can determine the type of bacteria causing the infection. This information is important because different kinds of bacteria may require different antibiotics to treat the infection effectively.
- Urine dipstick test. This test is quick and easy. A small plastic strip with several pads is dipped into a urine sample during a urine dipstick test. The pads on the strip are coated with chemicals that can detect the presence of certain substances in the urine, which are indicators of a UTI.
Urgent care UTI testing at CityMD
If you are experiencing symptoms of a UTI, it's essential to seek medical attention as soon as possible to get an accurate diagnosis and start treatment.
CityMD providers specialize in UTI testing and diagnosis. With proper treatment, you can feel better and return to everyday life.
Do you have questions about UTI testing? Walk right into your neighborhood CityMD urgent care location today for comprehensive care.
We’re ready to care for you.
Visit any CityMD urgent care location in your community today for an evaluation with one of our expert providers.