How do you know you're suffering from a urinary tract infection?
When a urinary tract infection (UTI) is happening, it can impact any part of your urinary system — kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra. Majority of infections involve the lower urinary tract — which are the bladder and the urethra.
The greater risk of developing a UTI lies with women rather than are men. Infection limited to your bladder can be painful and annoying. However, if a UTI spreads to your kidneys it could potentially have serious consequences.
These infections are treated primarily with antibiotics but all necessary steps to reduce the chances of getting a UTI should be exercised.
There are a few steps you need to take to properly diagnose a UTI. First, you need to identify the symptoms.
Symptoms of a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
- Strong and frequent urge to urinate;
- Pain or a burning sensation when you pee;
- Cloudy, bloody, or strong-smelling urine;
- Fever and chills;
- Nausea and vomiting;
- Feeling very tired or shaking;
- Muscle aches, abdominal pain or lower back pain.
If you feel any or all of these symptoms, the next step is to confirm whether they're caused by a urinary tract infection.
How to diagnose a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
If this is the first time you've felt these symptoms, you'll need to go see a doctor as soon as possible. During your appointment, the doctor will analyze a urine sample with a simple test called urinalysis. During this test, the doctor will examine the urine to determine whether it contains any compounds that shouldn't be there, which would indicate the presence of an infection.
It's important to mention that a urinalysis will only confirm the presence of an infection, not what type of bacteria that caused it. Why is that important? Urinary tract infections can be caused by several types of bacteria which require different antibiotics to treat each one. Once the presence of a UTI is confirmed, you have to identify which strain of bacteria is causing the UTI through a urine culture.
The urine culture takes a few days to complete but will let your doctor know what types of antibiotics to prescribe in order to treat the infection.
The following are various types of UTIs and their associated symptoms:
- Kidneys - Upper back and side (flank) pain, High fever, Shaking and chills, Nausea, Vomiting
- Bladder - Pelvic pressure, Lower abdomen discomfort, Frequent, painful urination, Blood in urine
- Urethra - Burning with urination, Discharge
At-Home UTI Diagnosis
If you've been through the UTI rigmarole several times already, you're likely very sensitive to even the slightest symptom — whether you're suffering from an infection or not. There's little worse than the mental dance that ensues: should you go to the doctor or wait it out a little longer?
Luckily, there's an easy way to find out with Utiva UTI Test Strips. These test strips are Health Canada approved as a consumer version of the same urine dipstick used in labs and clinics. They are a simple, accurate and convenient way to test for leukocytes and nitrites in urine, two compounds that signal the presence of a UTI.
Keep them around the house to know for sure and stop the "Should I?" questions right in their track!