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Healthy You

How Do You Know If It Is A UTI?

Tuesday, July 12, 2016 7:20 AM

Urinary tract infections (UTI) often happen when bacteria enters the urinary tract through the urethra. Urinary tract infections are why we are told to wipe from front to back – especially women as the urethra is close to the vagina and anus. While they do not always show signs or symptoms, Janet Tomezsko, MD, Urogynecology at NorthShore, shares common UTI symptoms:


  • The strong urge to urinate
  • Frequent, but small amounts, of urination
  • A burning feeling when urinating
  • Pain or pressure in the lower back or abdomen
  • Cloudy or dark urine that may be bloody or have a strange smell
  • Feeling tired
  • Fever or chills
  • Pelvic pain in women

For simple UTIs, symptoms usually clear up in few days after treatment. Treatment can include:

  • Antibiotics can be prescribed and it is important that the full course is followed.
  • A medication that turns the urine orange, to soothe the symptoms, may be prescribed.
  • Drinking plenty of fluids such as water to dilute and flush out the bacteria.
  • Avoiding irritating drinks such as coffee, alcohol or citrus drinks until the infection has been cleared.

Approximately one in five women experiences a second UTI after her first. Three or more infections in a year can be classified as chronic UTI. When multiple infections are experienced, it is important to follow up with your primary care physician to find a treatment plan such as taking a low dose antibiotic over a longer period of time or antibiotics after intercourse.
Dr. Tomezsko recommends the following tips to try and prevent another UTI:

  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Limit your baths or choose showers.
  • Wipe from front to back.
  • Stay away from scented feminine products.
  • Urinate and clean well after intercourse.
  • Avoid trapping moisture by wearing cotton underwear or loose-fitted clothing.

What tips have you found to be helpful in avoiding a urinary tract infection?