Urinary tract & bladder infections

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) and bladder infections (also called cystitis) often leave you feeling like you need to go to the bathroom constantly. They are usually not serious but can become serious if left untreated. A Dragonfly Health provider can assess your symptoms and discuss treatment options to relieve your urinary tract or bladder infection.

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What to know before your visit

This service is not available to pregnant women or to males. This service is for females 2 years old and up. 

Patients with the following may be directed to another health care provider:

  • Severe vomiting
  • Have been treated for a kidney infection within the last 3 months

What to expect at your visit

  1. Greeted by one of our attentive patient coordinators.
  2. Sign in and fill out your intake form on one of our ipads.
  3. Your practitioner will review your medical history, discuss your symptoms, conduct an examination and provide a personalized treatment plan.
  4. Your practitioner may conduct needed testing, such as a urine dipstick. Please note that additional charges apply for these tests.
  5. The summary of your visit can be sent to your primary care provider with your permission.

What causes urinary tract and bladder infections?

Most urinary tract infections and bladder infections are caused by bacteria. The term UTI is actually a catch-all for infections that can occur in the urinary tract, including the:

  • Bladder
  • Kidneys (sometimes called pyelonephritis),
  • Ureters (2 tubes that take urine from the kidney to the bladder)
  • Urethra (the tube that empties urine from the bladder to outside of your body)

Most of the time, the infection starts in the bladder and then spreads to include other parts of the urinary tract. Besides bacteria, UTIs can less commonly be caused by viruses, fungi, and even parasites.
There are certain things that increase your risk of developing a urinary tract or bladder infection. Things that can make it easier for you to get a UTI include:

  • Bowel incontinence (trouble holding stool)
  • Diabetes
  • Enlarged prostate (men only)
  • Having a urinary catheter in place
  • Kidney stones
  • Menopause
  • Narrowed urethra
  • Pregnancy
  • Problems that make it hard to empty your bladder completely
  • Sexual activity
  • Surgery or procedure on the urinary tract

Women are more likely to get a UTI because of their anatomy. Women have a shorter urethra than men, thus bacteria can reach the bladder more easily.

What are the symptoms of urinary tract and bladder infections?

The major symptom of a UTI is a burning or painful sensation when you urinate. Other common symptoms include:
  • Cloudy, foul-smelling, and/or bloody urine
  • Pressure or cramping in your lower stomach or back
  • Strong need to urinate often (even right after you have gone to the bathroom)

If the infection spreads to your kidneys, you may experience:

  • Chills
  • Confusion
  • Fatigue
  • High fever
  • Nausea
  • Pain in your side, back, or groin
  • Severe stomach pain
  • Vomiting

Note that kidney infections are much more serious than bladder infections. If you have symptoms of a kidney infection, you need to be evaluated by a health care provider immediately.

How to treat urinary tract and bladder infections?

Certain symptoms are usually indicative of a UTI, but tests may be done to confirm infection and determine what kind of bacteria are causing the infection. In general, a urine test is all that is needed. A MinuteClinic provider can assess and provide next steps of care and treatment options if you have a UTI or bladder infection.

Treatment for a urinary tract or bladder infection is usually started immediately, even though the results of some urine tests can take a few days to come back. Treatment is started using common prescription antibiotics that treat most bacteria. If your urine test shows that you have a different bacteria or need different antibiotics, your MinuteClinic provider will contact you with a new prescription.

Most urinary tract and bladder infections are straightforward to diagnose and treat. Situations that can make UTIs more difficult to treat and may result in you being referred to a different health care setting include:

  • Male gender
  • Pregnancy
  • Recent kidney infection in the last 3 months
  • Severe vomiting

Prescription antibiotics are the primary treatment for urinary tract and bladder infections, but they take time to work. If you are having severe discomfort from your infection, talk to your MinuteClinic provider about medicines that can reduce pain and make you more comfortable while your infection clears up. Your MinuteClinic® provider can also give you tips for preventing a urinary tract or bladder infection in the future, such as:

  • Washing and keeping the genital area clean
  • Urinating after sexual activity
  • Emptying bladder as soon as you have the urge
  • Drinking plenty of fluids.