Dealing with a urinary tract infection (UTI) can be painful and uncomfortable. It’s even worse when you need quick relief and can't access immediate medical care. In these situations, you may feel over-the-counter treatment is your only option. If that time comes, being informed is essential. We'll answer your pressing questions about the symptoms and severity of a UTI before clearing the air and providing you with a clear path to getting immediate relief when you need it most.
How Do I Know If I Have A UTI?
The Mayo Clinic defines a UTI as “an infection of any part of the urinary system.” That system includes the urethra, bladder, ureters, and kidneys. If something feels off in those areas look out for these key symptoms, as noted by the Cleveland Clinic:
- Frequent urination
- Uncontrollable urge to urinate
Combinations of symptoms can vary from person to person, however, If you notice some of these symptoms you likely have an infection in your bladder. Noticing all, or even more severe symptoms like fever, chills, and nausea or vomiting can signal a kidney infection or sepsis.
How Did I Get A UTI?
Microorganisms- usually bacteria- cause UTIs by entering through your urethra and traveling up to your bladder. According to the Cleveland Clinic, E.Coli is the most common cause for 90% of bladder infections. There are several ways this bacteria can be introduced to your system:
- Age (older adults and young children are more likely to experience UTI)
Can I Get A UTI From Sexual Activity?
Yes, this can happen when bacteria from your partner’s mouth, genitals, anus, fingers, or sex toys get introduced to your urinary tract. Unlike STDs, UTIs cannot be transferred from person to person. However, sex is one way that bacteria can get introduced- which may lead to UTIs. Healthline explains the reason women are more likely to get UTIs from sex is based on anatomy. Women have a shorter urethra than men, which means there’s a shorter path for bacteria to get to the bladder. Additionally, the urethra is closer to the anus for women, which makes it easier for bacteria, such as E. Coli, to get into the urethra.
Can I Manage a UTI Without Going To The Doctor?
It depends. There are several ways to manage infections and reduce the risk of recurrence from home, but only one way to treat an infection from home:1) Drink plenty of fluids. The frequent urination caused by more fluids flushes the bacteria in the urinary tract.
The most important thing is that you take action. Waiting to treat a UTI can lead to further, more severe, health complications.
When Do I Need To Go See An In-Person Doctor?
Signs that it’s time to seek immediate in-person care:
These are all signs of a kidney infection. This is also known as a complicated UTI, which is an upper urinary tract infection (ureters/kidneys). eMed does not treat complicated UTIs, however, uncomplicated UTIs (affecting the urethra and bladder) are treated by our Telehealth Kits™.
While OTC UTI treatments can offer a convenient and accessible option for managing uncomplicated UTIs, it's crucial to be well-informed and mindful of your unique circumstances. Remember to listen to your body and seek treatment or medical guidance when necessary. With eMed’s telehealth visits and prescription medication, your discomfort is handled swiftly and discreetly. UTIs can be embarrassing, but you don’t have to suffer alone. Empower yourself to make informed decisions and prioritize your well-being– we’ve got you covered.