3 Signs You Might Have a Urinary Tract Infection
Many of us lead hectic lives, and the stress of juggling work and home can weaken the immune system, leaving you vulnerable to various infections. For women, one of the most common infections that can be picked up is the Urinary Tract Infection (UTI). This bladder infection predominantly affects women due to the opening of the vagina being particularly close to the opening of the anus, which means that bacteria is able to move easily towards the opening of the bladder. Although most UTIs are harmless and will clear up quickly after treatment, a bladder infection can sometimes travel up the urinary tract to your kidneys and become an upper UTI if treatment is not forthcoming. Because of this, it's best to see your health practitioner if you suspect that you may have a UTI so that a diagnosis can be made and treatment can begin. Here are three signs that you may indicate a UTI.
Sign # 1: You frequently feel the need to urinate
Feeling the urge to urinate on an extremely frequent basis is one of the classic signs of a UTI, especially if you don't actually pass much or any urine when you try to urinate. You may also find it difficult to fully empty your bladder, which makes it feel as though you need to urinate again straight away - even though there won't usually be much or any more urine to be expelled at that moment. This can lead to an almost constant feeling of needing to urinate, which is highly uncomfortable even when you are not actually in the process of urinating (or trying to urinate).
Sign # 2: You experience a burning or stinging sensation when urinating
In addition to the discomfort of needing to urinate on a frequent or almost constant basis, it is also common to experience a burning or stinging sensation when you try to start the urination process. This is an extremely common symptom of a bladder infection, and you will often find that your urine feels warmer than normal too.
Sign # 3: Your urine looks dark or cloudy and has a strong smell
Cloudy or dark urine is usually a sign of infection, especially if it also has a foul smell. Some people may experience blood in their urine as part of a bladder infection, but this is more indicative of a severe bladder infection and you should seek medical advice to determine the cause(s).
What to Do if You Think You Have a Urinary Tract Infection
If you match these symptoms, make an appointment with your health practitioner to get an accurate diagnosis as they can also be indicative of chlamydia and other sexually transmitted infections. At your appointment, you'll be asked to provide a urine sample so that an initial 'dipstick' test can be conducted. This involves dipping a chemically treated test strip into the urine sample to see whether the test strip changes color. If this test is inconclusive (or if your health practitioner wants a more concrete diagnosis to be carried out), a second urine sample will be sent away for laboratory analysis to test the number of white blood cells. A high presence of white blood cells indicates an infection is present. A laboratory analysis will also be able to determine the type of bacteria that is behind the infection, which influences the type of antibiotic that will be used to treat the infection. Getting the right antibiotic will help to clear up the infection more quickly and reduce the possibility of it developing into a kidney infection.