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Urinary tract infection in women - self-care

UTI - self-care; Cystitis - self-care; Bladder infection - self-care

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Description

Most urinary tract infections (UTIs) are caused by bacteria that enter the urethra and travel to the bladder.

What to Expect at Home

UTIs can lead to infection. Most often the infection occurs in the bladder itself. At times, the infection can spread to the kidneys.

Common symptoms include:

These symptoms should improve soon after you begin taking antibiotics.

If you are feeling ill, have a low-grade fever, or some pain in your lower back, these symptoms will take 1 to 2 days to improve, and up to 1 week to go away completely.

Taking Your Medicines

You will be given antibiotics to be taken by mouth at home.

Antibiotics may rarely cause side effects, such as nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, and other symptoms. Report these to your health care provide. Do not just stop taking the pills.

Make sure your provider knows if you could be pregnant before starting the antibiotics.

Your provider may also give you a drug to relieve the burning pain and urgent need to urinate.

Preventing Future Urinary Tract Infections

BATHING AND HYGIENE

To prevent future urinary tract infections, you should:

DIET

The following improvements to your diet may prevent future urinary tract infections:

RECURRING INFECTIONS

Some women have repeated bladder infections. Your provider may suggest that you:

Follow-up

See your health care provider after you finish taking antibiotics to make sure that the infection is gone.

If you do not improve or you are having problems with your treatment, talk to your provider sooner.

When to Call the Doctor

Call your provider right away if the following symptoms develop (these may be signs of a possible kidney infection.):

Also call if UTI symptoms come back shortly after you have been treated with antibiotics.

References

Fayssoux K. Bacterial infections of the urinary tract in women. In: Kellerman RD, Rakel DP, eds. Conn's Current Therapy 2021. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:1158-1160.

Gupta K, Hooton TM, Naber KG, et al. International clinical practice guidelines for the treatment of acute uncomplicated cystitis and pyelonephritis in women: A 2010 update by the Infectious Diseases Society of America and the European Society for Microbiology and Infectious Diseases. Clin Infect Dis. 2011;52(5):e103-e120. PMID: 21292654 pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21292654/.

Nicolle LE, Drekonja D. Approach to the patient with urinary tract infection. In Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 268.

Sobel JD, Brown P. Urinary tract infections. In: Bennett JE, Dolin R, Blaser MJ, eds. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 72. 

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Review Date: 4/14/2021  

Reviewed By: John D. Jacobson, MD, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Loma Linda University School of Medicine, Loma Linda, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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