Urinary Tract Infection Treatment in Charlotte, NC | AFC Urgent Care
AFC Urgent Care offers treatment for all UTIs, including kidney and bladder infections. Visit our clinic 7 days a week for walk-in UTI Testing & Treatment.
UTI Diagnosis & Treatment at AFC Urgent Care
When you visit AFC Urgent Care for UTI testing and treatment, your provider will talk with you about your symptoms, provide a physical exam and test your urine with a urinalysis or urine culture to understand what type of bacteria is causing the infection. This allows us to determine the best course of treatment for your UTI.
We typically prescribe antibiotics to kill the bacteria in your bladder or kidneys that are causing the infection. If you’re experiencing severe pain while urinating, we may prescribe additional medication for that symptom. However, this medication might temporarily change the color of your urine to orange.
It’s important to take all the medications as prescribed and finish the entire course of antibiotics, even if you start feeling better. Drinking plenty of fluids and following your provider’s instructions are also important. If your symptoms don’t go away or if you have any concerns, walk into AFC Urgent Care on Tyvola Road any time Monday-Friday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. or Saturday-Sunday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. with no appointment needed.
What is a urinary tract infection?
A UTI, or urinary tract infection, is a bacterial infection that affects any part of the urinary system, which includes the kidneys, bladder, ureters and urethra. The most common type of UTI is a lower urinary tract infection, typically a bladder infection.
Lower Tract Infections
A lower tract UTI affects the lower parts of the urinary system, the bladder and urethra. It occurs when bacteria, commonly Escherichia coli (E. coli), enter the urethra and migrate upwards to the bladder. Lower tract UTIs are more common in women due to their shorter urethra.
Upper Tract Infections
An upper tract UTI affects the kidneys and the ureters (tubes that connect the kidneys to the bladder). Unlike lower tract infections that primarily involve the bladder and urethra, upper tract UTIs are typically caused by an infection that has spread from the lower urinary tract to the upper urinary tract. This type of UTI is generally considered more serious than lower tract infections due to the potential for more severe symptoms and complications.
Common UTI Symptoms
Urinary tract infections can cause a variety of symptoms, some of which are common to both men and women, while others may be more specific to each gender. Here are some common UTI symptoms:
- Frequent urge to urinate
- Pain or discomfort while urinating
- Cloudy or strong-smelling urine
- Blood in the urine (hematuria)
- Pain or pressure in the lower abdomen
- Pain during sex
How do you get a UTI?
Urinary tract infections are more common in females than in males due to the shorter urethra in women, which allows bacteria to reach the bladder more easily. It’s expected that 40 to 60 percent of women will experience a UTI in their lifetime in the U.S., and 25 percent of affected women will have a repeat infection.
You can contract a UTI from various factors that affect both women and men. One of the most common ways is through sexual intercourse, as bacteria from the genital area can easily enter the urethra. However, UTIs can also be caused by poor hygiene, such as wiping from back to front after using the bathroom, which can introduce bacteria into the urinary tract. Additionally, holding in urine for too long or not fully emptying the bladder can also contribute to UTIs.
UTIs can affect anyone at any age, but there are certain risk factors that make some people more susceptible to contracting them. Some risk factors include:
- Not peeing after sex
- Urinary catheters
- Weakened immune systems
- Certain birth control
- Family History of UTIs
- Urinary reflux into the kidneys
- Poor hygiene & toilet habits
While it’s common to contract a UTI at least once in your lifetime, some people contract multiple UTIs. The following factors may contribute to your repeated UTIs:
In some cases, a person may be susceptible to reinfection by the same or different bacteria. The bacteria that cause UTIs can adhere to the lining of the urinary tract, and if not completely eradicated by treatment, they can multiply and cause another infection. If this is the case, it is crucial to diligently practice preventative habits to avoid reinfection.
If a UTI is not adequately treated or if a person stops taking antibiotics before completing the full course, some bacteria may survive and lead to a recurrence of the infection. It is crucial to complete the prescribed antibiotic treatment as directed by a healthcare professional.
Urinary Tract Abnormalities
Structural abnormalities in the urinary tract can make it more prone to recurrent infections. Examples include urinary tract obstructions, urinary stones, or vesicoureteral reflux (a condition where urine flows back from the bladder to the kidneys).
A weakened immune system can impair the body’s ability to fight off infections effectively, including UTIs. Conditions such as diabetes, HIV/AIDS, or certain medications that suppress the immune system can increase the risk of recurrent UTIs.
Fluctuations in hormone levels, particularly in women, can increase the susceptibility to UTIs. This is often seen in women experiencing hormonal changes during pregnancy, menopause, or while using certain forms of contraception.
Sexual intercourse can introduce bacteria into the urinary tract, increasing the risk of UTIs, particularly in women. Engaging in sexual activity frequently or using certain contraceptive methods may contribute to recurrent UTIs.
Poor personal hygiene practices, such as wiping from back to front after bowel movements, can introduce bacteria into the urethra, increasing the risk of UTIs.
Bladder Infection vs. Kidney Infection
A bladder infection and a kidney infection are both types of urinary tract infections (UTIs). However, they are located in different parts of the urinary tract and may have different symptoms.
- Frequent urge to urinate
- Burning sensation during urination
- Cloudy or bloody urine
- Lower abdominal pain
- Feeling of incomplete emptying of the bladder
- Previous UTI
- Sexual Activity
- Age (older adults & young children)
- Poor Hygiene
If left untreated, a bladder infection can potentially spread to the kidneys and cause a more serious infection.
- Symptoms of a bladder infection
- High fever
- Back pain (usually on one side)
- Nausea and vomiting
- Gender (more common in women)
- Weakened Immune System
- Urinary Catheters
- Urinary Tract Blockage
If left untreated, kidney infections can lead to severe kidney damage, bloodstream infections (sepsis) and potential long-term complications.
If you’ve experienced a UTI before, you know it’s not an experience you want to repeat. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to prevent future infections.
1. Hydration, Hydration, Hydration
Hydration is crucial, especially to prevent UTIs. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day promotes frequent urination, which helps flush out bacteria from the urinary tract. Adequate hydration is especially important during warmer months when you’re at higher risk of dehydration.
2. Proper Hygiene & Toilet Habits
It’s no secret that proper hygiene is essential for your overall well-being, but those habits also help you avoid UTIs. After swimming in pools, lakes and oceans, it’s important to change out of your wet bathing suit and shower promptly. This helps remove any bacteria that may have accumulated in the genital area. When you use the restroom, especially public restrooms or portable toilets, be sure to wipe from front to back after using the toilet to prevent bacteria from intruding into the urethra.
In terms of clothing choices, we recommend wearing loose-fitting and breathable garments made from natural fibers like cotton. This allows for better air circulation and reduces moisture buildup in the genital area, creating a less favorable environment for bacterial growth.
4. Pee after Sex
It is crucial to urinate after sexual activity to help prevent UTIs. During sexual intercourse, bacteria from the genital area can enter the urethra. If these bacteria reach the bladder, they can multiply and cause an infection. By urinating after sex, you flush out any potential bacteria that may have entered the urethra, reducing the risk of infection. Additionally, urine acts as a natural cleanser, helping to clear away any remaining bacteria.
5. Take Your Time & Completely Empty Your Bladder
Taking your time and fully emptying your bladder when you urinate is important for preventing UTIs. When you only partially empty your bladder, some urine may remain stagnant in the bladder, creating an environment where bacteria can thrive and multiply. By fully emptying your bladder, you reduce the chances of bacteria lingering and minimize the risk of infection. By taking the time to urinate slowly, the bladder is able to contract more effectively, leading to the complete release of urine.
6. Don’t Hold It!
Another crucial preventive measure is to empty your bladder regularly and avoid holding in urine for extended periods of time. Frequent urination helps flush out any bacteria that may have entered the urinary tract, reducing the risk of infection.