Cystoscopy allows a health care provider to view the lower urinary tract to look for problems, such as a bladder stone. Surgical tools can be passed through the cystoscope to treat certain urinary tract conditions.
Cystoscopy allows a health care provider to view the lower urinary tract to look for problems in the urethra and bladder. Surgical tools can be passed through the cystoscope to treat certain urinary tract conditions.
Tests and procedures used to diagnose urinary tract infections include:
- Analyzing a urine sample. Your health care provider may ask for a urine sample. The urine will be looked at in a lab to check for white blood cells, red blood cells or bacteria. You may be told to first wipe your genital area with an antiseptic pad and to collect the urine midstream. The process helps prevent the sample from being contaminated.
- Growing urinary tract bacteria in a lab. Lab analysis of the urine is sometimes followed by a urine culture. This test tells your provider what bacteria are causing the infection. It can let your provider know which medications will be most effective.
- Creating images of the urinary tract. Recurrent UTIs may be caused by a structural problem in the urinary tract. Your health care provider may order an ultrasound, a CT scan or MRI to look for this issue. A contrast dye may be used to highlight structures in your urinary tract.
- Using a scope to see inside the bladder. If you have recurrent UTIs, your health care provider may perform a cystoscopy. The test involves using a long, thin tube with a lens, called a cystoscope, to see inside the urethra and bladder. The cystoscope is inserted in the urethra and passed through to the bladder.
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Antibiotics usually are the first treatment for urinary tract infections. Your health and the type of bacteria found in your urine determine which medicine is used and how long you need to take it.
Medicines commonly used for simple UTIs include:
- Trimethoprim and sulfamethoxazole (Bactrim, Bactrim DS)
- Fosfomycin (Monurol)
- Nitrofurantoin (Macrodantin, Macrobid, Furadantin)
The group of antibiotics known as fluoroquinolones isn't commonly recommended for simple UTIs. These drugs include ciprofloxacin (Cipro), levofloxacin and others. The risks of these drugs generally outweigh the benefits for treating uncomplicated UTIs.
In cases of a complicated UTI or kidney infection, your health care provider might prescribe a fluoroquinolone medicine if there are no other treatment options.
Often, UTI symptoms clear up within a few days of starting treatment. But you may need to continue antibiotics for a week or more. Take all of the medicine as prescribed.
For an uncomplicated UTI that occurs when you're otherwise healthy, your health care provider may recommend a shorter course of treatment. That may mean taking an antibiotic for 1 to 3 days. Whether a short course of treatment is enough to treat your infection depends on your symptoms and medical history.
Your health care provider also may give you a pain reliever to take that can ease burning while urinating. But pain usually goes away soon after starting an antibiotic.
If you have frequent UTIs, your health care provider may recommend:
- Low-dose antibiotics. You might take them for six months or longer.
- Diagnosing and treating yourself when symptoms occur. You'll also be asked to stay in touch with your provider.
- Taking a single dose of antibiotic after sex if UTIs are related to sexual activity.
- Vaginal estrogen therapy if you've reached menopause.
For a severe UTI, you may need IV antibiotics in a hospital.
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Lifestyle and home remedies
Urinary tract infections can be painful, but you can take steps to ease discomfort until antibiotics treat the infection. Follow these tips:
- Drink plenty of water. Water helps to dilute your urine and flush out bacteria.
- Avoid drinks that may irritate your bladder. Avoid coffee, alcohol, and soft drinks containing citrus juices or caffeine until the infection has cleared. They can irritate your bladder and tend to increase the need to urinate.
- Use a heating pad. Apply a warm, but not hot, heating pad to your belly to help with bladder pressure or discomfort.
Many people drink cranberry juice to prevent UTIs. There's some indication that cranberry products, in either juice or tablet form, may have properties that fight an infection. Researchers continue to study the ability of cranberry juice to prevent UTIs, but results aren't final.
There's little harm in drinking cranberry juice if you feel it helps you prevent UTIs, but watch the calories. For most people, drinking cranberry juice is safe. However, some people report an upset stomach or diarrhea.
But don't drink cranberry juice if you're taking blood-thinning medication, such as warfarin (Jantovin).
Preparing for your appointment
Your primary care provider, nurse practitioner or other health care provider can treat most UTIs. If you have frequent UTIs or a chronic kidney infection, you may be referred to a health care provider who specializes in urinary disorders. This type of doctor is called a urologist. Or you may see a health care provider who specializes in kidney disorders. This type of doctor is called a nephrologist.
What you can do
To get ready for your appointment:
- Ask if there's anything you need to do in advance, such as collect a urine sample.
- Take note of your symptoms, even if you're not sure they're related to a UTI.
- Make a list of all the medicines, vitamins or other supplements that you take.
- Write down questions to ask your health care provider.
For a UTI, basic questions to ask your provider include:
- What's the most likely cause of my symptoms?
- Are there any other possible causes?
- Do I need any tests to confirm the diagnosis?
- What factors do you think may have contributed to my UTI?
- What treatment approach do you recommend?
- If the first treatment doesn't work, what will you recommend next?
- Am I at risk of complications from this condition?
- What is the risk that this problem will come back?
- What steps can I take to lower the risk of the infection coming back?
- Should I see a specialist?
Don't hesitate to ask other questions as they occur to you during your appointment.
What to expect from your doctor
Your health care provider will likely ask you several questions, including:
- When did you first notice your symptoms?
- Have you ever been treated for a bladder or kidney infection?
- How severe is your discomfort?
- How often do you urinate?
- Are your symptoms relieved by urinating?
- Do you have low back pain?
- Have you had a fever?
- Have you noticed vaginal discharge or blood in your urine?
- Are you sexually active?
- Do you use contraception? What kind?
- Could you be pregnant?
- Are you being treated for any other medical conditions?
- Have you ever used a catheter?
By Mayo Clinic Staff
Sept. 14, 2022
UTIs can be found by analyzing a urine sample. The urine is examined under a microscope for bacteria or white blood cells, which are signs of infection. Your health care provider may also take a urine culture. This test examines urine to detect and identify bacteria and yeast, which may be causing a UTI.What confirms diagnosis of UTI? ›
Urinalysis. You will collect a urine sample in a special container at a doctor's office or at a lab. A health care professional will test the sample for bacteria and white blood cells, which the body produces to fight infection.What are 3 symptoms of a UTI? ›
- a need to pee more often than usual.
- pain or discomfort when peeing.
- sudden urges to pee.
- feeling as though you're unable to empty your bladder fully.
- pain low down in your tummy.
- urine that's cloudy, foul-smelling or contains blood.
- feeling generally unwell, achy and tired.
The fastest way to feel better is by taking an antibiotic to kill the bacteria causing your infection. If going to see a provider in-person is not an option, there are telehealth services available that allow you to set up a virtual appointment.What is the most common treatment method for UTI? ›
Antibiotics usually are the first treatment for urinary tract infections. Your health and the type of bacteria found in your urine determine which medicine is used and how long you need to take it.What is treatment for UTI? ›
Taking antibiotics, prescribed by a healthcare professional, at home can treat most UTIs. However, some cases may require treatment in a hospital.What is the main cause of a UTI? ›
Bacteria are the most common cause of UTIs, although fungi rarely can also infect the urinary tract. E. coli bacteria, which live in the bowel, cause most UTIs. The female anatomy contributes to women's increased likelihood of contracting a UTI.Can your body fight a UTI without antibiotics? ›
While some UTIs may go away without antibiotic treatment, Dr. Pitis cautions against foregoing antibiotics. “While it's possible for the body to clear a mild infection on its own in some cases, it can be very risky not to treat a confirmed UTI with antibiotics,” says Dr.Can you get rid of a UTI without antibiotics? ›
Simple bladder infections may go away on their own in about a week — even without antibiotics.What are the biggest signs of a UTI? ›
- A strong urge to urinate that doesn't go away.
- A burning feeling when urinating.
- Urinating often, and passing small amounts of urine.
- Urine that looks cloudy.
- Urine that appears red, bright pink or cola-colored — signs of blood in the urine.
- Strong-smelling urine.
- Cloudy or bloody urine, which may have a foul or strong odor.
- Low grade fever in some people.
- Pain or burning with urination.
- Pressure or cramping in the lower abdomen or back.
- Strong need to urinate often, even right after the bladder has been emptied.
There are several early UTI warning signs that are quite easy to recognize. The most common UTI ailment is a feeling of a burning sensation when you start to urinate. Another common UTI symptom is having the urge to urinate more frequently, but only passing a small amount of urine at a time.What kills urine infection? ›
Antibiotics kill the bacteria causing the bladder infection. If you have a UTI, you usually need medication to get rid of the germ causing the infection. Experts recommend treating UTIs with antibiotics. If you have symptoms of a UTI, you may need to talk with a doctor.
The best things to drink when you have a UTI are water, electrolyte drinks that are low in sugar, and unsweetened cranberry juice. You should avoid drinks that can irritate your bladder when you have a UTI like caffeinated beverages, acidic drinks, and alcohol.How do you flush out a UTI before it gets bad? ›
Drink plenty of water
Most adults should aim to drink between six and eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day. The more you drink, the more you'll urinate, which can help flush harmful bacteria from the urinary tract.
“Yes, a UTI could go away on its own, but some infections are different than others,” he says. “And if left untreated, it may linger longer.” UTIs are classified into two main categories: uncomplicated, also known as cystitis; and complicated, which may be catheter-associated or happen during pregnancy.How does a doctor know if you have a UTI or kidney infection? ›
They can test the urine sample for the presence of substances such as bacteria, blood, or pus. Additionally, bacteria may be cultured from a urine sample. Your doctor may also order certain blood tests to check for systemic signs of infection.What feels like a UTI but isn't a UTI? ›
Interstitial Cystitis (IC) or Bladder Pain Syndrome (BPS) or IC/BPS is an issue of long-term bladder pain. It may feel like a bladder or urinary tract infection, but it's not. It is a feeling of discomfort and pressure in the bladder area that lasts for six weeks or more with no infection or other clear cause.How can you tell the difference between a UTI and a bladder infection? ›
Bladder infections are a type of UTI, but not all urinary tract infections are bladder infections. A UTI is defined as an infection in one or more places in the urinary tract—the ureters, kidneys, urethra, and/or bladder. A bladder infection is a UTI that's only located in the bladder.