If it burns when you pee and you have pelvic pain, it’s time to call the doctor about the possibility of a urinary tract infection.
A number of things cause this bacterial infection and prompt medical attention, usually a urinalysis and a course of antibiotics, can stop the minor irritation from leading to kidney or other serious problems, said Dr. Amanda Von Hoene of St. Elizabeth Healthcare. Urgent care and express care labs are a good option for simple and reliable tests for such an infection.
They are more common for women because it is a short distance for bacteria to travel from the anus to the urethra.
Symptoms also include:
- Peeing often but only small amounts
- Cloudy or blood-tinged pee (it may be red or pink)
- A strong odor to the pee
If the change is minor, like feeling an urgency to use the bathroom, just keep track of it for a day, Von Hoene advised. Drink water and, yes, cranberry juice, but if things don’t improve, it’s best to call.
If you are pregnant, make the call to your obstetrician because changes in the body can be confused with the symptoms. Pressure and changes in routine can start in the first trimester, Von Hoene said. “You think it would be in the third trimester when the baby is kicking your bladder but not always,” she said.
Along with all the other “perks” of menopause comes the increased chance of urinary tract infections as the estrogen decreases in the vagina, said Von Hoene. If they recur, there are treatment options including estrogen cream.
Asked about the time-honored practice of “hovering” to avoid the bacteria on the seats of public toilets, the doctor laughed. After a moment, she only would say she knew of “no medical studies” on the effectiveness of hovering or a suggested distance of said hover.
Real steps that women can take to avoid a urinary tract infection include:
- wipe front to back
- wash with regular soap, not perfumed soaps which can increase irritation
- use baby powder no higher than the folds of the leg
- urinate after intercourse
- wear cotton underwear
- change pads worn for menses or incontinence frequently shower after exercise and change sweaty underwear as soon as possible.