So how does it start? You wake up one morning and you go to the restroom. Your stomach is a little uneasy, but you notice something is definitely wrong when you sit down to pee. Maybe it’s burning or a strong smell, but you know that your body is sending a cry for help. So what do you do?
The first thing to determine is whether what you have is in fact a UTI. The most commonly reported symptoms are frequency and urgency of urination, burning with urination, and change in urinary status.
If you are experiencing one or all of these symptoms, call your health care provider. If you are established in our office, you can call us to discuss. Typically, our next step will be to send an order for a urine culture to your nearest LabCorp or Quest Diagnostics (as determined by your insurance).
Once received, the order will allow you to leave a urine specimen at the location. If we sent the order, the results will come directly back to us after the specimen has cultured. If another provider sent the order, they will get the results. If you would like us to have a copy of the results, as well, please contact the ordering provider.
If your primary care physician is the provider who treats for your UTIs, please continue to seek their assistance with infections. Likewise, if our practice manages your UTIs, please call us to get an order sent to the lab. If you have several providers working on the UTI issue at different times, the process will take longer, and we won’t be able to help you as effectively.
In some cases, patients will have had similar — or even identical — symptoms in the past. Unfortunately, however, we have to send a specimen for culture prior to prescribing any antibiotics simply because we won’t know what bacteria to prescribe against until we get the results back.
The antibiotic you were prescribed for a previous infection might have worked wonders for the bacteria that caused the irritation last time, but we cannot prescribe that same antibiotic again without taking a culture again. We don’t want to risk over-prescribing antibiotics.
Additionally, similar symptoms to a previous UTI do not guarantee that your current condition is a UTI. Sometimes other issues can cause UTI-like symptoms, but treatment for those other issues can range dramatically. If you are struggling with recurrent UTIs, we also want to make sure that we treat the underlying issue.
The antibiotic you were prescribed for a previous infection might have worked wonders for the bacteria that caused the irritation last time, but we cannot prescribe that same antibiotic again without taking a culture again.
Now a word of advice: once you leave a urine specimen at the lab, results will take 48-72 hours to come in. The lab will send us the results as soon as they have them, but we will not know the bacteria’s exact sensitivities until the urine has cultured. In the meantime, you can take AZO Standard.
AZO Standard is a temporary over-the-counter solution to the pain and irritation caused by a UTI. But be mindful that if you do have an infection, AZO Standard will turn your pee bright orange and will stain any clothing it touches. Consider wearing a light pad to save your underwear from staining.
The benefit of AZO Standard is to relieve the burning and pain caused by infection while we wait for the results to arrive. However, you will not want to take AZO Standard over the long-term because you would simply mask symptoms of a larger problem. However, you can start taking AZO Standard when you notice the symptoms and continue taking it when you leave the specimen for culture.
Once we have determined the type of bacteria and have prescribed an antibiotic for the infection, we will send you what is called a “Test of Cure.” The Test of Cure is an order for urine culture that you will take to your lab of choice two weeks after you finish your antibiotics.
The Test of Cure is especially important for our patients who suffer with chronic UTIs, because we want to be sure that one infection has been treated before running a culture for what appears to be a new one.
So now you’ve discovered the infection, gotten culture results, finished your antibiotics, and gotten back a clean bill of health on your Test of Cure. How do you stay healthy and avoid another round of UTI trouble?
You’ll need to come into the office. Our treatments can vary, but the doctor can give you the best advice for you at an office visit. Please call our office for an appointment. The doctor will discuss vaginal and bladder health, as well as some of our methods for preventing UTIs in the future.
We hope this has been helpful! And until next time, be well and stay healthy!