Many people experience a urinary tract infection (UTI) at some point in their lifetime. This infection occurs when bacteria invade the urinary system from outside the body. UTIs can cause infection and inflammation. Doctors commonly prescribe antibiotics such as amoxicillin to treat urinary tract infections and help you feel better.
What is a urinary tract infection?
A urinary tract infection is an infection of the urinary system. Usually, urine travels through the body without germs, but when bacteria get into the urinary tract from outside the body, it causes inflammation and infection. If you have a UTI, you might experience symptoms like:
- Pain in the stomach or pelvic area
- Frequent need to urinate
- Painful urination
- Abnormal urine color
- Pain during sex
- Lower back pain
You may experience only one symptom or a combination of symptoms all at once. If you feel ill and suspect it might be a urinary tract infection, it is essential to speak with your doctor right away to determine the best treatment option.
Diagnosis for a urinary tract infection
A licensed healthcare professional can diagnose a UTI. You may need to undergo the following tests or procedures in order to receive a positive diagnosis:
- Urine sample: Your doctor may ask for a urine sample to examine white blood cells, red blood cells, or bacteria.
- Lab analysis: The doctor determines which bacteria are causing the infection and decides which medication will work the best.
- Computerized tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan: Your doctor may ask you to get one of these medical imaging techniques if you’re experiencing frequent UTIs.
- Cystoscopy: A medical procedure where a doctor inserts a tube with a lens to see inside your bladder.
Depending on the results of your tests or procedures, your healthcare provider will help you determine the best treatment option.
Treatments for a urinary tract infection
The type of treatment you are prescribed and the length of time you need to take medicine depends on your health history and the type of bacteria found in your urine.
Amoxicillin comes as a capsule, tablet, or liquid to be taken by mouth. The medicine is taken two or three times a day with or without food. If you have a UTI and are prescribed an antibiotic like amoxicillin, you should start feeling better within a few days. It is important to remember that even though your symptoms may start to subside within a few days, you should continue to take your medicine as prescribed by your doctor. The treatment length depends on your unique circumstances.
- Choosing NOT to use douche or feminine hygiene products containing perfumes
- Avoiding bath oils
- Taking showers instead of baths
- Keeping the genital area clean
- Drinking water after sexual activity
- Wiping front to back after using the bathroom
- Wearing clean cotton-cloth underwear and changing underwear daily
- Avoiding excessive amounts of alcohol and caffeine
After you have finished taking amoxicillin for your UTI, it is recommended that you schedule a follow-up visit with your doctor to ensure the infection is gone.
Possible complications and side effects
Some side effects of amoxicillin that are more serious and require immediate medical attention include:
Other medications or antibiotics may have different side effects. Consult your doctor about possible complications of any medications you might take to treat your urinary tract infection.
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Cleveland Clinic: "Urinary Tract Infections."
Mayo Clinic: "Urinary tract infection (UTI)."
National Health Service: "Amoxicillin."