If you’re on the unlucky side of the urinary tract infection (UTI) group, you may be all too familiar with this common condition. Fully half of all women will experience a UTI at some point in their lives. For many of those affected, UTIs can recur often. Though most of these are simple and easy to deal with, UTIs can sometimes develop serious and even life-threatening complications.
Dr. Farah Khan of Millennium Park Medical Associates urges you to contact the office if you’re exhibiting UTI symptoms, no matter how minor. Chances are that your infection is indeed minor, easily treated with medications, but if you dodge one significant complication in your lifetime, your diligence pays off. Here are some of the reasons why you should never procrastinate when it comes to treating a UTI.
The symptoms of UTIs
Since infection can potentially hit any point along your urinary tract, sometimes symptoms vary widely. Your lower urinary tract is most commonly subject to infection, typically in the urethra and bladder. More serious infections hit the ureters, the tubes between bladder and kidneys, or the kidneys themselves.
Occasionally, UTIs present no symptoms, or they could be mistaken for other conditions. When you experience symptoms, these could include:
- Persistent and strong urges to urinate
- Producing small amounts of urine in response to strong urges
- Cloudy urine
- Burning sensations during urination
- Pink, red, or brown urine, indicating the presence of blood
- Urine has a strong odor
- Pain in the center of the pelvis and at the pubic bone
Complications of UTIs
Treating UTIs promptly means that your chances of complications are small. However, avoiding treatments or depending on home care could lead to other problems ranging from annoying to serious. Some of these complications include:
More frequent infections
Your body could become more “used to” having UTIs. Women who have four or more infections in a 12-month period tend to be more susceptible to UTIs in general. Recurrent UTIs are typically caused by the same infecting agent.
Risks to the fetus
If you’re pregnant, an untreated UTI could present significant challenges for your unborn baby. Principal among these are an increased risk of premature birth, or of the baby having a low birth weight when carried to term.
Permanent kidney damage
Untreated infections can travel from the lower urinary tract into the kidneys causing both acute and chronic infections. Either of these could be severe enough to cause pyelonephritis, a serious kidney infection that can damage one or both of your kidneys, as well as spreading through your bloodstream to other organs.
When an infection does spread from your kidneys throughout your body, it can cause sepsis, a life-threatening reaction by your body against the infection that could cause damage to many other organs and their systems. Septic shock is potentially fatal.
When you’ve had a few easily treated UTIs, it’s easy to think “no big deal” about the next one, and you’re probably right. However, you still need prompt treatment to assure it remains no big deal. Contact Millennium Park Medical Associates by phone or online to schedule your consultation as soon as you suspect a UTI.