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When to See a Doctor About a UTI

Urinary tract infections are very common and can usually be treated at home if diagnosed early. However, if left untreated, UTIs can cause serious complications such as fever, chills, and kidney problems.

Here at Physicians Medical Urgent Care in San Jose, California, Dr. Sveltlana Burkhead and Dr. Ines Munoz De Laborde recommend coming to our office as soon as you start noticing UTI symptoms. With immediate treatment, you can rest assured that your UTI won’t progress into a more serious infection. 

What are the signs I might have a UTI?

UTIs are caused by a bacterial infection in your urethra. For most people, symptoms include needing to urinate more frequently, cloudy or smelly urine, burning sensations when urinating, and pain in your abdomen. 

In some cases, the bacteria that cause UTIs can travel up the urinary tract towards the kidneys. If you have blood in your pee, pain in your sides or lower back, a very high fever, or diarrhea, it may be signs of a kidney infection, which requires immediate treatment. 

Women are more likely to develop UTIs because they naturally have a shorter urinary tract. Your risk of developing a UTI is also increased if you are sexually active, use spermicidal birth control, have a catheter, or have a suppressed immune system due to diabetes, HIV, kidney stones, or other diseases.   

What are the types of UTIs?

UTIs are generally classified based on where the infection is in your urinary tract.


Urethritis refers to infection in your urethra, which can lead to discharge and painful urination. However, these symptoms can also be caused by sexually transmitted diseases (STIs), such as gonorrhea and chlamydia, so it’s important to speak to our team for an accurate diagnosis. 


Sometimes, UTI-causing bacteria can travel up the urinary tract to the bladder causing cystitis.  Symptoms of cystitis include needing to urinate frequently, urinating small amounts, painful urination, bloody or cloudy urine, and abdominal pain. Because women have shorter urinary tracts, they are more likely to develop cystitis. 


Most of the time UTI bacteria are found lower in the urinary tract, causing infections in the urethra and bladder. However, if the bacteria travel up the urinary tract or are left untreated, you can develop pyelonephritis in your kidneys. 

Symptoms are usually more severe, such as fever, upset stomach, vomiting, pain in your lower back or sides, as well as other classic UTI symptoms, such as frequent or painful urination and cloudy urine. 

Pyelonephritis is a serious condition that requires immediate attention. If left untreated, it can cause kidney damage and blood poisoning (septicemia). While most UTIs don’t cause kidney infections, it’s important to get your UTI symptoms diagnosed and treated as soon as possible to prevent the risk of developing pyelonephritis. 

Can I treat my UTI at home? 

If diagnosed early, most UTIs can be treated at home with a course of antibiotics. However, it’s important to see our team at Physicians Medical Urgent Care as soon as you notice UTI symptoms because there are multiple types of bacteria that can cause UTIs.

During your UTI appointment, Dr. Sveltlana Burkhead or Dr. Ines Munoz De Laborde examines the urinary tract for signs of infection and takes a urine sample to identify the type of bacteria involved. Once the bacteria is identified, you are given an antibiotic course to treat that specific type of bacteria. 

Once you go home, follow your prescribed antibiotic regimen and drink lots of water. It’s very important to finish your entire course of antibiotics even if you start to feel better so that your infection is fully cleared. 

If you’re suffering from the pain, burning, and discomfort of a UTI, don’t wait until your infection gets worse. Speak to our team at Physicians Medical Urgent Care immediately by calling 888-265-2120 or booking an appointment online. 

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