Medical questions & health advice by licensed doctors
"What goes into a urinary tract infection evaluation?"
How will they evaluate me? What do they look for? Will they ask me to urinate?
The evaluation for a urinary tract infection (UTI) is fairly simple and straightforward and is a frequent problem addressed in the clinic. The evaluation begins with a simple clinical interview with the physician to discuss your symptoms. The most common symptoms of UTIs include pain or burning with urination, increased urinary frequency, change in urine odor or color, and lower abdominal pain.
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Occasionally, UTIs can be accompanied by fevers, chills or general fatigue, and in the elderly confusion is a common symptom. After the interview your doctor will perform a brief physical exam to assess for both signs of UTIs and also to look for signs of more serious infections such extension from the bladder or urethra to the kidneys. After the physical exam, (though occasionally this occurs before even seeing the doctor) the doctor will request a sample of urine to look for signs of infection such as bacteria, markers of inflammation, white and red blood cells. This test can come back in just 15 minutes. Occasionally, the doctor will also send the urine for a culture to try and grow out the specific bacteria if the urinalysis is abnormal. The culture allows the doctor not only to know the specific bacteria, but also what antibiotics it is sensitive to. This test is not necessary in the outpatient setting and may or may not be performed. Depending on the results of the test and the symptoms you have your doctor will frequently prescribe a short course of antibiotics. You should talk with your primary care physician who can best assess your symptoms and provide the best solutions. Good luck!
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