When to See Your Doctor for a Urinary Tract Infection (podcast)

Scripps OB-GYN explains UTI causes, symptoms and treatments

Dr. Raizada discusses urinary tract infections in San Diego Health podcast.

Dr. Varuna Raizada, OB-GYN, Scripps Clinic

Scripps OB-GYN explains UTI causes, symptoms and treatments

Pain or a burning sensation when you go to the bathroom and feeling like you need to urinate more than normal are all signs of a urinary tract infection, or UTI.

Millions of women will have a UTI in their lifetime. About 20 percent experience recurring infections. Most UTIs can be cured with antibiotics but they can become dangerous if left untreated.


In this episode of San Diego Health, host Susan Taylor and guest, Varuna Raizada, MD, an OB-GYN and urogynecologist at Scripps Clinic Anderson Medical Pavilion in La Jolla and Scripps Clinic Rancho Bernardo, discuss what causes UTIs, whose most at risk, and treatment options.

Dr. Raizada, who specializes in female urinary and reproductive treatment, also outlines what steps women can take to prevent UTIs.

Listen to the episode on signs, causes and treatments for UTI

Listen to the episode on signs, causes and treatments for UTI

What is a urinary tract infection (UTI)? (0:56)

A urinary tract infection is a condition where you have an infection anywhere along the bladder or even up into the kidneys. Everything just has a broad umbrella term called urinary tract infection. For some people, that may just be a bladder infection. For some people, it may be that the bladder infection has spread into the kidneys and is then causing a more serious infection known as pyelonephritis.

How common are UTIs? (1:27)

I think on average recurrent bladder infection or any kind of bladder infection may happen to 20% of women.

Who is most at risk for UTI? (1:36)

We find that women tend to have bladder infections more often than men, and we find that women in their postmenopausal years, that means once their menstruation has stopped, tend to be more at risk of developing these infections.

Can children get a UTI? (1:53)

Yes, they can and that could mean a serious problem, and they should see a pediatrician or a pediatric urologist almost immediately.

What causes a UTI? (2:05)

The majority of the time, it happens because there is some kind of a disruption in your body’s natural ability to fight against the bladder infection.

It may be that in older women, there’s an imbalance in the good and bad bacteria in the vaginal area due to lack of normal female hormones known as estrogen. This makes you more predisposed to bladder infection.

Any kind of “trauma” like a sexual act may actually cause the bladder infection and cause symptoms of a bladder infection.

What are the symptoms of a UTI? (2:42)

The most common symptom of a UTI or a bladder infection is burning with urination. That is the hallmark, sudden onset of burning with urination, which then begins to evolve into needing to use the restroom every 15 minutes.

If left unchecked, you may even notice some blood in urine.

How do you treat a urinary tract infection? (3:04)

The best way to treat a bladder infection is to get a proper diagnosis. There are certain conditions which behave like a bladder infection but may not be one.

Make sure you call your primary care doctor, who will easily be able to put in an order for you in the lab. You go to the lab, you leave a urine sample, and then they’ll be able to call in a course of antibiotic for you.

Can you be hospitalized for a UTI? (3:47)

Sometimes, it’s possible to be hospitalized, especially when the bladder infection moves up into the kidneys and you are very, very sick, with high fevers and blood in urine. Those could all be signs of very serious infections, which sometimes may lead to hospital admission and intravenous antibiotics.

If given antibiotics, how long does that treatment last? (4:18)

The majority of the treatments last somewhere between three to seven days. Sometimes, we may have to extend those treatments a little longer.

Can a UTI return after treatment? (4:33)

Absolutely. Sometimes, we do find that infections come back, especially within three to six months of getting the primary bladder infection.

What steps can you take to prevent a UTI? (4:47)

Some simple things that are available over the counter would be vitamin C supplements, cranberry extract pills. Just even taking some probiotic supplements may be very helpful. If you are in your postmenopausal years, using a little bit of estrogen cream in the vaginal area can be very, very effective.

When should you see a doctor for a UTI symptom? (5:13)

I would say wait for maybe 24 hours or so because sometimes it just may be a bladder irritability that can happen with drinking large amounts of coffee or alcohol.

If you find that the symptoms continue to become worse over the 24 hour period, that would be a good time to call your doctor or just go to urgent care.

If a UTI is left untreated, what can happen? (5:36)

Bladder infections sometimes can move up into the kidneys. That’s a very dangerous situation.

Sometimes the body will try to fight the bladder infections often and may only partially treat it, and not completely eradicate it, which leads to a lot of inflammation in the bladder. You may have persistent symptoms and inflammation even if there is actually no detectable infection. And that’s called a post-infection bladder inflammation or cystitis.


If you are experiencing symptoms of a bladder infection, such as burning with urination, needing to urinate every 15 to 20 minutes, blood in urine, or fever, don’t ignore it. Make sure you let your primary care doctor know or even your OB-GYN. And if it is after hours, you’ve got urgent cares that are open 24 hours that can help you with your bladder infections and treating them appropriately.

Watch the video on causes and treatments for UTIs

Watch the San Diego Health video with host Susan Taylor and Dr. Raizada discussing causes, symptoms and treatments for UTIs.

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