If you are a woman, chances are you’ve had a UTI yourself. Millions of women every year get these infections (which are relatively rare in men). But even if you’ve been there before, a new UTI can leave you wondering, “How did I get this?” and “Should I go to the doctor now or wait it out?”
Nick Bird, MD, is a Duke Urgent Care provider. About the “waiting it out” question, he says, “Antibiotics have only been around since the 1940s. What did women do before then? The infection may or may not progress to a more serious infection.” Then Bird adds a compelling reason to see your doctor right away: “A day or two after you start taking antibiotics, the pain goes away,” he says. “Plus, you reduce the risk of kidney infection.”
The pain of a UTI is hard to ignore. In addition to the discomfort when urinating, UTIs can also cause strong urges to go—without much success when you actually try. Another common symptom is cloudy or strong-smelling urine.