You have a unique medical history. Therefore, it is essential to talk with your doctor about your personal risk factors and/or experience with urinary tract infections. By talking openly and regularly with your doctor, you can take an active role in your care.
General Tips for Gathering Information
Here are some tips that will make it easier for you to talk to your doctor:
Bring someone else with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said and think of questions to ask.Write your questions ahead of time, so you do not forget them.Write down the answers you get, and make sure you understand what you are hearing. Ask for clarification, if necessary.Do not be afraid to ask your questions or ask about where you can find more information about what you are discussing. You have a right to know.
Specific Questions to Ask Your Doctor
About Urinary Tract Infections Do my symptoms sound like a urinary tract infection?How might I have contracted this infection?Is there any chance that this is a more serious kidney infection?
About Your Risk of Developing Urinary Tract Infections Do I have any risk factors for urinary tract infections?I am a man. Might I have some underlying problem that caused me to develop a urinary tract infection?My child has a urinary tract infection. Might he or she have anatomical defects in the urinary system?
(In young children, anatomical defects are a common cause of UTIs in both genders. In older children, this changes with more girls having UTIs by virtue of being female.)
About Treatment Options What kind of treatment do you recommend?Are there any self-care treatments I can practice?What can I do to relieve my discomfort?How will I know if the infection is gone?
About Lifestyle Changes How much water do you recommend that I drink?Do you recommend cranberry juice? How much?I get a lot of infections just after I have sexual intercourse. What can I do to prevent this?Can I use my hot tub?
About Your Outlook How will I know if the infection is progressing or becoming complicated?What symptoms would warn me that the infection is moving up and affecting my kidneys?I am pregnant. Do I need to worry about any complications for the baby or me?What preventive measures for UTIs would you recommend in the future?Might I benefit from prophylactic antibiotics?
Tips for talking to your doctor. American Academy of Family Physicians Family Doctor website. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/healthcare-management/working-with-your-doctor/tips-for-talking-to-your-doctor.html. Updated May 2014. Accessed September 12, 2016.
Urinary tract infections in adults. American Urological Association Foundation website. Available at:
http://www.urologyhealth.org/urologic-conditions/urinary-tract-infections-in-adults. Accessed September 12, 2016.
Urinary tract infections in adults. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website. Available at:
http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/urologic-disease/urinary-tract-infections-in-adults/Pages/facts.aspx. Updated May 2012. Accessed September 12, 2016.
Last reviewed September 2016 by Adrienne Carmack, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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