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What to do When You Have a UTI in Rome

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are really common, but have you ever had to deal with one in Rome, Italy? It's one thing to manage common illnesses and infections at home but when you’re abroad, the simplest of tasks can become more complicated especially if you need an English-speaking doctor. Although many processes may be difficult or time-consuming in Italy, we’re going to simplify the steps you need to take to get treatment for a UTI in Rome.

Symptoms of a UTI

One of the first things you may ask is how you can identify a UTI. If you have had one before, you probably know exactly how it feels and the best ways to resolve the issue. If it’s your first UTI, some of the most common symptoms you might be experiencing include:

  • A persistent and strong urge to urinate

  • Burning during urination

  • Frequent urination with little urine production

  • Cloudy urine

  • Discolored urine (red, bright pink or dark soda-colored) or blood in the urine

  • Strong-smelling urine

  • In women, pain in the pelvis

You may be experiencing different symptoms based on where in your urinary tract the infection has struck.

For a kidney infection (pyelonephritis), you may have:

  • Back or side pain

  • Fever

  • Shaking and chills

  • Nausea and/or vomiting

A bladder infection (cystitis) could present:

  • Pressure in the pelvis

  • Discomfort in the lower abdomen

  • Frequent and/or painful urination

  • Blood in urine

A urethral infection (urethritis) may present:

  • Painful urination

  • Urethral discharge

Symptoms may also vary according to age.

In children, you may see:

  • Fever or high temperature around their neck, back or abdomen

  • General unwellness: irritation in babies and small children and improper feeding

  • Bedwetting or incontinence

In elders, symptoms could also include:

  • Behavioral changes like agitation or confusion (delirium)

  • New or worsened urinary incontinence

  • New rigors (chills/shaking)

UTI Diagnosis

To diagnose UTIs, you should speak with your doctor about your symptoms. They will likely prescribe urine tests and possibly an ultrasound or urologist consultation, if necessary. Once they have the results of the test, they can confirm the diagnosis and give you a prescription or update the one they may have already given you. If you need an ultrasound or more specialized visit, they will refer to further diagnostics to confirm the condition.

UTI Causes

Many things can cause these infections and, although they more often affect women, men are not immune to UTIs. One of the most common causes is bacteria from the anus entering the urethra. Because women’s urethras are shorter than men’s, bacteria can more easily enter and spread in the female urinary tract. Another common factor may be sexual activity, especially if you often change partners. Other conditions that may put you at risk for a UTI include recent urinary procedures, catheter use, kidney stones or other urinary tract blockages, certain medications and forms of birth control, or a weakened immune system.

How to avoid a UTI

It’s never fun to have a UTI. Once you’ve gotten over it, here are a few simple things you can do to protect your urinary tract:

  • Drink lots of water! – Yes, we know everyone says this all the time, but drinking water can help flush out any lingering bacteria.

  • Wipe from front to back – This will ensure that bacteria from the anus does not enter your urethra or vagina.

  • Avoid sprays and scented soaps – Do not use heavy perfumes or scented soaps around your genitals, as this could irritate your urethra and the skin nearby

  • Cleanse your genitals before and after sexual activity – Washing with water before and urinating/washing after sex can ensure that no bacteria has the chance to enter your urethra.

  • Wear underwear that fits properly – Wearing cotton or natural fiber underwear that is not too tight or restrictive allows air to flow freely to and from your genital area and keep it dry.

  • Urinate when you feel the need – This one seems obvious, but avoid holding your urine for long periods of time when you can help it.

  • Speak to your doctor! – Talk to your doctor about managing and treating your infection, and discuss which medicines you’re taking (including birth control) or any creams