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Urinary Tract Infections in Teens and Adults

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When To Call a Doctor

Call your doctor immediately if painful urination or other symptoms of a urinary tract infection (UTI) occur with:

  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Fever and chills.
  • Pain in the flank, which is felt just below the rib cage and above the waist on one or both sides of the back, or lower belly pain.

Call your doctor immediately if you are pregnant and have symptoms of a UTI (listed above).

Call a doctor if you:

  • Have had UTI symptoms previously and have those symptoms again.
  • Have minor symptoms of a UTI that do not clear up in 1 to 2 days, such as pain or burning when you urinate, foul-smelling urine, or the urge to urinate frequently while passing only small amounts of urine.
  • Notice blood or pus in your urine.
  • Have symptoms of a UTI and you have diabetes.
  • Have been taking antibiotics for a UTI but your symptoms do not improve or they come back (recur) after improving temporarily.

Watchful waiting

Watchful waiting is a wait-and-see approach. If you get better on your own, you won't need treatment. If you get worse, you and your doctor will decide what to do next.

In adults, home treatment for minor urinary tract infections (UTIs) often resolves the problem. Home treatment includes drinking plenty of water and urinating often, emptying the bladder each time.

  • Try home treatment for 1 to 2 days if your symptoms are minor.
  • If your symptoms last longer than 1 to 2 days or are severe, seek medical help.

Watchful waiting is not appropriate if you:

Who to see

The following health professionals can treat urinary tract infections (UTIs):

To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Making the Most of Your Appointment.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: May 13, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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