Talking to Your Doctor About Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
by Michael Jubinville, MPH
You have a unique medical history. Therefore, it is essential to talk with your doctor about your personal risk factors or experience with UTIs. By talking openly and regularly with your doctor, you can take an active role in your care.
General Tips for Gathering Information
To make it easier 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 don't forget them.
- Write down the answers you get. Make sure you understand what you are hearing. If you don't, tell the doctor. Ask for educational materials.
- Ask where you can find more information. You have a right to know.
Specific Questions to Ask Your Doctor
- Do my symptoms sound like a UTI?
- How might I have contracted this infection?
- Is there any chance that this is a more serious kidney infection?
About Your Risk of Developing UTIs
- Do I have any risk factors for UTIs?
- I'm a man. Might I have some underlying problem that caused me to develop a UTI?
- My child has a UTI. Might he or she have structural defects in the urinary system?
(In young children, these 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?
- I get a lot of infections just after sex. 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?
Getting the most out of your doctor appointment. Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: https://familydoctor.org/tips-for-talking-to-your-doctor. Updated January 19, 2018. Accessed September 20, 2018.
Uncomplicated urinary tract infection (UTI) (pyelonephritis and cystitis). EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116894/Uncomplicated-urinary-tract-infection-UTI-pyelonephritis-and-cystitis. Updated June 4, 2018. Accessed September 20, 2018.
Last reviewed September 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board
Adrienne Carmack, MD
Last Updated: 9/20/2018