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Emergency Department Discharge Instructions

Urinary tract infection

Emergency Care Discharge Instructions

Instruction summary

A urinary tract infection happens when you have bacteria in your urine. This can cause a feeling of burning when you pee, and/or peeing more frequently than usual for you.

Women get urinary tract infections more often than men because the distance from the urethral opening (where the pee exits the body) to the bladder (where the pee is stored) is a shorter, so the bacteria have less distance to travel to get into the bladder. To prevent these infections, women should try to urinate after sexual intercourse and always wipe from front to back. Men who have an enlarged prostate are also susceptible to these infections because the enlarged prostate can make it difficult to fully empty the bladder after peeing; this creates a good environment for bacteria to grow.

If you were prescribed antibiotics, fill the prescription and start the medication as soon as possible. Make sure you take your whole course of antibiotics as directed (don’t stop early). It is a good idea to take the antibiotics to your regular pharmacy, as many of them can interact with other medicines you may be taking.

A medication that is rarely used anymore is called Pyridium, which treats pain. Be aware that it can cause orange stains: your urine may turn orange, and underwear and contact lenses can get permanent orange stains.

If your child has been diagnosed with a urinary tract infection, it is very important to see your pediatrician or family doctor for further tests in the week after the infection has been treated.

If you had blood in the urine with the infection, follow-up with your family doctor after the infection has been treated to get the urine retested for blood.

Reasons to return to the ER
  1. No improvement after two days of antibiotics (or you can see your family doctor if you can get an appointment within a day or two).
  2. If you have developed a fever (≥38.0 °C or 100.4 °F) or new back pain.
  3. Confusion or lethargy. Lethargy is an extreme form of tiredness when a person is only minimally responsive. An example of a lethargic child is a child who is lying still and does not make eye contact with you when you speak to them.