Urinary tract infections (UTI) can be painful and uncomfortable. They tend to affect women more than men and can become chronic over a period of years. Although it is not considered a serious condition, the sooner you get to the doctor, the sooner you’ll feel better. The symptoms are classic and easily diagnosed. UTIs are the second most common type of infection in the body reported to health care providers each year. Now there is a faster and more discreet way to get treatment.
Telemedicine helps you avoid sitting in a doctor’s office for hours while waiting for an appointment. Video doctor consultations can be set up in a matter of minutes, 24-hours a day, and seven days a week. You are able to do them from the privacy of your own home and even while traveling. The exam is a face-to-face consultation with a U.S. board certified physician licensed to practice in your state that uses your smartphone, tablet, or laptop. Search for a telemedicine service online with a plan that works best for your medical situation to get started.
Finding a telemedicine service is simple and the cost per visit is typically less than a traditional office appointment. Download a free app and register online by giving them a brief medical history, insurance information – the visit may be covered – and your current complaint. A step by step process follows to choose your video chat time and the doctor you wish to consult with. If you have selected to be seen as soon as possible, you may get your visit within 15 minutes. You will need a few things to prepare.
Just before your video chat, collect a urine sample in a clean and clear container for the doctor to visually inspect and then take your temperature. Make a list of all your symptoms, when they started, and a list of questions you may have. Keep your local pharmacy contact information handy in case you need a prescription. Rest assured that all the information you provide is subject to HIPAA laws regarding privacy and cryptography for data security compliance just like any office visit.
The doctor will go over your medical history and your symptoms, whether you’ve had a UTI before, and then visually examine your urine sample. You will likely be asked about an increased urge to urinate or a burning sensation when you do. UTIs are often confused with sexually transmitted diseases, kidney infections, bladder infections, and yeast infections or bacterial vaginosis. It is necessary for the physician to ask about any fever, nausea, pain, discharge, blood in the urine, and odor to be certain of the diagnosis.
If you have diabetes or a suppressed immune system, are under the age of 18 or over 65, there could be a more complex treatment or further urinalysis and cultures required in a physical office location or medical facility. However, in most cases, treatment can begin without the cost and inconvenience of these tests. They would only delay treatment because the type of antibiotic being prescribed would be the same regardless.
The doctor will explain your diagnosis and treatment plan right away and then answer any questions you may have. They may include prescription antibiotics or other medications deemed medically necessary. They are not obligated and are unable to prescribe medications considered to be controlled substances by your specific state’s laws. Over the counter (OTC) pain relievers may be recommended for any discomfort.
Prescriptions can be called in or electronically sent to the local pharmacy of your choice. If symptoms do not improve within three to five days, follow-up will include a regular doctor visit for further testing. Antibiotics can cause yeast infections in some women and may be another reason to request a follow-up. If you are prone to this, you may be prescribed a medicine for yeast infections as well as the UTI at the same time.
Telemedicine is not intended for emergency situations and you would be directed to dial 911 or to the nearest emergency room for care. Telemedicine is designed to work with your primary doctor to reduce the need to visit the office for common illnesses that are simple to treat and to alleviate the crowded waiting areas for those who are more seriously ill.
When it comes to UTIs, it is important to get an accurate diagnosis and start treatment as fast as possible to avoid further pain and discomfort. Remember, telemedicine works best for healthy women between the ages of 18 and 65 as well as those with recurring issues who are familiar with the symptoms and want a quick recovery. Who wants to commute and wait in a germ-filled room for a simple five-minute exam?
How Telemedicine Services Treat Urinary Tract Infections, 2016. http://www.urgentcare.com/news/telemedicine-services-can-treat-urinary-tract-infections/
Kern, C., 2016. Telemedicine Approved to Treat UTIs Via MDLive, http://www.healthitoutcomes.com/doc/telemedicine-approved-to-treat-utis-via-mdlive-0001
4 Things Women Need to Know About UTIs, https://welcome.mdlive.com/4-things-urinary-tract-infections/