So you think that you have a UTI. Smelly, cloudy urine. Going potty every 15 minutes. Bladder pain. You need help.
But where should you go? Who should you call? Which doctor is best for UTI treatments?
Time is of the essence. UTIs hurt and you shouldn’t have to suffer. However, if you choose poorly, then relief may be delayed. Wrong antibiotics or a misdiagnosis can occur.
At VirtuCare we believe in getting people the expert care they deserve. Allow us to guide you through your choices as you decide which doctor to see for your UTI.
Remember that old bottle of antibiotics in your medicine cabinet? You could pop one of those and start your road to recovery ASAP. Is this the best choice?
Listen we understand your frustration with the healthcare system. You wait on phone lines for rude staff members, then no one can get a hold of the doctor and finally he/she won’t prescribe anything unless you come in for an appointment. As if a UTI weren’t fun enough.
Self-treatment sounds like a pretty reasonable option given this alternative
If you truly don’t have access to a healthcare provider (which we’ll show isn’t the case anymore) then starting antibiotics at home is not the worst decision. Make sure you follow the previous instructions on the bottle. Complete the entire course of pills.
Most bladder infections will completely resolve with a 3 day course of antibiotics (except nitrofurantoin or Macrobid which requires a 7 day course). Check out our previous post on how quickly your UTI should go away. If you’re not improving then an in person visit is necessary.
Which doctor should I see for UTI grade: No Doctor
Level of Expertise: D
Conclusion: Only if desperate and you have experience with UTI treatments
Urgent Care Clinic or Emergency Room
You don’t have any antibiotics at home. Neither does your best friend. Your pee hole is up in flames. What should you do?
You decide the best doctor to see for your UTI is the doctor who can see you the fastest. You head to the closest urgent care or emergency room. But which one?
Remember that an urgent care is like a primary care walk-in clinic. They are best for non-emergencies. ERs, especially during COVID-19, should be avoided unless you are REALLY sick and have no other choice for your UTI.
First, you should realize that urgent care clinics are not always staffed with doctors. You may see an advanced practice provider (APP) such as a nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant. Now this shouldn’t scare you per se but if you are expecting “a doctor” then you may be disappointed.
Many APPs are well trained, highly capable and frankly easier to deal with compared to some of my egotistical, burnt out physician colleagues. Additionally most UTIs don’t require 13 years of schooling to figure out which antibiotic to choose.
The primary downsides to urgent care clinics are:
- No continuity of care. If you don’t get better, then you start over with another provider.
- You may see an inexperienced provider who places you on inappropriate antibiotics.
Which doctor should I see for UTI grade: Urgent Care
Level of Expertise: C
Conclusion: If you don’t have insurance, a regular doctor or you’re traveling out-of-town, then an urgent care may be your only choice.
Primary Care Provider
Everyone should have a trusted primary care provider (PCPs) leading their healthcare team. PCPs undergo various levels of training so you may want to determine the following before making a choice:
- Doctor vs. advanced practice provider (APP)
- MD vs. DO degree
- Internal medicine vs. family practice residency program
Reviewing the differences between these different titles is beyond the scope of this post. Frankly kindness and competence should guide your choice in a PCP much more than credentials. I know some mean, incompetent Ivy League doctors and absolutely brilliant, compassionate nurse practitioners from small programs you’ve never heard of before.
Once you’ve selected a PCP that you trust, you should be in more than capable hands for your UTI. Assuming you have a simple bladder infection then you should receive appropriate antibiotics.
“Should” receive is different from “will” receive the correct treatment. Unfortunately I’ve seen PCPs undertreat patients with the wrong antibiotic (infection comes back). I’ve also seen PCPs misdiagnose bladder cancer as a UTI. That’s not good.
Further issues arise if you have a more complicated situation. Management and diagnosis of kidney infections, recurrent UTIs and male UTIs are where I’ve seen some PCPs struggle.
Honestly the biggest downside to PCPs is access. Primary care providers are overworked, underpaid and their offices are at times overwhelmed. Your phone call may be lost in the shuffle of requests for more pain medication, referrals to cardiology and a question about a “bump” that has been on Edna’s face for 10 months.
You may have a wonderful PCP but getting access to them can be more difficult than a sit-down with the pope.
Which doctor should I see for UTI grade: Primary Care
Level of Expertise: B
Conclusion: A trusted PCP who knows your medical history is the most valuable member of your healthcare team. They are a good doctor to see for your UTI. Just be aware that their knowledge of UTIs might deviate from standards of care and access to them may be a challenge.
Women start seeing their lady business doctors as teenagers. In fact many women use their OB/GYN as their PCP. I mean if they know your private area thoroughly, then they might as well get to know the rest of you.
An obstetrician/gynecologist is a specialist in the care of pregnant women and the female reproductive tract. Since they only see women and deal with problems “down there”, they will often evaluate and treat urinary tract issues (e.g. UTIs) out of necessity.
The training an OB/GYN receives in UTI management can vary greatly. As a result the care you will receive for your UTI may vary greatly. OB/GYN doctors like to personally manage their patients and are less likely to refer you to an expert if your UTIs get out of hand.
The good news is that you probably have better access to your OB/GYN than most other doctors. They are accustomed to being available for their pregnant patients. In a pinch they are happy to call you in some antibiotics.
Which doctor should I see for UTI grade: OB/GYN
Level of Expertise: B-
Conclusion: Your lady business is in good hands. But what about your bladder? Hard to say. If you’re frustrated with recurrent UTIs or not getting better you may need to find a UTI expert.
A urologist is a surgeon who specializes in the male genitourinary tract and female urinary tract. You want a urinary tract expert? Then a urologist is who you should see for UTIs.
Urologists receive extensive training in the management of simple and complex urinary tract infections. Whether you have a bladder, kidney or prostate infection you’re in good hands. Tired of dealing with recurrent UTIs? They can help as well.
I bet you’re saying to yourself, “A urologist is the doctor I want to see for my UTI!”. Well . . . there may be a problem.
Currently there’s a shortage of 2000 urologists in the U.S. By the year 2025, there will be a shortage of 9000 urologists. 60% of U.S. counties don’t have a urologist and most are centered around major metropolitan areas.
In other words, good luck finding a urologist.
If you’ve found a urologist, then be prepared for some frustrations. Most urologists are booked out several weeks. Then their clinics are overbooked with patients. If you get more than 5 minutes with a urologist then consider yourself lucky.
Urologists are surgeons. Surgeons like operating. Operating makes money. Since proper UTI management requires time and rarely leads to surgeries, very few urologists are enthusiastic about seeing a lot of patients with UTIs.
The last thing you need when seeing a doctor for UTIs is a jerk who spends no time with you.
Which doctor should I see for UTI grade: Urologist
Level of Expertise: A
Conclusion: Best of luck finding a kind urologist who spends time with you for an in person visit. If you find such a unicorn then be sure to tell them “thank you.”
So what’s a girl supposed to do when deciding which doctor to see for a UTI? Some doctors are accessible but may not be practicing the standard of care. Some doctors are experts but are frustrating to work with. And some providers aren’t doctors.
Your solution? A telemedicine visit with a board-certified urologist from the comfort of your home. Access AND expertise. You shouldn’t have to compromise.
At VirtuCare we believe in compassionate, expert care. You should not have to battle our healthcare system to receive proper UTI treatment. Your privates are burning and you need help now.
Within a few minutes you can schedule a visit with one of our experts. They will listen to your symptoms, order any necessary tests and send antibiotics to your pharmacist if you need them. If our expert thinks you need an in person evaluation then we will help you find a kind colleague of ours.
Doesn’t that sound better than the alternatives? We think so.
Which doctor should I see for UTI grade: VirtuCare Urologist
Level of Expertise: A
Conclusion: Finally, access and expertise. VirtuCare is your new UTI solution.