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Urology/Urinary Tract Infection


I am a 14 year old female. I live in Maryland in the US. I have a UTI and I urinate every 5 minutes and I have had previous kidney/urinary track problems. I was wondering I I should try to hold in my pee as long as I can or keep going every few minutes.

Shelby, whether you have a UTI or not, it is not a good health practice to hold your urine too long.  In fact, ignoring the desire to urinate can predispose you to urinary tract infections.  Urinary tract infections (UTIs) in women are very common compared to men.  This is due to the relatively short length of the female urethra.  This results in the bladder being nearer the external environment.  The most likely sources of bacteria are from the rectum, colonization in the vagina, or introduction via sexual activity.  Frequent bathing, as opposed to showering, also allows bath water to reflux into the bladder.  This may also be an entry path for bacteria.  In addition, refluxed soap residues often will irritate the lining of the bladder and urethra (mucosa) causing symptoms.  Females can lessen the likelihood of infection by not ignoring the desire to void,  by taking showers rather than baths and by always wiping from the urethra toward the rectum – NEVER the reverse!    

The typical symptoms of a UTI are frequency, burning, and urgency.  With more severe inflammation, blood may appear in the urine.  If bleeding occurs, you should seek consultation with a urologist once you are better to ensure that there are no other causes for the bleeding.  If the infection spreads from the bladder into the kidneys, the patient is much more ill and typically exhibits flank (kidney) pain, fever and chills.    If untreated, kidney infections may spread into the blood stream causing a life threatening disorder called septicemia.  This requires hospitalization, intravenous antibiotics and intensive care.

Most UTIs involve the lower urinary tract (urethra and/or bladder).  A tentative diagnosis is made by doing a urinalysis which typically demonstrates white blood cells (“pus cells”) and bacteria.  A positive dip stick test of the urine for nitrates or leukocyte esterase strongly suggests a UTI but culturing the urine for bacteria provides a definitive diagnosis.    Sensitivity studies are then done on the culture to determine which antibiotics will destroy the germ.  Most routine UTIs require 3-7 days of antibacterial therapy.  If the infections are frequent, long-term low dose daily or post-coital prophylactic antibacterial therapy may be needed.  In younger women, there is some evidence that cranberry products may prevent the recurrence of UTIs & taking this daily might be of some use in your case.   However, the dose is not standardized and they have not been successful in treating UTIs.   In the post-menopausal female, topical vaginal estrogen therapy may be of benefit.  Patients with recurrent UTIs (such as with you) should consult with a urologist to have their urinary system evaluated to try and find the reason for the frequent problems.  This usually involves imaging studies of the upper urinary tract, cystoscopic examination of the bladder and a measurement of residual urine (that urine still left in the bladder after urinating).    Good luck.


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Arthur Goldstein, M.D.


Problems or questions related to the field of urology; ie urinary stone disease, urinary cancers (kidney, bladder, prostate, testis, etc.), urinary infections, etc. I no longer answer questions related to erection problems or male sexual dysfunction.


I am retired from the active practice of urology. My 34 years was totally in the clinical field and involved the entire gamut of genitourinary problems, with special interest in endourology.

American Medical Association, American Urological Association, American College of Surgeons

College degree - BS Medical degree - MD Master of Science - MS

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