Make an appointment with your family doctor or a general practitioner if you have signs and symptoms of a urinary tract infection. If your doctor suspects your infection has spread to your kidneys, you may be referred to a doctor who treats conditions that affect the urinary tract (urologist).
Because appointments can be brief and there's often a lot of ground to cover, it's a good idea to be well-prepared. Here's some information to help you get ready, and what to expect from your doctor.
What you can do
- Be aware of any pre-appointment restrictions. At the time you make the appointment, ask if there's anything you need to do in advance, such as restrict your diet.
- Write down any symptoms you're experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
- Make note of key personal information, including any major stresses or recent life changes, such as a new sexual partner.
- Make a list of all medications, vitamins and supplements that you're taking.
- Take a family member or friend along, if possible. It can be difficult to remember all the information provided during an appointment. Someone who accompanies you may remember something that you missed or forgot.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor. List your questions from most important to least important to make sure you cover the points you want to discuss with your doctor.
For kidney infection, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What is the likely cause of my kidney infection?
- What tests do I need?
- What treatment do you recommend?
- What are the potential side effects of treatment?
- Will I be admitted to the hospital?
- How will I know whether my kidney infection is cured?
- Do you recommend follow-up testing to determine whether the infection has been successfully treated?
- How can I prevent kidney infections in the future?
- Are there any restrictions that I need to follow?
- I have these other health conditions. How can I best manage them together?
- Is there a generic alternative to the medicine you're prescribing?
- Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take with me? What websites do you recommend?
- What will determine whether I should plan for a follow-up visit?
Don't hesitate to ask other questions during your appointment as they occur to you.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions, such as:
Aug. 16, 2014
- When did you first experience symptoms?
- Have your symptoms been continuous or occasional?
- How severe are your symptoms?
- What, if anything, seems to improve your symptoms?
- What, if anything, appears to worsen your symptoms?
- Pyelonephritis: Kidney infection. National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse. http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/kudiseases/pubs/pyelonephritis/. Accessed May 23, 2014.
- Urinary tract infections in adults. Urology Care Foundation. http://www.urologyhealth.org/urology/index.cfm?article=47. Accessed May 23, 2014.
- Wein AJ, et al. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 10th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2012. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed May 28, 2014.
- Urinary tract infections in adults. National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse. http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/KUDiseases/pubs/utiadult/index.aspx. Accessed May 23, 2014.
- Frequently asked questions. Gynecologic problems FAQ050. Urinary tract infections. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. http://www.acog.org/~/media/For%20Patients/faq050.pdf?dmc=1&ts=20140523T1534363926. Accessed May 23, 2014.
- Hooton TM, et al. Acute uncomplicated cystitis and pyelonephritis in women. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed July 1, 2014.