Can You Use Telemedicine for UTI?
Call In the Expert.
Few things are as painful as a urinary tract infection (UTI). Unfortunately, 50% of women will have at least one UTI in their life. It’s important to know where you should go, or not go, when the burning, frequency and urgency of urination lights your lady business on fire.
Telemedicine offers a convenient option for UTI treatment. Rather than sit in an urgent care or ER (no thanks COVID-19), you can obtain relief from the comfort of your home. But which UTI telemedicine solution should you pick?
Mistreatment and misdiagnosis of a UTI can be a big problem. Inappropriate antibiotics can lead to yeast infections, medication side effects or a delay in symptom relief. You also wouldn’t want to misdiagnose something more serious like bladder cancer as a UTI.
Here’s where VirtuCare can help as your telemedicine UTI solution. By visiting with a board-certified urologist from the comfort of your home, you’ll receive expert care for your UTI. If there are any worrisome symptoms of something else going on, you can rest assured that your VirtuCare urologist will help you get the care you deserve.
Let’s review the potential pitfalls of picking any old doctor or provider for your UTI solution. This way you feel confident that using telemedicine for UTIs is the right choice for you.
What is a UTI?
First things first, let’s make sure we’re all on the same page when we’re talking about UTIs.
A urinary tract infection is inflammation of the urinary tract (kidney, bladder, prostate, or urethra) typically caused by a bacteria. UTI is a generic term which encompasses many different types of infections. Most commonly, a UTI is used to describe a bladder infection.
Here are the different types of UTIs:
Bladder infection (acute bacterial cystitis)
This is what most women think of when they say “I have a UTI”. A bacterial infection of the bladder characterized by any of the following symptoms:
- Burning with urination (dysuria)
- Urinary frequency and urgency
- Bladder or lower pelvic pain
- Low back pain
Bladder infections are often triggered by dehydration, sexual activity and hormone imbalances. Diagnosis can be made by history alone with the acute onset of several of the aforementioned symptoms. Most 3 day courses of antibiotics are enough to wipe out the little buggers.
Kidney infection (acute pyelonephritis)
If you have a kidney infection it is not subtle. When an internal organ is infected you are SICK.
This is the most commonly misdiagnosed UTI by non-urologists. Telemedicine for this UTI is well-suited since the diagnosis is 100% clinical. This means that you must have the following symptoms to be diagnosed with a kidney infection:
- Unilateral (one-sided) flank or upper back pain
- Nausea or vomiting
No fever. No kidney infection.
Lower back hurting on both sides but otherwise feel fine. No kidney infection.
Able to eat and drink without trouble. No kidney infection.
Assuming that you are able to keep fluids down and don’t have major medical issues (e.g. diabetes) then an at home treatment regimen may be reasonable for you.
Prostate infection (acute bacterial prostatitis)
A UTI in a man is prostate infection until proven otherwise. It is rare for men to only have a bladder infection.
Men should not get UTIs. Our anatomy protects against urinary tract infections so a UTI in a man should trigger an in-person visit with a urologist. Telemedicine for UTIs in men is not the best solution. Why?
First men with bacterial prostate infections can become quite sick, quite fast. Second, prostate infections may lead to difficulty emptying the bladder and require a catheter (ugh, no fun). Lastly, an evaluation with imaging and a cystoscopy (look in the bladder) will need to be performed to understand why the infection happened in the first place.
How will we know if you have a bacterial prostate infection on your consult via telemedicine for UTI?
- Fever with flu-like symptoms
- Difficulty passing urine
- Burning with urination
- Lower abdominal or pelvic pain (sign of a full bladder)
If you have no other option and it’s early enough in the disease course, then telemedicine for a urinary tract infection of the prostate can get you headed in the right direction.
Which medical conditions are misdiagnosed on a telemedicine visit for UTIs?
Here’s where you need the expert to help out. Most telemedicine solutions for UTIs are performed by primary care providers. The U.S. healthcare system places an unreasonable burden on these heroes.
Primary care providers are expected to see patients every 10-15 minutes and address ALL medical concerns. As a result, the only feasible solution when performing telemedicine for UTIs is to prescribe antibiotics and move on to the next patient. This isn’t always the best choice.
Here are a few of the medical conditions that are misdiagnosed as a UTI via telemedicine:
- Sexually transmitted infection (STI)
- Urethral inflammation from low estrogen levels in post-menopausal women
- Overactive bladder
- Kidney stones
- Bladder cancer
You might be saying to yourself, "Uhhhh . . . I may have anything from dehydration to bladder cancer and be misdiagnosed with a UTI??? No thanks!"
Before you abandon the idea of telemedicine for UTIs, consider a visit with an expert. Urologists have years of clinical experience teasing out the nuances of a UTI diagnosis. If we think you may have something else going on, then we can direct you towards a speedy alternative solution.
Not convinced yet about the safety of telemedicine for UTI? Let’s go through the top reasons to start with a VirtuCare telemedicine visit for UTIs with one of our experts.
Why you should consider VirtuCare telemedicine for UTI
Urologists are experts at diagnosing UTIs
Urologists are specialists of the female urinary tract and male genitourinary tract. Our entire training is focused on the urethra, bladder, prostate and kidneys. Therefore whether you have UTI or not, we got you covered.
Misdiagnosis even with an expert telemedicine visit for UTIs can occur. With telemedicine for UTIs, we don’t have the luxury of an immediate urine sample result to aid in a diagnosis. But no worries, we can order a urine sample at your local lab before you pick up antibiotics.
Ultimately if you don’t have a UTI, the key is to recognize the misdiagnosis and then solve the problem. Nothing is worse than getting three courses of antibiotics when you don’t have a UTI. Unfortunately when you skip the expert, this happens A LOT.
If we don’t think you have a UTI, or you don’t respond to typical treatment, then we can quickly pivot and guide you towards the correct solution.
Urologists are experts at treating UTIs
Choosing the correct antibiotic and length of treatment are critical to your recovery. As urologists we too often observe that patients are placed on the wrong antibiotic for the wrong amount of time by non-experts. This leads to yeast infections, bacterial resistance and repeat infections.
As the only expert telemedicine solution for UTIs, VirtuCare ensures you’ll receive the best course of initial antibiotics. Now there is some antibiotic guesswork involved if you want immediate treatment (urine cultures take 48-72 hours to result), but we can change course if you’re not improving.
And sometimes the best decision is to NOT prescribe antibiotics at all. As we discussed previously, sometimes it feels like you have a UTI, but there is something else causing your bladder irritation. Don’t worry, that’s why you deserve the expert.
Telemedicine for UTIs keeps you out of ERs and urgent care clinics
The last place you want to find yourself during another surge in the COVID-19 pandemic is in a waiting room with people coughing (especially if they don’t wear masks). Also, ER and urgent care visits can be quite expensive if you have a high deductible insurance plan. Communicable disease with a big bill. No thanks.
Instead, with telemedicine for UTI symptoms you’ll receive private, safe care from the comfort of your home. You can book same day appointments, receive antibiotics and actually have follow up with the same doctor if your situation doesn’t improve.
Telemedicine for UTIs avoids frustrating phone calls
Thinking you’ll call your primary care doctor for some antibiotics? Good luck.
Aren’t you tired of dealing with short staffed, overworked primary care offices with 9 different phone options every time you call? Good luck getting a human being to answer the phone. If they do it may be hours later while you’ve been urinating razor blades out your private area.
VirtuCare was created with a customer service focus. Everyone hates waiting on the phone to speak with a human being. Our UTI telemedicine solution allows for a same-day, secure audio/video visit with a urinary tract expert.
VirtuCare urologists are experts at preventing UTIs
The best therapy is prevention. Why not stop the burning before it even begins?
The mindset of most other providers who use telemedicine for UTIs is: get patient antibiotics and move on. In comparison, a VirtuCare urologist asks the following questions:
- How many UTIs have you had in the past year?
- What may be triggering the UTIs?
- Have previous urine cultures been ordered and what were the results?
- Do you have other urinary difficulties?
A VirtuCare urologist may also suggest imaging tests or additional labs to rule out any abnormalities of the urinary tract which are leading to recurrent infections. As urologists we can help order AND interpret the tests so you don’t have to find another doctor.
You can certainly continue putting band-aids on your inflamed bladder by taking antibiotic after antibiotic. Or you can choose a telemedicine solution that gets to the root of the problem and stops UTIs all together.
We’ve helped women like you by suggesting effective, natural supplements for UTI prevention. We can also help you find an experienced in-person urologic surgeon to fix any abnormalities of the urinary tract when necessary.
Telemedicine for UTIs - Closing Thoughts
With an impending doctor shortage in our country, access to someone who can help your UTI is only going to get worse. Don’t turn to self diagnosis and treatment. You deserve better.
VirtuCare provides a solution. Telemedicine for UTIs with an expert.
What about an in person urologist instead? Good luck finding one who can spend time with you. 60% of U.S. counties don’t have a urologist and by the year 2025 we will be short 9000 urologists in the U.S.
Most urologists are overworked, burned out and trying to see 60-80 patients a day to cover practice overhead, their student loans and college tuition. I’ve done the math. You can’t deliver exceptional care seeing a patient every 7 minutes.
At VirtuCare, we have time for you. No distractions or computer clicking. We are here for you.
Stop suffering with UTIs and get the help you deserve today.