Preparing for your appointmentBy Mayo Clinic staff
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 because 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, be sure to 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.
- Write down key personal information, including any major stresses or recent life changes, including a new sexual partner.
- Make a list of all medications, as well as any vitamins or supplements, that you're taking.
- Take a family member or friend along. Sometimes 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.
Your time with your doctor is limited, so preparing a list of questions will help you make the most of your time together. List your questions from most important to least important in case time runs out. 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 me?
- 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?
In addition to the questions that you've prepared to ask your doctor, don't hesitate to ask additional questions during your appointment.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. Being ready to answer them may allow more time later to cover other points you want to address. Your doctor may ask:
- When did you first begin experiencing 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) in adults. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/kudiseases/pubs/pyelonephritis/. Accessed June 24, 2011.
- Urinary tract infection in adults. AUA Foundation. http://www.urologyhealth.org/urology/index.cfm?article=47. Accessed June 24, 2011.
- Schaeffer AJ, et al. Infections of the urinary tract. In: Wein AJ, et al. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2007. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/146625683-4/0/1445/0.html. Accessed June 29, 2009.
- Urinary tract infections in adults. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/kudiseases/pubs/utiadult/index.htm. Accessed June 24, 2011.
- Urinary tract infections. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. http://www.acog.org/publications/patient_education/bp050.cfm. Accessed June 24, 2011.