Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) And Online Doctors

January 10, 2021

UTI Telehealth Appointments

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are also known as bladder infections or cystitis. They are usually not dangerous but can become dangerous if they are not treated. Most UTI’s can be diagnosed online through telehealth doctors, and medications can be prescribed virtually as well.

Online doctors can diagnose and provide treatment for urinary tract infections. The steps to getting online treatment for a UTI include:

  • Finding a telehealth doctor
  • Making an appointment
  • Attending your appointment
  • Receiving treatment
  • Following treatment

Bladder infections are not only discomfort but also a danger to one’s health. If left untreated, they move to the kidneys and cause severe and possibly permanent damage. The process for getting telehealth treatment for this ailment is described in detail below.

Finding a Telehealth Doctor

Nearly every doctor’s practice is now offering telehealth appointments. There are various ways to find an online practitioner that treats urinary tract infections  in your area:

  • Contact your insurance provider
  • Ask for recommendations
  • Do an online search

Contact Your Insurance Provider

One of the easiest ways to find an online doctor in your vicinity that accepts your insurance is to call your insurance company. Your insurance provider will be able to give you a list of doctors that accept your insurance and offer telehealth services.

However, make sure to always call the doctors the insurance company gives you to make sure the doctor does provide telemedicine. Sometimes insurance providers’ information is not completely up-to-date.

When you call the doctor to make an appointment to treat your UTI, be sure to specify that you want to see the doctor virtually.

Ask for Recommendations

Bladder infections are the second most common bacterial infection people get. So, the odds are that someone else in your family or your friends have had one. 

An excellent way to find a telehealth provider that treats urinary tract infections is to ask people you know for recommendations.

As stated above, UTI’s are very common, and they are nothing to be ashamed about. However, if you would rather keep your infection to yourself, then a great alternative is searching for recommendations online.

Do an Online Search

Finding an online medical provider such as a doctor, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant to treat your bladder infection is as simple as doing a Google search. You will quickly find numerous telehealth providers that can help you.

Do not just choose the first provider you see on the results page, though. Instead, read online reviews and find a company providing telehealth visits who has a good record for treating UTIs.

In addition, make sure to check that the company and provider you choose takes your insurance. Even though you will be receiving treatment for your urinary tract infection online, it is still a medical visit for which most providers charge.

Making an Appointment

Once you find a telehealth provider to treat your UTI, the next step is to make the appointment. Some telehealth companies have websites that allow you to make the appointment right from your computer.

Other doctors will require that you call their office to schedule the virtual appointment.

However, you choose to schedule your appointment, make sure to double-check that the appointment you are making is for telehealth or virtual appointment.  

Numerous people have made the mistake of scheduling an appointment only to discover at their appointment time that they actually made an in-person appointment rather than a virtual one.

Once you make your appointment, your doctor’s office should send you an email with a link to join your telehealth session on the day and time of the appointment. 

If your telehealth provider uses a smartphone application for appointments, then the email will include instructions on how to download and install the app.

Pre-Appointment Questionnaires 

Some providers who allow you to make your virtual appointments using a website have questionnaires that you will be required to fill out prior to making an appointment.

Often these questionnaires will ask about the various UTI symptoms you are experiencing. These online forms will also usually ask demographic questions, including your name, age, race, gender, etc.

Depending on your answers to these questions, your telehealth site will provide you with recommendations. These may include scheduling an online appointment or going to see a doctor in person. 

If the questionnaire determines you are eligible for a telehealth appointment, the link to do so will be provided soon after you finish the online assessment or you will receive a call to confirm.

Benefits of an Online Appointment

UTI’s are often quite uncomfortable, but getting in to see a doctor in person can be difficult depending on your schedule and transportation options.

With a telehealth appointment, you do not need to go anywhere. Moreover, many online telehealth companies provide appointments outside of the normal in-person 9-5 window, which means there are more slots available.

Many people suffering from a bladder infection are able to make a telehealth appointment for the same or next day. 

Another added benefit of an online appointment for your urinary tract infection is privacy. You get to discuss your symptoms in the comfort of your own home, where no one else can overhear you. Telehealth appointments are secure and confidential.

Online appointments to treat cystitis are often also more cost-effective than in-person visits. Many telehealth providers charge lower rates for online appointments.

Who May Not Be Able to Make an Online Appointment

Many online providers will not see certain patients with possible urinary tract infections. These patients may include pregnant women, men, and patients under the age of 18.

For this reason, these patients are usually recommended to go to their primary health provider or their local urgent care center to receive treatment.

If you have cancer, you probably should call your oncologist to determine the best course of treatment. 

Attending Your Appointment

On the day and time of your appointment, click on the meeting link provided by the telehealth company. Make sure you are in a private area with a computer with a webcam or your smartphone. Also, ensure that you have a strong internet connection.

Some telehealth doctors will allow you to have a phone appointment, but most insurance companies require you to be elevated via a webcam. 

Many telehealth platforms are also set up to work with smartphones. If this is the case for your online medical provider, be sure to download the app the telehealth company uses prior to your appointment. 

If you are using a smartphone to connect with your telehealth provider, it is recommended that you put your phone in Do Not Disturb mode prior to your appointment to ensure your session is not interrupted by any unwanted call or notification.

During the Covid 19 pandemic, you are allowed to use alternative forms of technology such as Facetime, Google Duo, and WhatsApp. Prior to Covid 19, these forms were not allowed because they do not have the same HIPPA protections (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act).

Having access to these new technologies increases the accessibility for patients in the community to telehealth services. 

Share Your Symptoms

When speaking with your doctor, be sure to describe all of the symptoms of your bladder infection. These may include:

  • Pain while urinating
  • Frequent urination
  • Urgency to urinate
  • Strong urine smell
  • Pain in the abdomen
  • Pain in the lower back
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dark-colored urine

Though you may not have all of these symptoms, tell your doctor what you are experiencing.

Based on the symptoms you tell your doctor, he or she will usually be able to confirm whether you are suffering from a UTI or something else.

If your online practitioner decides he or she needs more information, your practitioner may provide you with a referral to get lab work done. Usually, the lab work is a urinalysis and urine culture. 

Once your telehealth provider receives the results of the culture, he or she will be able to better treat your specific kind of urinary tract infection.

No Symptom Is Too Small

Many people are tight-lipped when it comes to seeing a doctor--virtually or in-person.

A lot of patients tend to just tell their physician the bare minimum of what is going on with them. They feel like they might be making something out of nothing and they do not want to waste their doctor’s time.

However, your doctor wants to know what is going on with you. When it comes to treating urinary tract infections--or any ailment for that matter--no symptom is too small.

The more information your doctor has, the better he or she can prescribe treatment for you that will work. So when you are speaking with your telehealth provider about your bladder infection, be sure to share everything that you are experiencing.

Share Your History

Another important piece of information to share with your online doctor is your medical history. This is especially true if you have had bladder infections in the past. 

Knowing if you have had previous UTIs may affect what type of medication your doctor prescribes. The doctor may also recommend some lifestyle changes to help prevent future urinary tract infections.

When in doubt during your telemedicine session, share it. Do not hold back from telling your doctor anything that may be even remotely relevant to what you are experiencing. The more information your provider has, the better he or she can treat your infection.

What Your Doctor May Ask

There are risk factors that make you more susceptible to getting urinary tract infections. Your doctor may go down a list of risk factors with you during your visit. Certain things your doctor may ask you about are:

  • Your sexual activity
  • Type of birth control you are on
  • Whether you have gone through menopause
  • Whether you have a suppressed immune system
  • Whether you have used a catheter recently

Make sure to answer your doctor’s questions with as much detail as possible. Even the smallest detail can help your telehealth provider in prescribing the right treatment for your bladder infection.

Though some of your doctor’s questions may seem personal and probing, try to remember that your physician is simply doing his or her job. Your doctor is not delving into your personal life for any other reason than to help you overcome the pain and discomfort in which you are.

Receiving Treatment

Once your online doctor has diagnosed that you have a urinary tract infection, he or she will then provide you with their recommended treatment.

Most treatments for UTIs include taking antibiotics for 3 to 5 days.

Can I Get A Prescription for a UTI Without Going To The Doctor? 

Your telehealth doctor can write a prescription for antibiotics to treat your bladder infection during your virtual appointment. 

Your doctor’s office will send the prescription to your pharmacy, and you will be able to pick up your medicine as soon as it is ready.

This is one of the added benefits of seeing a doctor online to treat your bladder infection--your prescription is fast-tracked to the pharmacy instead of you having to physically go to your pharmacy and drop it off.

In-Office Visits

Depending on the severity of your symptoms and your history, your online doctor may also recommend some kind of in-person visit. Your doctor may want you to go to your local urgent care or primary care physician to get a urine culture.

These tests will help determine the kind of urinary tract infection you have and will help your doctor provide you with the best treatment possible.

Following Treatment

Once you have picked up your medications from your pharmacy, be sure to follow the instructions of your online doctor precisely. 

Many of the symptoms of your UTI will subside within a day or two of you starting your antibiotic course. Even though your symptoms have lessened or even disappeared, do not stop taking your antibiotics.

Your telehealth doctor will tell you that you need to finish the entire course of antibiotics. If you choose to stop taking your medication, the urinary tract infection may return and be antibiotic-resistant.

When this occurs, it is much harder for a doctor to treat this type of infection.

Leaving a urinary tract infection partially untreated may result in the infection traveling to your kidneys, which can have dangerous and even deadly results.

Over-the-Counter Medications

Your telehealth doctor may also recommend you using over-the-counter medication for pain such as Advil or Tylenol. Be sure to thoroughly follow the directions of your doctor, as some medications may interact with the antibiotic you are prescribed.

You can also get a urine test for urinary tract infections at your local pharmacy or drugstore. Once you finish your course of antibiotics, you can take this at-home test to be sure your UTI is gone.

Birth Control and Antibiotics

When getting treatment for your bladder infection by your online doctor, be sure to tell him or her whether you are on birth control. Some antibiotics interact with certain types of birth control and make it less effective.

If your doctor suggests using another type of birth control while on your antibiotic course, make sure to follow his or her directions.

Side Effects of Treatment

Almost all medications prescribed to treat urinary tract infections have some sort of side effects. These side effects can range from mild to serious.

Some of these side effects include nausea, vomiting, skin rashes, and even muscle pain.

If you experience any type of side effect during your UTI treatment, be sure to contact your telehealth doctor immediately. He or she may prescribe a different medication.

Your doctor may also want to schedule a follow-up appointment with you to be sure that you are not experiencing any serious side effects.

Follow-Up Appointments

Some online doctors may want you to schedule a follow-up appointment after you have finished treatment for your urinary tract infection. 

If your doctor wants to see you again to check that everything has subsided, he or she will most likely want to do another virtual appointment. These sessions are usually quite brief and to-the-point, just to be sure that you are healthy.

In addition, if your symptoms have not fully cleared up, your online doctor can provide you with additional medication to treat your urinary tract infection.

Even though you may be tempted to miss your follow-up appointment, do not. You may have other symptoms that you are unaware of that the doctor will be able to see. When it comes to your health, it is better to be safe than sorry.

Prevention of New Urinary Tract Infections

Your telehealth doctor will also provide you with recommendations on how to keep yourself from getting another UTI. These may include:

  • Drinking plenty of water
  • Wiping from front to back
  • Emptying your bladder completely after sexual activity
  • Avoiding deodorant sprays, douches, and powders in the groin region
  • Changing your birth control from diaphragms or spermicide-treated condoms or unlubricated condoms to something else

Following the above recommendations will help to ensure that bacteria are flushed from your system on a regular basis. The more often bacteria are flushed from your system, the less time bacteria have to grow and create an infection.


Urinary tract infections are painful predicaments that can turn into serious issues if left untreated. Thankfully, you can see a doctor online via a telehealth appointment and get a prescription to treat your UTI right from the comfort of your own home.

Online appointments to treat bladder infections are private, secure, time-saving, and cost-effective. They are just as effective as in-person visits, but they are often more comfortable for the patient.







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