Insights

Should I Go To Urgent Care For A UTI?

Mira Research Team20 Jan 2021

Quick Digest

  • A urinary tract infection (UTI) is any type of infection that occurs in your urinary system. This includes infections in your uterus, kidneys, urethra, and bladder. Most infections occur in women and in the lower tract — the bladder and urethra.
  • Infections in the bladder can be annoying and uncomfortable; however, serious consequences can occur if the infection spreads to your kidneys.
  • There are several diagnostic tests for UTIs. However, doctors typically treat UTIs with antibiotics. Mira’s secondary research indicates that the cost of UTI treatment ranges from $250-500
  • This article aims to help you understand whether or not you should seek treatment for a UTI at an urgent care clinic and how to avoid high costs when doing so.

Should you go to urgent care for a UTI? Yes, urgent care is a great option

If you are experiencing a medical emergency due to a UTI, you should immediately seek treatment from an emergency room.

However, if you are not experiencing a medical emergency, and are experiencing symptoms, visiting an urgent care center may be the right choice for you. 

Many urgent care centers offer UTI treatment as one of their services. The following urgent care clinics offer treatment for UTIs: 

  • CityMD
  • ProHealth Circle Urgent Care
  • GoHealth Urgent Care
  • MinuteClinic
  • GoHealth
  • MedExpress
  • PhysicianOne Urgent Care
  • RapidMed Urgent Care
  • MultiCare Indigo Urgent Care
  • Physicians Immediate Care

Symptoms of a UTI

Symptoms of UTIs include, but are not limited to:

  • Pain when urinating
  • Burning sensation when urinating
  • Blood in your urine
  • Strong urge to urinate often.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you might consider seeking a diagnostic test for a UTI. Once you receive a diagnosis, your healthcare provider can advise you on your options moving forward. If you conduct an at-home UTI test and it comes back positive, you should seek care from a doctor.

How are UTIs diagnosed? 

UTIs can be diagnosed using several methods. Analysis of urine samples, growing UTI bacteria in a lab, imaging your urinary tract, and using a scope to see inside your bladder are most common. 

Although all of these tests are used to determine if you have a UTI, the type of test that you receive can affect your out-of-pocket cost

How are UTIs treated?

Treatment for UTIs depends on the severity of your infection. Simple infections tend to consist of some pain and discomfort in your urinary tract. 

Scientists say drinking cranberry juice can help prevent or treat a simple UTI, however, it's important to treat your UTI medically if you are experiencing pain and discomfort.  

Below we list some of the common treatments for simple infections, frequent infections, and severe infections. Ultimately, your health care provider will determine what treatment course is best for you.  

Simple Infection*

  • Trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole (Bactrim, Septra, others)
  • Fosfomycin (Monurol)
  • Nitrofurantoin (Macrodantin, Macrobid)
  • Cephalexin (Keflex)
  • Ceftriaxone

*These are the names of common antibiotics used to treat UTIs. In general, patients will take these antibiotics for 3-7 days to treat a UTI. 

Frequent Infection

  • Low-dose antibiotics, initially for six months but sometimes longer
  • Self-diagnosis and treatment, if you stay in touch with your doctor
  • A single dose of an antibiotic after sexual intercourse if your infections are related to sexual activity
  • Vaginal estrogen therapy if you're postmenopausal

Severe Infection

  • Intravenous antibiotics in a hospital

The price of UTI treatment at urgent care clinics depends on several factors.

When seeking treatment for a UTI, your total out-of-pocket cost will depend on several factors listed below.

  • Insurance Status
  • Type of Insurance
  • Type of UTI Diagnostic Test
  • Additional Diagnostic Tests
  • Prescription Medication / Drugs
  • Office Visit + Administrative Fees

Mira’s research indicates that the price of the test alone can exceed $80. In addition, antibiotic treatments for UTIs can be as much as $300. Coupled with administrative fees as well as other diagnostic tests, seeking treatment for a UTI at an urgent care clinic may cost you hundreds of dollars.

What can I do to avoid high costs when seeking treatment for a UTI?

Seeking help from urgent care can be expensive and non-transparent. There are several options that can help you reduce your out-of-pocket cost —  especially if you do not have insurance or your insurance has high deductibles. 

Several pharmacies, such as Walgreens, CVS, and Publix, offer at-home UTI testing kits. These kits are approximately $15 and provide results in under five minutes. 

If you think you have a UTI but do not want to go to urgent care to get diagnosed, these testing kits exist as an alternative. 

If you test positive using an at-home kit, you should seek medical attention in order to get properly treated. If you test negative but you continue to experience symptoms, you may want to be seen by a health care provider to help determine the cause of your symptoms. 

With Mira, your $99 co-pay will cover your entire urgent care visit. For just $45 a month, you will have access to hundreds of urgent care clinics, 80% off prescriptions, and affordable lab testing.

Outlined below are several questions you can ask the team at the urgent care clinic that might help you save money.

  • How much is the total out-of-pocket cost?
  • How much is the diagnostic test for a UTI?
  • How much is the treatment for a UTI?
  • Are there administrative fees or fees for seeing a provider?
  • Is one type of medicine cheaper than another?
  • Is one type of diagnostic test cheaper than another?
  • What are my alternatives?

Please note that the information in this article is meant to equip you with the information to decide for yourself whether or not to seek medical treatment for a possible UTI. Mira’s Research Team does not consist of medical professionals. If you have specific questions regarding your medical situation, you should contact a healthcare provider. 

Sources

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/urinary-tract-infection/symptoms-causes/syc-20353447

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/urinary-tract-infection/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20353453

https://www.healthgrades.com/right-care/urgent-care/how-much-does-urgent-care-cost#:~:text=Another%20example%3A%20The%20cost%20of,ER%20it%20cost%20about%20%241%2C264.

https://www.choosingwisely.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/ChoosingWiselyUTIAGSAMDA-ER.pdf

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