Urinary Tract Infection

Overview

A UTI is when bacteria gets into your urine and travels up to your bladder. UTIs cause more than 8.1 million visits to health care providers each year. About 10 in 25 women and 3 in 25 men will have symptoms of at least 1 UTI during their lifetime. If you are worried about a UTI, then you should talk with your health care provider. UTIs can be found by analyzing a urine sample. The urine is examined under a microscope for bacteria or white blood cells, which are signs of infection. Your health care provider may also take a urine culture.

Facts about UTIs:

Every year, 8-10 million visits to healthcare providers occur because of UTIs.
The bacteria that cause UTIs are treated with bacteria–fighting drugs called antibiotics.
Women are usually more prone to UTIs than men or children.
1 to 2 percent of children develop UTIs.

Signs & Symptoms

Women who experience frequent urinary tract infections (UTIs), an infection in any part of the urinary system but most often in the bladder and urethra, know the discomfort of the painful burning, urge and pelvic discomfort associated with them. While occasional UTIs are not uncommon in women and can be treated with a dose of antibiotics, frequent infections should be discussed with your urologist.

  • Frequent urge to urinate
  • Burning feeling in the area of the bladder
  • Pain during passing urine
  • Cloudy, dark, bloody, or strange-smelling urine (Blood in the urine may be caused by a UTI but it may also be from another problem in the urinary tract, you should contact your health care provider immediately)
  • Feeling tired or shaky
  • Fever or chills (a sign the infection may have reached your kidneys)

If you have symptoms of a UTI, see your healthcare provider immediately. Your healthcare provider can confirm the diagnosis by looking at a sample of your urine under a microscope for bacteria and white and red blood cells, or sending the sample to a lab for additional testing.

Diagnosis & Treatment

If you suspect you have a urinary tract infection, you should contact your physician. You’ll be asked to give a urine sample, which will be tested for the presence of UTI-causing bacteria. Urine infections are usually easily treated with a course of a medicine called an antibiotic. Once cleared with treatment, in most cases there are no long-term problems following a urine infection.

There are some simple steps you can take to help prevent a urine infection:

  • Drinking plenty of water
  • Antibacterial drugs
  • Urinate when you feel the need; don’t resist the urge to urinate.
  • Wipe from front to back to prevent bacteria around the anus from entering the vagina or urethra.