What is a urinary tract infection?
A urinary tract infection (UTI) is caused by bacteria that get inside your urinary tract. Most bacteria that enter your urinary tract are expelled when you urinate. If the bacteria stay in your urinary tract, you may get an infection. Your urinary tract includes your kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. Urine is made in your kidneys, and it flows from the ureters to the bladder. Urine leaves the bladder through the urethra. A UTI is more common in your lower urinary tract, which includes your bladder and urethra..
What increases my risk of a UTI?
Incontinence (not able to control when you urinate)
Blocked urine flow, may be due to prostate or urinary tract stones
Not being circumcised
Previous UTI or urinary tract surgery
What are the signs and symptoms of a UTI?
Urinating more often or waking from sleep to urinate
Pain or burning when you urinate
Pain or pressure in your lower abdomen
Urine that smells bad
How is a UTI diagnosed?
Your healthcare provider will ask about your signs and symptoms. He may press on your stomach, sides, and back to check if you feel pain. You may also need the following:
Urine tests will be done. A sample of your urine is collected and sent to a lab for tests to learn what germ is causing your infection. You may be able to give a urine sample by urinating into a cup.
Blood tests may be done to check if you have a prostate infection.
Imaging tests may be needed if your UTI does not get better or you get another UTI. Imaging tests are pictures of your urinary tract that may show if your infection is in your kidneys. Imaging tests may also show if you have damage, blockages, or other problems in your urinary tract. You may be given a dye before the pictures are taken to help healthcare providers see the pictures better. Tell the healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast dye.
How is a UTI treated?
Antibiotics: This medicine is given to help treat or prevent an infection caused by bacteria.
Medicines that decrease pain and burning when you urinate may be given. They will also help decrease the feeling that you need to urinate often. These medicines will make your urine orange or red.
What are the risks of a UTI?
If you take antibiotics for a long time, bacteria in your body can become resistant. Bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics are very hard to kill. Even after you take medicine to treat your UTI, your infection may come back. Without treatment, your infection and symptoms may get worse. The bacteria may spread to your kidneys and cause pyelonephritis. This can be a very serious condition, and you may need treatment in the hospital. The infection can spread to your blood, which can be life-threatening.
How can I prevent a UTI?
Urinate when you feel the urge. Do not hold your urine. Urinate as soon as you feel you have to.
Drink plenty of liquids. This may help you urinate more often. Ask how much liquid you should drink each day and which liquids are right for you.
Where can I find more information?
American Academy of Family Physicians
11400 Tomahawk Creek Parkway
Leawood , KS 66211-2680
Phone: 1- 913 - 906-6000
Phone: 1- 800 - 274-2237
Web Address: http://www.aafp.org
When should I seek immediate care?
You are urinating very little or not at all.
You are vomiting.
You have shaking chills with a fever.
You have side or back pain that gets worse.
When should I contact my healthcare provider?
You have a fever.
You do not feel better after 2 days of taking antibiotics.
You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.