Urinary Tract Infections

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What is a urinary tract infection? 

A urinary tract infection is an infection that occurs anywhere within the urinary system. There are major components of the urinary system: the bladder the urethra, the ureters, and the kidneys. A UTI can occur anywhere within this system. Commonly, UTIs occur in the lower tract, the bladder, or urethra.  

What causes UTIs? 

Urinary tract infections are caused by bacteria that are introduced through the urethra and begin to spread upwards to the bladder causing inflammation and infection. The infection can also spread to your ureters and infect your kidneys. Multiple factors can increase your risk of developing a UTI. 

These risk factors include, but are not limited to:

    • Having a previous UTI 
    • Sexual activity  
    • Poor hygiene 
    • Age (older adults are more likely to get UTIs) 
    • A weakened immune system  
    • A recent urinary procedure 
    • Blockages in the urinary tract (kidney stones or an enlarged prostate can trap urine in the bladder and cause a UTI) 


What are the symptoms of UTIs? 

UTI symptoms include, but are not limited to: 

  • Strong urge to urinate that does not go away 
  • Urinating often and in small amounts 
  • Burning sensation when urinating  
  • Cloudy urine 
  • Urine has a strong smell 
  • Pink-tinted, or red color in urine indicating blood in urine 
  • Pelvic pain (in women, pain in the venter of pelvis and around the area of the pubic bone)  

When should I see my provider 

Speak to your provider if you are experiencing symptoms of UTI or if you are experiencing symptoms that are severe or concerning. If you have been diagnosed with a UTI by your provider and your symptoms are still getting worse, contact your provider and speak to them about your new or worsening symptoms. If a fever, back pain, or vomiting are accompanying your UTI, call your provider to adjust your treatment.  

How can I improve my quality of life? 

  • Take antibiotics exactly as directed by your provider 
  • Drink water 
  • Drink cranberry juice 
  • Practice good hygiene (shower, don’t bathe) 
  • Your provider may also recommend taking medicine to relieve pain or discomfort. 
  • Make sure you follow your treatment plan 

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