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Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) Facts

  • A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection that occurs when bacteria enters into any part of the urinary tract, including the kidneys, ureters, bladder, or urethra.
  • Risk factors for urinary tract infections include being female, menopause, wiping from back to front after a bowel movement, sexual intercourse, some types of birth control, douches, diabetes, urinary catheters, kidney stones, genitourinary surgery, or structural abnormalities of the urinary tract.
  • UTI symptoms and signs include
    • pain or burning when urinating,
    • frequent urination,
    • sudden urge to urinate,
    • frequent urge to urinate without much urine passing, and
    • urine that is milky/cloudy/bloody/foul smelling.
  • See a health-care provider for diagnosis because some types of UTIs can be serious to life-threatening conditions.
  • UTIs are usually treated with antibiotics.
  • Most cases of UTIs go away with treatment, but in some cases, people may have recurrent urinary tract infections.
  • Serious UTIs may lead to scarring of the urinary tract or pyelonephritis (kidney infection).

What Is the Definition of a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)?

A urinary tract infection is an infection that can occur in any area of the urinary tract, including the ureters, bladder, kidneys, or urethra. Bladder infections (cystitis) and urethra infections (urethritis) are most common.

Picture of the urinary tract
Picture of the urinary tract

Urinary tract infections can be categorized as either simple or complicated.

  • Simple UTIs occur in healthy people with normal urinary tracts. This is the type of UTI that occurs most frequently in women.
  • Complicated UTIs occur in individuals with abnormal urinary tracts or when underlying medical conditions make treatment failure more likely. Men and children are more likely to have this type of UTI.
Last Reviewed 11/17/2017
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UTI Symptoms and Signs

You may have an infection if you have any of these symptoms:

  • You feel pain or burning when you urinate.
  • You feel like you have to urinate often, but not much urine comes out when you do.
  • You have pain in your lower belly.
  • Your urine is cloudy, looks pink or red, or smells bad.
  • You have pain on one side of your back under your ribs. This is where your kidneys are.
  • You have fever and chills.
  • You have nausea and vomiting.


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