A UTI is an infection that affects the urinary tract. The urinary tract includes the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra.
What are the symptoms of a urinary tract infection (UTI)?
Generally, a UTI may be accompanied by:
- Increased urinary frequency
- The feeling of an urgent need to urinate
- Burning during or after urination
- Urinating in small amounts
- Blood in the urine
Any part of the urinary tract can be affected.
What causes a UTI?
The urinary tract is usually sterile, meaning that no bacteria are found there. If bacteria move into the urinary tract, there is a possibility of a UTI developing. UTIs are more common in women, but men can also acquire a UTI.
How do bacteria get into the urinary tract?
Most commonly, bacteria are moved from the rectal area to the urethra (the opening to the bladder) during sexual activity or toileting. Sometimes bacteria will take advantage of urine sitting in the bladder for a long time (if you delay emptying the bladder - such as during a long car trip) and make you more prone to a UTI.
What do I do if I think I have a UTI?
Start by increasing fluids, and make an appointment to be evaluated. A urine specimen will be collected for analysis, so you will be asked to come to the clinic in advance of your appointment so the laboratory information will be ready when you are seen.
What happens if a UTI is diagnosed?
The appropriate antibiotic will be prescribed and instructions will be given for follow-up.
How can I prevent a UTI?
- Drink enough fluid so that your urine is clear during your waking hours
- Don't delay urination
- Wipe from front to back
- Urinate after intercourse
If there is a pattern of frequent UTIs, this will be addressed at your appointment.