Urinary Tract Infections

Urinary tract infections, also known as UTIs, are common, so if you think you have one, you’re not alone. Many women get them, and some get them often. Most are not serious and can be treated with antibiotics, which will relieve your symptoms quickly.

photo of woman with a urinary tract infection

Symptoms of a UTI

Symptoms of a UTI include:

The infection may also affect your urine. It may:

Most urinary tract infections start in your lower urinary tract. Bacteria normally live in the skin near your anus or in your vagina, and sometimes they spread to your urethra. These bacteria may also move up to your urethra into your bladder causing a bladder infection called cystitis. You may also get an infection of your urethra called urethritis at the same time.

A woman’s anatomy makes you more prone to UTIs than men. Your urethra is shorter and closer to your anus than a man’s, which means bacteria can reach it more easily.

What Causes Urinary Tract Infections?

You can also develop UTIs if your bladder doesn’t empty completely, which can be caused by:

Other conditions may make you more prone to develop UTIs, including:

If you’re pregnant and you think you have a UTI, it’s important to see your doctor for treatment right away. An untreated UTI could cause problems for both you and your baby.

Kidney Infections

The bacteria that cause a UTI may move up your ureters into your kidneys, resulting in a kidney infection. Symptoms of a kidney infection include:

If you have these symptoms, it’s important to call your doctor right away. Kidney infections can be serious and need to be treated right away.

Treating and Preventing UTIs

Your doctor will treat your UTI with antibiotics. The type depends on the type of bacteria causing the infection. If you develop a severe infection or a kidney infection, you may need to spend time in the hospital where you can receive IV treatment.

To reduce your risk of getting a UTI:

Drinking unsweetened cranberry juice or taking cranberry pills may also decrease your risk of getting a UTI.

If you think you have a UTI, make an appointment with your doctor. Treatment will relieve your symptoms and prevent a more serious infection from developing.

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