A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection in any part of the urinary system, kidneys, bladder or urethra. It occurs when bacteria enter your urine and travel into your bladder. They alone cause more than 8.1 million visits to the doctor each year. Approximately 60% of women and 12% of men will have at least one UTI during their lifetime.
To diagnose a UTI, your doctor will need to perform a urinalysis, which is a simple test of your urine that looks for bacteria and blood cells. If you or a loved one is struggling with the pain and discomfort of a UTI, it’s important to seek medical attention to avoid further complications, like a kidney infection. If left untreated, a kidney infection can lead to permanent kidney damage and/or spread to other parts of the body and cause an even more serious infection.
Signs and symptoms of UTIs
UTIs typically occur when bacteria enter the urinary tract through the urethra and begin to multiply in the bladder. Common signs and symptoms of UTIs include:
- A strong, persistent urge to urinate
- A burning sensation when urinating
- Passing frequent, small amounts of urine
- Pelvic pain (in women)
Five things to know about UTIs
Here are five things to know about UTIs:
- Women are more likely to develop UTIs than men because women have a significantly shorter urethra, which makes it easier for bacteria to reach the bladder.
- If not treated promptly, the bacterial infection can travel up to the kidneys, leading to more serious health problems.
- Drinking a glass of cranberry juice per day may help prevent recurrent UTIs.
- People with diabetes and men with enlarged prostates have an increased risk of developing a UTI.
- It’s important to drink plenty of fluids, avoid postponing bathroom breaks for extended periods of time and empty your bladder before going to sleep to help prevent UTIs.
If you’re struggling with a UTI and need medical care, please call the skilled and compassionate doctors at Bay Area Physicians at 251-301-1145.