Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are painful, bacterial infections that can occur in various places in the urinary tract. Most UTIs are caused by bacteria that enters the bladder through the urethra. Bladder infections are the most common form of UTI, but infections may also appear in the kidneys, ureters (tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder) and/or urethra (the tube that empties urine from the body).
Your body can usually fight off these bacterial infections on their own, but chronic, recurring UTIs are a cause for concern. Women tend to develop UTIs more often than men, because the female urethra is shorter and closer to the anus than the male urethra. Pregnancy and menopause also increase the chances of developing a UTI.
There are other risk factors for UTI that affect both men and women, including:
Symptoms Of Urinary Tract Infections
As previously mentioned, most UTIs are bladder infections. Common symptoms of a bladder infection include:
Pain or burning during urination
Abdominal pressure or cramping
Strong urge to urinate, even when the bladder is emptied
Should the UTI spread to the kidneys, patients may experience:
Chills, shaking or night sweats
Pain in the side, back or groin
Flushed, warm or reddened skin
Confusion and disorientation
Nausea and vomiting
Intense abdominal pain
Urinary Tract Infection Treatment
If you believe you have a UTI, your doctor may perform a urinalysis or urine culture to determine where the infection is and what type of bacteria is causing the infection. Typically, a 3- to 14-day course of antibiotics is used to combat a UTI. It’s also important to drink plenty of water while fighting off a UTI.
Most UTIs can be cured. Bladder infections often clear up between 24 to 48 hours. Kidney infections may take up to 1 week before symptoms disappear.
Contact Your Medical Professional
If you believe you may have a UTI, contact your doctor. If you experience any back or side pain, chills, fever or vomiting, call right away; your infection may have spread to the kidneys. Only a medical professional can diagnose a UTI. Speak to your doctor about any concerns, and be sure to follow his or her advice to cure and prevent future UTIs from occurring.