Everything You Need to Know About Urinary Tract Infection

A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection from microbes. These are organisms that are too small to be seen without a microscope.

Most UTIs are caused by bacteria, but some are caused by fungi and in rare cases by viruses. UTIs are among the most common infections in humans.

Your urinary tract is made up of your:

  • kidneys
  • ureters
  • bladder
  • urethra


Utmost UTIs only involve the urethra and bladder, in the lower tract. Still, UTIs can involve the ureters and feathers, in the upper tract. Although upper tract UTIs are rarer than lower tract UTIs, they’re also generally more severe.

Utmost UTIs only involve the urethra and bladder, in the lower tract. Still, UTIs can involve the ureters and feathers, in the upper tract. Although upper tract UTIs are rarer than lower tract UTIs, they’re also generally more severe.


Most UTIs only involve the urethra and bladder, in the lower tract. However, UTIs can involve the ureters and kidneys, in the upper tract. Although upper tract UTIs are rarer than lower tract UTIs, they’re also usually more severe.

urinary tract infection


References to “male” and “female” or “women” and “men” in this article refer to sex assigned at birth, not gender

Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) symptoms

Symptoms of a UTI depend on what part of the urinary tract is infected.

Lower tract UTI symptoms

Lower tract UTIs affect the urethra and bladder. Symptoms of a lower tract UTI include:

  • burning with urination
  • increased frequency of urination without passing much urine
  • increased urgency of urination
  • bloody urine
  • cloudy urine
  • urine that looks like cola or tea
  • urine that has a strong odor
  • pelvic pain in women
  • rectal pain in men

urinary tract infection

Upper tract UTI symptoms

Upper tract UTIs affect the feathers. These can be potentially life- hanging if bacteria move from the infected order into the blood.

This condition, called urosepsis, can beget dangerously low blood pressure, shock, and death.

Symptoms of an upper tract UTI include:

  • pain and tenderness in the upper back and sides
  • chills
  • fever
  • nausea
  • vomiting


urinary tract infection


UTI symptoms in men
Symptoms of an upper tract urinary infection in men are analogous to those in women. Still, men with a lower tract UTI may occasionally also witness rectal pain.
urinary tract infection
UTI symptoms in women

Women with a lower tract urinary infection may experience pelvic pain. This is in addition to the other common symptoms.

UTI causes and risk factors

Anything that reduces your bladder emptying or irritates the urinary tract can lead to a UTI. There are also many factors that can put you at an increased risk of a getting a UTI.

These risk factors include:

  • age (Older adults are more likely to get UTIs.)
  • reduced mobility after surgery or prolonged bed rest
  • kidney stones
  • a previous UTI
  • urinary tract obstructions or blockages, such as:
    • enlarged prostate
    • kidney stones
    • certain forms of cancer
  • prolonged use of urinary catheters, which may make it easier for bacteria to get into your bladder
  • diabetes
  • pregnancy
  • abnormally developed urinary structures from birth
  • weakened immune system

Additional UTI risk factors for women

In womanish bodies, the urethra is truly close to both the vagina and the anus. This increases the liability of developing UTIs.

Bacteria that may naturally do around both the vagina and anus can lead to infection in the urethra and the rest of the urinary tract.

Urethras in women are also shorter, and the bacteria have a shorter distance to travel to enter the bladder.



Pressure on the female urinary tract during penetrative sex can move bacteria from around the anus into the bladder. Oral sex can also introduce bacteria into the urethra, increasing the risk of infection.

Peeing after sex may help reduce the risk of infection.



Spermicides may increase UTI risk, because they can disrupt the vaginal microbiome.


Condom use during sex

Non-lubricated latex condoms may increase friction and irritate the skin during sexual intercourse. This may increase the risk of a UTI.

However, there are many reasons to use condoms. They’re important for reducing the spread of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and preventing unwanted pregnancy.

To help prevent friction and skin irritation from condoms, be sure to use enough water-based lubricant during sex.

Avoid using condoms that have been coated with spermicide.



Diaphragms may put pressure on the urethra. This can decrease bladder emptying, increasing the risk for bacterial growth and infection.


Decrease in estrogen levels

After menopause, a decrease in estrogen level changes the normal bacteria in your vagina. This can increase the risk for a UTI.


UTI diagnosis
Still, communicate with your croaker, If you suspect that you have a UTI grounded on your symptoms. Your croaker will review your symptoms and perform a physical examination.
To confirm an opinion of a UTI, your croaker will need to test your urine for microbes.

The urine sample needs to be a “clean-catch” sample. This means the urine sample is collected in the middle of your urinary sluice, rather than in the morning.
This helps to avoid collecting bacteria or incentive from your skin, which can pollute the sample. Your croaker will explain to you how to get a clean catch.

When testing the sample, your croaker will look for an advanced number of white blood cells in your urine. This can indicate an infection.

Your croaker will also do a urine culture to test for bacteria or fungi. The culture can help identify the cause of the infection. It can also help your croaker choose a treatment.

Still, special testing may need to be performed, If your croaker suspects the UTI is viral.
Contagions are rare causes of UTIs but can be seen in people who have had organ transplants or who have other conditions that weaken their vulnerable system.

Upper tract UTIs

Still, they may also need to do a complete blood count (CBC) and blood societies, in addition to the urine test, If your croaker suspects that you have an upper tract UTI.
A blood culture can make certain that your infection has n’t spread to your bloodstream.




UTIs during pregnancy

If you’re pregnant and have symptoms of a UTI, see your doctor right away.

UTIs during pregnancy can cause high blood pressure and premature delivery. UTIs during pregnancy are also more likely to spread to the kidneys.


UTI treatment

Treatment of a UTI depends on whether it’s:

  • bacterial (most common)
  • viral
  • fungal

Your croaker will be suitable to determine which it’s by looking at your test results.

Bacterial UTIs are treated with antibiotics. Viral UTIs are treated with specifics called antivirals. Frequently, the antiviral cidofovir is the choice to treat viral UTIs.

Fungal UTIs are treated with specifics called antifungals.


Antibiotics for a UTI

The form of antibiotic used to treat a bacterial UTI generally depends on which part of the tract is involved.

Lower tract UTIs can generally be treated with oral antibiotics. Upper tract UTIs bear intravenous antibiotics. These antibiotics are put directly into your modes.

Occasionally, bacteria develop resistance to antibiotics. To reduce your threat of antibiotic resistance, your croaker will probably put you on the shortest treatment course possible. Treatment generally lasts no further than 1 week.

Results from your urine culture can help your croaker elect an antibiotic treatment that will work stylish against the type of bacteria that’s causing your infection.

Treatments other than antibiotics for bacterial UTIs are being examined. At some point, UTI treatment without antibiotics may be an option for bacterial UTIs by using cell chemistry to change the commerce between the body and the bacteria.



Cranberry juice or cranberries don’t treat a UTI once it’s started. However, a chemical in cranberries may help prevent certain types of bacteria that can cause a bacterial UTI from attaching to the lining of your bladder. This may be helpful in preventing future UTIs.

While cranberries are a popular remedy, the research on their effect on UTIs is mixed. More conclusive studies are needed.

Still, the American Urological Association says that clinicians can offer cranberry juice to patients as a way to prevent recurrent UTIs. But they note that there’s a low level of certainty that this will work.


Untreated UTIs

It’s important to treat a UTI — the before, the better. Undressed UTIs come more and more severe the farther they spread.

A UTI is generally easiest to treat in the lower urinary tract. An infection that spreads to the upper urinary tract is much more delicate to treat and is more likely to spread into your blood, causing sepsis. This is a life-hanging event.

Still, communicate your croaker as soon as possible, If you suspect that you have a UTI. A simple examination and urine or blood test could save you a lot of trouble in the long run.


UTI prevention

Everyone can take the following steps to help prevent UTIs:

  • Drink six to eight glasses of water daily.
  • Don’t hold urine in for long periods of time.
  • Talk with your doctor about managing any urinary incontinence or difficulties fully emptying your bladder.

Women are 30 times more likely than men to get UTIs. Certain steps may help prevent UTIs in women.

Still, using topical or vaginal estrogen specified by your croaker could make a difference in precluding UTIs, If you ’re perimenopausal orpostmenopausal.

However, they may recommend taking preventative antibiotics after coitus, or long term, If your croaker believes that intercourse is a factor of your intermittent UTIs.

Some studies have shown that long-term preventive use of antibiotics in older adults reduced the risk for UTIs.

Taking daily cranberry supplements or using vaginal probiotics, like lactobacillus, may also help in the prevention of UTIs. Some studie suggest that using probiotic vaginal suppositories can decrease the occurrence and recurrence of UTIs, by changing the bacteria found in the vagina.

Be sure to discuss with your doctor what the right prevention plan is for you.



UTI supplement options

Read our full review of Uqora, a company that focuses on developing natural supplements for UTI prevention. You can order supplements here.

The takeaway

UTIs are a fairly common condition. They can involve infection of the bladder, urethra, ureters, or feathers.

The most common cause is bacteria, though they can also be caused by contagions or fungi.

Still, it’s important to see your croaker for an opinion and applicable treatment, If you suspect you may have a UTI.

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