Urinary Tract Infection

A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection of any part of the urinary system (urethra, bladder, ureters and kidneys). Schedule treatments.
Urinary Tract Infection

What is a urinary tract infection?

A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection of any part of the urinary system. This system includes the urethra, bladder, prostate, ureters and kidneys. Most UTIs occur in the lower urinary tract (bladder and urethra), and women are at a greater risk than men. A urinary tract infection can be quite painful, but the consequences are more severe when they spread to the kidneys. For the most part, UTIs are treated with antibiotics, but advanced testing is needed to identify the issue.

What are the symptoms?

UTIs aren’t always easy to identify; not all infections come with signs and symptoms. If you do experience symptoms, they may include:

  • Burning sensations when you urinate
  • Strong, persistent urges to urinate
  • Increased frequency of urination
  • Pelvic pain (especially in the center of the pelvis, near the pubic bone)
  • Red, pink or dark, cola-colored urine
  • Cloudy urine
  • Strong-smelling urine
  • Confusion or increased fatigue/lethargy (especially for the elderly)
  • Fever or chills

If you are older, these symptoms may be mistaken for other conditions, so it is important to see a urologist to confirm your condition. Request an appointment online.

What are the types of urinary tract infections?

The signs and symptoms of a UTI will be specific to that part of your urinary tract that’s infected. Different UTIs include:

  • An infection of the urethra (urethritis), which can involve a burning sensation during urination and discharge.
  • An infection of the bladder (cystitis), which can involve blood in your urine, painful urination, frequency or urgency of urination, and/or pain in the lower abdomen and pelvic pressure.
  • An infection of the prostate (prostatitis), which can involve blood in your urine, painful urination, frequent or urgent urination, slower urine stream, inability to urinate, fever, chills and/or pain in the back, pelvis or prostate.
  • An infection of the kidneys (acute pyelonephritis), which can involve vomiting and nausea, pain in the upper back and sides, shaking chills, and high fever.

What are the causes?

Urinary tract infections commonly occur when bacteria enters the urinary tract through the urethra. The urinary system is designed to keep bacteria out, but sometimes its defenses will fail. When it does, bacteria multiplies in the bladder and can become an infection. This can happen after surgery or be related to catheterization of the bladder, high blood sugar levels (diabetes), some sexually transmitted diseases (STD), sexual intercourse, bladder stones, enlarged prostate (BPH), or a weakened immune system. While UTIs can commonly occur in normal, healthy women, UTIs are never normal occurrences in healthy men.

Risk factors include:

  • Sexual activity in women
  • Menopause and a decline in circulating estrogens
  • Diabetes
  • Urinary catheter use
  • Blockages in the urinary tract, such as kidney stones, bladder stones or an enlarged prostate
  • A suppressed immune system