A urinary tract infection (UTI) is any symptomatic bacterial infection of the kidney or bladder. Cystitis refers specifically to an infection contained within the bladder, while pyelonephritis refers to an infection of the kidney.
UTIs are particularly common among young, sexually active women: as many as 50 percent of women will experience a UTI at some point in their lives. UTIs are thought to occur most commonly when fecal bacteria enter the bladder through the urethra, the tube that carries urine from the bladder outside the body. Thus, UTIs occur much more frequently in women than in men, due to the proximity of a woman's urethral opening to the anus, and due to the increased length of the urethra in men.
- Pain or burning when you urinate
- An urge to urinate frequently but usually passing only small amounts of urine
- Dribbling (inability to control urine release)
- Pain in lower abdomen
- Reddish or pinkish urine
- Foul-smelling urine
- Cloudy urine
- Pain in your back just below the rib cage, on one side of your body
- Fever and chills
- Nausea and vomiting
Treatment for an uncomplicated UTI is usually very straightforward. Antibiotics combined with a greater fluid intake will often clear the infection within a few days. There are, however, complicating factors that may influence your doctor's treatment plan, including but not limited to: pregnancy, diabetes, immunosuppression, catheter use, urinary tract obstructions or kidney stones, and prostatitis or an enlarged prostate.
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