A Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) is a relatively common infection of the bladder that can sometimes progress up to the kidney(s). Symptoms of a UTI may include some or all of the following:
- pain or burning with urination
- frequent need to urinate
- urgent need to urinate
- blood in the urine
- discomfort in the middle lower abdomen.
Most often UTIs are caused by the Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria which is found in the feces. The bacteria can move from the anus towards the urethra through wiping or sexual activity and result in an infection. Women are more prone to UTIs than their male counterparts due to the anatomically shorter distance between the female urethra and anus.
Other risk factors that can lead to the development of UTIs include sexual activity and use of spermicides.
Most UTIs can be diagnosed quickly by urine sample in Primary Care and treated with a short course of antibiotics. However women who are experiencing additional vaginal symptoms (such as a change in vaginal discharge color, amount, odor, or itching) should have a more thorough evaluation in Women's Health. Women's Health can perform additional testing to rule out vaginitis and sexually transmitted infections which can sometimes mimic the symptoms of UTI.