A UTI is when bacteria gets into your urine and travels up to your bladder. UTIs cause more than 8.1 million visits to health care providers each year. About 10 in 25 women and 3 in 25 men will have symptoms of at least 1 UTI during their lifetime.
There are two types of UTIs: simple and complicated. Simple UTIs are infections that happen in healthy people with normal urinary tracts.
Complicated UTIs happen in abnormal urinary tracts or when the bacteria causing the infection cannot be treated by many antibiotics. Most women have simple UTIs, while the UTIs in men and children should be thought of as complicated.
Can UTIs be Prevented?
There are steps women can take to avoid UTIs:
If you are worried about a UTI, then you should talk with your health care provider. UTIs can be found by analyzing a urine sample. The urine is examined under a microscope for bacteria or white blood cells, which are signs of infection. Your health care provider may also take a urine culture.
If you ever see blood in your urine, you should call your health care provider right away. Blood in the urine may be caused by a UTI but it may also be from another problem in the urinary tract.
If you are having fevers and symptoms of a UTI, or symptoms that won't go away despite therapy, then you should call a health care provider. You may need further tests, such as an ultrasound or CT scan, to check the urinary tract.
Most UTIs are single events that, if treated, will not come back. Some patients have anatomical and genetic predispositions that tend to make getting UTIs more likely.
If the UTI is treated early, then there will likely be no lasting effect on your urinary tract. UTIs can cause harm if not found and treated quickly.
If you are pregnant and have symptoms of a UTI, then you should call your health care provider right away. UTIs during pregnancy can put both mother and baby at risk if not dealt with quickly and properly.