Urinary Tract Infections

A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection that affects any part of the urinary tract which includes the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra.

What is a Urinary Tract
Infection?

A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection that affects any part of the urinary tract which includes the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra.
Most infections occur in the lower urinary tract in the bladder and urethra, but it can also affect the upper urinary tract in either the kidneys or ureters where the infections tend to be more serious.
UTI’s are one of the most common infections in humans, and women have a higher risk of infection than men.

What Causes Urinary Tract
Infections?

UTI’s usually occur when urinary tract defense system fails, and bacteria are allowed to enter the system through the urethra, from there it travels to the bladder where it multiplies.
The bacteria responsible for the infection are usually found in the gastrointestinal tract (GI). Women have a higher risk of infection because of the close proximity of the female urethra and the anus.

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Symptoms of a Urinary Tract Infection

The main issue with UTI’s is that they don’t always manifest symptoms, this makes them easy to overlook. However, when symptoms are displayed they usually include the following:

  • A persistent urge to urinate
  • A burning sensation when urinating
  • Passing frequent but small amounts of urine
  • Urine that appears cloudy
  • Red, pink, or brown colored urine, this is a sign of blood in the urine
  • Strong-smelling urine
  • Pelvic pain in women

There are other symptoms associated with UTI infection depending on where the infection is:

UTI Infection in the Kidneys

  • Upper back and side pain
  • High fever
  • Chills
  • Nausea and Vomiting

UTI Infection in the Bladder (Cystitis)

  • Pelvic pressure
  • Lower abdomen discomfort
  • Frequent painful urination
  • Presence of blood in the urine

UTI Infection in the Urethra (Urethritis)

  • Burning sensation when urinating
  • Unusual discharge

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When to Go to
the ER

Patients should seek emergency medical treatment when:

  • They feel pain in their upper back and flank as this could indicate a kidney infection
  • Women who experience pelvic pain or pressure
  • The urine coloration changes to red, pink, or brown as this is a sign that blood is present in the urine.

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