Urinary Tract Infection

What is Urinary Tract Infection?

A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection in any part of the urinary system, which includes the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and the urethra. UTI occurs when bacteria enter the urinary tract through the urethra and begin to multiply in the bladder.

Symptoms of UTI

Common symptoms of a UTI include:

  • Painful or burning sensation when urinating
  • Urge to urinate frequently
  • Feeling of incomplete emptying of the bladder
  • Lower abdominal pain
  • Blood in the urine

Causes & Risk Factors

Risk factors for a UTI include:

  • Sexual intercourse
  • Using diaphragm birth control
  • Pregnancy
  • Menopause
  • Weakened immune system
  • Frequent vaginal douching
  • Kidney stones

Diagnosis and Treatment

A doctor will diagnose a UTI using a urine test or a culture. Treatment typically includes antibiotics. If the infection is severe, a hospital stay may be necessary. If not treated promptly, UTIs can cause permanent damage to the urinary tract and kidneys.


The best way to reduce the risk of getting a UTI is to drink plenty of water and urinate often. Avoid use of perfumed soaps, bubble bath, and spermicidal products, which can irritate the urethra. Women should use a different method of birth control or practice safe sex.