A urinary tract infection (UTI) is any infection in your urinary tract, which includes your bladder, kidneys, ureters and urethra. Bladder infections are the most common type of UTI. If left untreated, a bladder infection can spread to the kidneys.
UTIs are more common in women, but men can also develop UTIs. UTIs are also common in kids.
Bladder infections that spread to the kidneys can lead to more serious health problems, including blood poisoning, kidney disease and permanent kidney damage.
Urinary tract infections: what you need to know
Symptoms of urinary tract infections
Urinary tract infection symptoms include the following:
- Burning or pain during urination
- Feeling like you haven’t emptied your bladder after urinating
- Increased need to urinate
Causes of urinary tract infections
Causes of UTIs include the following:
- Sexual activity
- Recently having a catheter for a medical procedure
- Not drinking enough fluids
- Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
Risk factors for urinary tract infections
You are more susceptible to UTIs if you have any of the following health conditions:
Preventing urinary tract infections
You can help prevent UTIs by doing the following:
- Drinking plenty of fluids
- Urinating before and after sexual activity
- Urinating when you need to (do not hold it)
How can I get help for a UTI?
Let your doctor know if any of the following occur with your symptoms:
- Fever or chills
- Lower back pain on one side
- Mental changes or confusion (particularly in older adults)
- Nausea or vomiting
If you have frequent or recurrent UTIs (infections that return after you’ve treated a UTI), specialists at Rush can help you find the cause of your infections and medications that can help.
Care for urinary tract infections at Rush
The most common treatments for UTIs include the following:
- Over-the-counter pain relievers
If you have a bladder infection, your symptoms will typically disappear about 24 to 48 hours after starting antibiotics. Kidney infections can take longer to treat, depending how serious the infection is.
You may wish to take advantage of SmartExam, our online diagnosis and treatment system, to receive care for a UTI. Using SmartExam, you can save a trip to the doctor's office by connecting to a Rush provider using your smartphone or computer. The service costs $30. UTIs are among the many common conditions that can be treated through SmartExam.
Why choose Rush for urinary tract infections
- Urologists at Rush are experts in urinary and kidney problems and will work with you to determine the most effective treatments and procedures to treat these conditions.
- The urology program at Rush is consistently ranked among the top in the country by U.S. News and World Report.
- Pediatric urologists at Rush expertly treat UTIs in children and determine ways to prevent frequent UTIs in children.
- The Program for Abdominal and Pelvic Health at Rush offers care for abdominal and pelvic health issues, including urinary tract conditions. Specialists at Rush will address the full spectrum of issues that could be causing your UTI.