Urinary Tract Infections In Women
UTIs are common, particularly with increasing age. Women are more likely to get a UTI than men. Nearly 1 in 3 women will have a UTI needing treatment before the age of 24.
In women, the urethra is short and straight, making it easier for germs to travel into the bladder. For some women, UTIs relate to changes in their hormonal levels. Some are more likely to get an infection during certain times in their menstrual cycle, such as just before a period or during pregnancy.
In older women, the tissues of the urethra and bladder become thinner and drier with age as well as after menopause or a hysterectomy. This can be linked to increased UTIs.
During pregnancy, the drainage system from the kidney to the bladder widens so urine does not drain as quickly. This makes it easier to get a UTI. Sometimes germs can move from the bladder to the kidney causing a kidney infection. UTIs during pregnancy can result in increased blood pressure, so it is very important to have them treated as soon as possible.
Women are more at risk of repeated UTIs if they:
- use spermicide jelly or diaphragm for contraception
- have had a new sexual partner in the last year
- had their first UTI at or before 15 years of age
- have a family history of repeated UTIs, particularly their mother
- suffer from constipation
You’ve Got Cramps But No Pms
Abdominal cramping and pain are other symptoms of a UTI. However, a lot of women mistake them for PMS cramps, low-back issues, or even muscle soreness from overdoing deadlifts at the gym, Ross says.
Dont fall for it! This is one symptom you should definitely pay attention to, especially if the pain increases over time, is sharp and localized to your lower back, or is accompanied by a fever, she says. This may indicate that the infection has moved up into your kidneys, a potentially serious complication that can land you in the hospital.
You might describe this type of pain might be described as “pressure down there,” Conway notes. Like Ross, Conway says it’s important to seek treatment immediately if this type of pain migrates to your back or you spike a fever.
Ok Got It But Then What Is A Kidney Infection
A kidney infection is, in essence, a UTI that has spread into the kidneys. While this type of infection is rare, its also very dangerous and if youre experiencing any of the following signs of a kidney infection, you should see a doctor immediately:
Upper back or side pain
Fever, shaking or chills
While most kidney infections can be treated simply with an antibiotic, if left untreated, a kidney infection can cause damage to your kidneys, leading to chronic kidney disease. The bacteria could even spread to your bloodstream creating a life-threatening situation.
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Uti Tests And Diagnosis
If you suspect that you have a urinary tract infection, go to the doctor. You’ll give a urine sample to test for UTI-causing bacteria.
If you get frequent UTIs and your doctor suspects a problem in your urinary tract, they might take a closer look with an ultrasound, a CT scan, or an MRI scan. They might also use a long, flexible tube called a cystoscope to look inside your urethra and bladder.
Which Infections Are Worse
NIDDK . A kidney infection is usually caused by a bladder or urethra infection where the bacteria multiply and travel upward toward the kidneys.
Kidney infections can be extremely serious and painful, sometimes leading to hospitalization to receive intravenous antibiotics. If left untreated, kidney infections due to UTIs can cause infections in the bloodstream. This can be life-threatening.
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Urgent Advice: Ask For An Urgent Gp Appointment Or Get Help From Nhs 111 If:
You think you, your child or someone you care for may have a urinary tract infection and:
- a very high temperature, or feeling hot and shivery
- a very low temperature below 36C
- are confused, drowsy or have difficulty speaking
- have not been for a pee all day
- have pain in the lower tummy or in the back, just under the ribs
- can see blood in their pee
These symptoms could mean you have a kidney infection, which can be serious if it’s not treated as it could cause .
You can call 111 or get help from 111 online.
Bladder Infections In Women
40 percent of women in the United States develop a urinary tract infection at some point in their life.
This is because women have shorter urethras, making the path to the bladder easier for bacteria to reach. Womens urethras are also located closer to the rectum than mens urethras. This means there is a shorter distance for bacteria to travel.
During pregnancy, changes in the urinary tract increase the risk of an infection. Changes in the immune system also increase risk during pregnancy.
Women are also more prone to recurring infections. About of women will experience a second infection within 6 months of their first infection.
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Will A Uti Go Away On Its Own
“A very mild UTI might resolve on its own in a few days, but more often than not a short course of antibiotics is needed to treat a UTI,” says Dr. Kannady. “After initiation of antibiotics, UTI symptoms usually begin to resolve as early as the next day.”
In the meantime, drinking plenty of fluids may help flush out the infection-causing bacteria and over-the-counter medications can help ease discomfort and pain.
But don’t put too much stock in common UTI home remedies. For instance, drinking cranberry juice hasn’t been shown to help relieve a UTI .
Other Ways To Prevent Some Utis Coming Back
If you keep getting a bladder infection , there is some evidence it may be helpful to take:
- D-mannose a sugar you can buy as a powder or tablets to take every day
- cranberry products available as juice, tablets or capsules to take every day
Speak to your doctor before taking any of these during pregnancy.
Be aware that D-mannose and cranberry products can contain a lot of sugar.
If you’re taking warfarin, you should avoid cranberry products.
Page last reviewed: 22 March 2022 Next review due: 22 March 2025
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What To Do If You Keep Getting Utis
“It’s also important to consult your doctor if you’re getting UTIs frequently which is about three or more times per year,” Dr. Kannady recommends.
Recurrent UTIs are fairly common, and they’re also often effectively controlled via lifestyle changes. In some cases, though, your doctor may recommend that you see a urologist for further evaluation.
“Frequent UTIs are sometimes the result of an underlying health issue, such as kidney stones or abnormalities in your kidneys, bladder, or urethra,” Dr. Kannady adds. “A urologist can rule out or diagnose and treat issues such as these, as well as provide further guidance on how to prevent UTI reoccurrence.”
What Causes A Bladder Infection
The type of bacteria that causes bladder infections is Escherichia coli entering the bladder via the urethra or ureter. The bladder will often flush them out, but when they cling to the wall of the bladder and begin to multiply is when an infection becomes present.
E. Coli lives in the large intestine and is found in stool. When bacteria from stool touch the skin, E. Coli enters the body. The reason women suffer from more bladder infections than men is that their urethra is shorter and closer to the rectum, making the trip for bacteria easy.
Other reasons for bladder infections can include:
- sexual activity
- vaginal infections
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When Should I Visit The Doctor For A Bladder Infection
You should talk to a doctor if youve contracted a bladder infection for the first time. You should also seek medical advice if you develop the symptoms of an upper UTI, if your symptoms havent cleared up after a few days or are getting worse, or if you find that you are getting infections frequently.
Your doctor will be able to prescribe a short course of antibiotics such as Nitrofurantoin, which can clear up the infection within a few days.
How Are Utis Treated
Treatments for UTIs often depend on the severity of the infection. Doctors often divide UTIs into simple and complicated infections.
Bladder infections usually fall into the simple category. Doctors can usually treat them with antibiotics over the course of three to five days. Common antibiotics used to treat bladder infections include trimethoprim, ciprofloxacin, and amoxicillin-clavulanate potassium.
If you have an infection, you should always take all of your antibiotics, even if you feel better. This keeps the infection from coming back.
Complicated UTIs are harder to treat. Kidney infections usually fall into this category. If you have a complicated UTI, you may require IV antibiotics and have to take antibiotics for a week or more.
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Burning Sensation You May Have A Uti
A urinary tract infection or UTI happens in millions of Americans each year. A UTI can cause pain during urination and more commonly affects women. Several signs show the severity of the infection. These include intense back pain. Understanding whats happening during a UTI can help people get the right treatment right away.
How To Feel Better
If your healthcare professional prescribes you antibiotics:
- Take antibiotics exactly as your healthcare professional tells you.
- Do not share your antibiotics with others.
- Do not save antibiotics for later. Talk to your healthcare professional about safely discarding leftover antibiotics.
Drink plenty of water or other fluids. Your healthcare professional might also recommend medicine to help lessen the pain or discomfort. Talk with your healthcare professional if you have any questions about your antibiotics.
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Bladder Infection Vs Uti: What’s The Difference
You keep running to the bathroom to peeor setting up shop closer to the bathroomonly to produce a few drops. On top of that dissatisfying trickle, it feels like you have killer cramps and burns when you go. You guessed it you likely have a bladder infection or a urinary tract infection . But dont panic. UTIs are common and you can get treatment for a UTI online.
When Should I Call My Doctor About A Bladder Infection
If you experience the symptoms of a bladder infection or urinary tract infection, call your healthcare provider to discuss a treatment plan.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Bladder infections are common urinary tract infections. You might feel pain and burning when you pee, as well as the urge to pee more frequently than you normally do. If you have these inflammatory symptoms, call your healthcare provider. You should start to feel better after a few days of antibiotic treatment, but its important to finish the entire prescription so the infection doesnt return.
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What Are The Symptoms Of A Uti
- Pain or burning when urinating
- An urge to urinate often, but not much comes out when you go
- Pressure in your lower abdomen
- Urine that smells bad or looks milky or cloudy
- Blood in the urine. This is more common in younger women. If you see blood in your urine, tell a doctor or nurse right away.
- Feeling tired, shaky, confused, or weak. This is more common in older women.
- Having a fever, which may mean the infection has reached your kidneys
What Is A Uti Anyway
A UTI, or urinary tract infection, happens when bacteria enters into any part of your urinary system, which includes the urethra, the bladder, the kidneys or the uterus. If not flushed out of the system, the bacteria can lead to an infection, or a UTI.
If youve ever had a UTI , you probably havent forgotten the symptoms. UTIs are very unpleasant, to say the least, and are often accompanied with one or more of the following:
A burning sensation when urinating
A strong urge to urinate often, usually passing only small amounts of urine at a time.
Cloudy and/or strong smelling urine
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How To Know If You Have A Bladder Infection
Bladder infections symptoms can vary across the board, but there are some you should not ignore.
Bladder Infection Symptoms
2. Frequent Urination
Visiting the restroom several times in a few hours is a good indicator of a bladder infection.
3. Feeling The Urgency to Urinate
Even after emptying your bladder, the urge to go remains.
4. Unusual Urine
If you find blood in your urine, you probably have a bladder infection. A strong odor or cloudy urine can be a symptom, too.
5. Other Symptoms
Some men and women experience fever, chills, nausea, vomiting if the infection has traveled to the kidneys.
Causes Of Urinary Tract Infections
Urinary tract infections are usually caused by bacteria from poo entering the urinary tract.
The bacteria enter through the tube that carries pee out of the body .
Women have a shorter urethra than men. This means bacteria are more likely to reach the bladder or kidneys and cause an infection.
Things that increase the risk of bacteria getting into the bladder include:
do not use scented soap
do not hold your pee in if you feel the urge to go
do not rush when going for a pee try to fully empty your bladder
do not wear tight, synthetic underwear, such as nylon
do not drink lots of alcoholic drinks, as they may irritate your bladder
do not have lots of sugary food or drinks, as they may encourage bacteria to grow
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How Common Are Urinary Tract Infections
Urinary tract infections are very common, occurring in 1 out of 5 women sometime in their lifetime. Though UTIs are common in women, they can also happen to men, older adults and children. One to 2% of children develop urinary tract infections. Each year, 8 million to 10 million visits to doctors are for urinary tract infections.
Seattle Children’s Urgent Care Locations
If your childs illness or injury is life-threatening, call 911.
Treatment for a Bladder Infection
Prevention of Bladder Infections in Girls
Can Utis Be Prevented
A few things can help prevent UTIs. After peeing, girls should wipe from front to back with toilet paper. After BMs, wipe from front to back to avoid spreading bacteria from the rectal area to the urethra.
Also, go to the bathroom when needed and don’t hold the pee in. Pee that stays in the bladder gives bacteria a good place to grow.
Keep the genital area clean and dry. Girls should change their tampons and pads regularly during their periods. Bubble baths can irritate the vaginal area, so girls should take showers or plain baths. Avoid long exposure to moisture in the genital area by not wearing nylon underwear or wet swimsuits. Wearing underwear with cotton crotches is also helpful. Skip using feminine hygiene sprays or douches, as these can irritate the urethra.
If you are sexually active, go to the bathroom both before and within 15 minutes after sex. After sex, gently wash the genital area to remove any bacteria. Avoid sexual positions that irritate or hurt the urethra or bladder. Couples who use lubrication during sex should use a water-soluble lubricant such as K-Y Jelly.
Finally, drinking lots of water each day keeps the bladder active and bacteria-free.
UTIs are uncomfortable and often painful, but they’re common and easily treated. The sooner you contact your doctor, the sooner you’ll be able to get rid of the problem.
Ok So How Do I Make Sure I Never Get A Uti Or A Kidney Infection
As they say, prevention is the best cure! And there are many things you can do to ensure that youre reducing your risk for an infection, and preventing build up from occurring in the kidneys.
Practice good hygiene. Always wipe from front to back, keep your genital area clean, wash before and after sex. Basically, do your best to keep bacteria from even having a chance of getting into the urinary system in the first place.
Drink lots of water. If youre dehydrated, youre not only increasing your chance of a UTI, but youre also decreasing your urine output, meaning that more minerals have a chance to build up and settle in the urinary tract or kidneys.
Make sure to urinate whenever you feel you have to go. Dont hold it in. This concentrates the urine allowing bacteria to build up and spread.
Alter your diet if you find youre prone to kidney stones. Cut down on certain meats and shellfish and opting instead for more vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Avoid consuming too much sugar. Cut back on sodium, and eat more oxalate-rich foods .
And if you do start experiencing any of the symptoms above, be sure to see a doctor right away. UTIs, kidney infections, and kidney stones can usually be treated fairly easily, but its important to seek medical attention before any complications develop.
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