The urinary tract is the body’s drainage system for removing wastes and extra water. It includes the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. A urinary tract infection (UTI) occurs when a bacteria infects any part of the urinary tract.
Urinary Tract Infection Risks & Symptoms
Women have a higher risk of developing UTIs compared to men, as do individuals that are diabetic, sexual active, pregnant, and don’t drink enough fluids. See your doctor if you are a high risk individual and/or have any of the following symptoms:
- Strong urges to urinate
- Burning feeling during urination
- Cloudy or bright red urine
- Strong-smelling urine
- Pelvic or rectal pain
- Fever and nausea
Most UTIs can be treated by a primary care doctor or urgent care physician. Doctors typically prescribe antibiotics to treat UTIs, and symptoms clear up within a few days to a few weeks. Severe infections may be referred to an urologist (specializes in urinary disorders) or nephrologist (specializes in kidney disorders) for further treatment.
Ways to Help Prevent UTIs
- Urinate often and when the urge arises. Bacteria can grow when urine stays in the bladder too long.
- Drinking lots of fluid (water is best) to help flush bacteria out of the system.
- Urinate shortly after sex to help flush away bacteria.
- Wipe from front to back after using the toilet to prevent bacteria from entering into the urethra.
- Wear cotton underwear and loose-fitting clothes so air can keep the urethra dry.
- Use lubricated condoms without spermicide or a non-spermicidal lubricant during sex. A diaphragm or spermicide for birth control can promote bacteria growth and lead to UTIs.