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.

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Urinary Tract Infection Risks & Symptoms

Women have a higher risk of developing UTIs compared to men, as do individuals that are diabetic, sexually 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.