Living and Wellness Urinary Tract Infections 101: Symptoms, Risk Factors, and More By Urgent Care, November 24, 2013 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, 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.