Urinary Tract Infection (UTI): Symptoms and Prevention

 

What is a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)?

A UTI is an infection in the urinary tract.  Most UTIs are caused by bacteria that live in the bowel but get into the urinary tract where they cause infection.

The urinary tract is how the body removes wastes and extra water. The urinary tract includes two kidneys, two ureters, a bladder, and a urethra.

UTIs are the second most common type of infection in the body. Women are more likely than men to get UTIs.  People who have trouble emptying their bladder all the way and people with a catheter (a tube in the bladder) are more likely to get a UTI.

UTIs are the second most common type of infection in the body. Women are more likely than men to get UTIs.  People who have trouble emptying their bladder all the way and people with a catheter (a tube in the bladder) are more likely to get a UTI.

 

What are common signs and symptoms of a UTI?

UTIs don't always cause signs and symptoms but when they do they may include:

  • Feeling like you have to urinate often or urgently

  • Passing only small amounts of urine but having a strong urge to urinate

  • Pain and/or burning with urination

  • Back or side pain, nausea, or vomiting (may indicate the infection has spread to the kidneys or, in men, the prostate)

  • Fever, at times, but people often have a UTI with no fever

  • Urine may be dark, cloudy, bloody, and have a foul smell

 

UTI symptoms may show up differently in older adults.

Older adults may:

•        Feel weak, shaky, and more tired. This may increase your risk for falls.  Make sure you take your time and ask for help with transfers and walking to stay safe

•        Have stomach pain

•        Have muscle aches

•        Act confused or agitated

 

What can you do to prevent getting a UTI?

  • Drink at least six to eight (8 ounce) glasses of fluids, especially water, each day unless your doctor tells you to drink less
  • Drink cranberry juice; some studies show this may help
  • Urinate when you have to go instead of trying to “hold it”
  • Wipe front to back after using to the bathroom
  • Urinate shortly after having sex
  • Avoid using products like sprays, douches, or powders in the urethra area
  • Talk with your doctor about your birth control method; some may promote bacterial growth
  • Wear cotton underwear and loose fitting pants

 

What should you do if you think you might have a UTI?

  • Call your health care provider and report your how you are feeling

  • Follow up as directed by your health care provider

 

Western Wisconsin Cares Prevention and Wellness Team