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Urinary Tract Infection In Women

What is a urinary tract infection?

A urinary tract infection (UTI) is caused by bacteria that get inside your urinary tract. Your urinary tract includes your kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. Urine is made in your kidneys, and it flows from the ureters to the bladder. Urine leaves the bladder through the urethra. A UTI is more common in your lower urinary tract, which includes your bladder and urethra.


What increases my risk for a UTI?

  • Medical conditions, such as diabetes or obesity

  • History of a UTI

  • Pregnancy

  • Menopause

  • Sexual intercourse

  • Urinary tract problems, such as a narrowing, kidney stones, or inability to empty your bladder completely

What are the signs and symptoms of a UTI?

  • Urinating more often or waking from sleep to urinate

  • Pain or burning when you urinate

  • Pain or pressure in your lower abdomen

  • Urine that smells bad

  • Blood in your urine

  • Leaking urine

How is a UTI diagnosed?

  • A urine test may show which bacteria is causing your infection.

  • An ultrasound or CT may show the infection. You may be given contrast liquid to help the urinary tract show up better in the pictures. Tell the healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast liquid.

How is a UTI treated?

Medicines treat the bacterial infection or decrease pain and burning when you urinate. You may also need medicines to decrease the urge to urinate often.

How can I manage my symptoms?

  • Urinate when you feel the urge. Do not hold your urine. Urinate as soon as you feel you have to.

  • Drink liquids as directed. Ask how much liquid to drink each day and which liquids are best for you. You may need to drink more fluids than usual to help flush out the bacteria. Do not drink alcohol, caffeine, and citrus juices. These can irritate your bladder and increase your symptoms.

  • Apply heat on your abdomen for 20 to 30 minutes every 2 hours for as many days as directed. Heat helps decrease discomfort and pressure in your bladder.

When should I contact my healthcare provider?

  • You have a fever.

  • You have white or yellow discharge from your vagina.

  • You do not feel better after 2 days of taking antibiotics.

  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

When should I seek immediate care or call 911?

  • You are urinating very little or not at all.

  • You are vomiting.

  • You have a high fever with shaking chills.

  • You have side or back pain that gets worse.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

© 2015 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

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