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Urinary Tract Infection In Women
A urinary tract infection (UTI)
is caused by bacteria that get inside your urinary tract. Most bacteria that enter your urinary tract come out when you urinate. If the bacteria stay in your urinary tract, you may get an infection. 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.
Common symptoms include the following:
- 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
Seek care immediately if:
- You are urinating very little or not at all.
- You have a high fever with shaking chills.
- You have side or back pain that gets worse.
Contact your healthcare provider if:
- You have a fever.
- You do not feel better after 2 days of taking antibiotics.
- You are vomiting.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
Treatment for a UTI
may include medicines to treat a bacterial infection. You may also need medicines to decrease pain and burning, or decrease the urge to urinate often.
Prevent a UTI:
- Empty your bladder often. Urinate and empty your bladder as soon as you feel the need. Do not hold your urine for long periods of time.
- Wipe from front to back after you urinate or have a bowel movement. This will help prevent germs from getting into your urinary tract through your urethra.
- 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 liquids than usual to help flush out the bacteria. Do not drink alcohol, caffeine, or citrus juices. These can irritate your bladder and increase your symptoms. Your healthcare provider may recommend cranberry juice to help prevent a UTI.
- Urinate after you have sex. This can help flush out bacteria passed during sex.
- Do not douche or use feminine deodorants. These can change the chemical balance in your vagina.
- Change sanitary pads or tampons often. This will help prevent germs from getting into your urinary tract.
- Do pelvic muscle exercises often. Pelvic muscle exercises may help you start and stop urinating. Strong pelvic muscles may help you empty your bladder easier. Squeeze these muscles tightly for 5 seconds like you are trying to hold back urine. Then relax for 5 seconds. Gradually work up to squeezing for 10 seconds. Do 3 sets of 15 repetitions a day, or as directed.
Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
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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.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
Learn more about Urinary Tract Infection In Women (Ambulatory Care)
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