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Urinary Tract Infection in Women
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
What is a urinary tract infection (UTI)?
A 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?
- A urinary catheter or self-catheterization
- Urinary tract problems, such as a narrowing, kidney stones, or inability to empty your bladder completely
- History of a UTI
- Sexual intercourse
- Diabetes or obesity
What are the signs and symptoms of a UTI?
- Urinating more often than usual, leaking urine, 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
How is a UTI diagnosed?
Your healthcare provider will ask about your signs and symptoms. Your provider may press on your abdomen, sides, and back to check if you feel pain. Your urine will be tested for bacteria that may be causing your infection. If you have UTIs often, you may need more tests to find the cause.
How is a UTI treated?
- Antibiotics help fight a bacterial infection.
- Medicines may be given to decrease pain and burning when you urinate. They will also help decrease the feeling that you need to urinate often. These medicines will make your urine orange or red.
What can I do to 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.
When should I seek immediate care?
- 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.
When should I contact my healthcare provider?
- You have a mild fever.
- You do not feel better after 2 days of taking antibiotics.
- You have new symptoms, such as blood or pus in your urine.
- You are vomiting.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
Care AgreementYou have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers 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.
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Learn more about Urinary Tract Infection in Women
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