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Urinary Tract Infection Mayo Clinic

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What Causes Urinary Tract Infections

Mayo Clinic Minute: Treating Urinary Tract Infections

Normal urine is sterile and contains fluids, salts, and waste products. It does not contain bacteria, viruses, or fungi. A UTI occurs when germs, most often bacteria from the digestive tract, get into the opening of the urethra and start to multiply.

Most UTIs are caused by E. coli bacteria, which normally live in the colon.

Symptoms: How Do You Know If You Have A Uti

UTI symptoms are unpleasant, but knowing what to expect can help you feel more calm and in control.

Here are a list of symptoms to watch out for according to the Mayo Clinic:

  • Frequent or urgent need to pee
  • Pain or burning when you urinate
  • Bad-smelling or cloudy urine
  • Blood or pus in your urine
  • Soreness, pressure, or cramps in your lower belly, back, or sides

Note: Itching is not a symptom of a UTI. If you experience vaginal itch along with UTI, you may have a vaginal infection . Please see a qualified medical professional to make sure. Solv can help you find same-day appointments with a provider near you.

If left untreated, its possible for a UTI to spread to the kidneys and become a much more serious infection, notes the Mayo Clinic. If this happens, they note that you may experience the following physical signs:

  • Pain in your mid-back

Mayo Clinic Minute: Treating Urinary Tract Infections

Urinary tract infections are common. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that UTIs are responsible for 8.1 million trips to health care providers each year. All adults and children are susceptible to UTIs however, women are at greatest risk. Symptoms vary depending on the severity of the infection, and include pain when urinating, abdominal discomfort and fever.

In this Mayo Clinic Minute, reporter Vivien Williams talks to a Mayo Clinic expert about what to do if you suspect you have a urinary tract infection.

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The 4 Basics Of A Urinary Tract Infection

The urinary system is made up of the kidneys, renal pelvis, ureters, bladder, and urethra. With so many organs working together, it is common for an infection of one to impact another. The Mayo Clinic defines a urinary tract infection as an infection in any part of your urinary system. It is important to understand it to be able to treat one when necessary.

Myth: A Uti Always Goes Away On Its Own

Cystitis vs UTI  KNOW &  TREAT UTI

Fact: Rarely, UTIs can go away without treatment with antibiotics. However, Dr. Rohatsch advises getting checked by a healthcare professional. He states, Not all infections are mild. Sometimes, if left untreated, a UTI infection can spread to the kidneys and become a serious infection. He adds, You are at greater risk of a more severe infection if you are an older adult, pregnant, or get UTIs frequently. In these cases, it is even more important to talk to a healthcare provider.

Also Check: Function Of Kidney In Urinary System

Can Urinary Tract Infections Be Prevented

These steps may help reduce the chance of getting UTIs:

  • Drink plenty of water every day.
  • Drink cranberry juice. Large amounts of vitamin C limit the growth of some bacteria by acidifying the urine. Vitamin C supplements have the same effect.
  • Urinate when you feel the need. Do not wait.
  • Take showers instead of tub baths.
  • Clean the genital area before and after sex, and urinate shortly after sex.
  • Women should not use feminine hygiene sprays or scented douches.
  • Cotton underwear and loose fitting clothes help keep the area around the urethra dry. Tight clothes and nylon underwear trap moisture. This can help bacteria grow.
  • Repeated bouts of urinary tract infections can be treated with small doses of regular antibiotics.

Please consult your health care provider with any questions or concerns you may have about UTIs.

Who Gets Utis Which Children And Toddlers Are At Risk

UTIs are most common in immunosuppressed children and children who have been on antibiotics for a long period of time for other issues. If your child recently went through an organ transplantation, they are also more vulnerable to a urinary tract infection. Children can also be born with abnormalities of their urinary tract that make them more likely to get an infection.

Adults are also vulnerable to urinary tract infections.

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How Do I Get Treatment

Your doctor will either do a urinalysis or a urine culture to determine if you do have a UTI. Once they have diagnosed the condition, the treatment is most commonly an antibiotic. Antibiotics are the types of medicine that kill bacteria and fight infection.

The prescription relies on what type of bacteria your specific UTI is to fight off the infection accurately. From here, it is important to complete the entire course of antibiotics for the length of time prescribed, even if symptoms start to dissipate. Some women have frequent UTIs that require more conversation with their doctor about the best treatment options to decrease the chances of having another.

Urinary tract infections are a common condition that can become a problem for any woman. By understanding how they are caused and the symptoms, we can avoid turning one issue into something even more extensive. Do you think you are suffering from a urinary tract infection? Kernodle OB/GYN can help you figure it out and determine the best course of treatment for your situation. Check out our website or give us a call for more information today.

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Myth: Utis Are Sexually Transmitted Infections

Ask Mayo Clinic Health System Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)

Fact: Sexual activity can increase the risk for, but it does not cause a UTI. Therefore, UTIs are not classified as sexually transmitted infections.

The act of intercourse can cause bacteria to get close to or into the urethra, the small tube that empties your bladder. Lower your risk by urinating after intercourse to remove some of the bacteria before it can cause an infection.

Talk with your health care team if you think you have a UTI. Seek medical attention if you believe you have a UTI and are experiencing a fever, chills, disorientation, or back or side pain.

Ross Avant, M.D., is a urologist in Albert Lea and Austin, Minnesota, and Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

For the safety of our patients, staff and visitors, Mayo Clinic has strict masking policies in place. Anyone shown without a mask was either recorded prior to COVID-19 or recorded in a non-patient care area where social distancing and other safety protocols were followed.

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Uti Tests And Diagnosis

If you suspect that you have a urinary tract infection, go to the doctor. You’ll give a urine sample to test for UTI-causing bacteria.

If you get frequent UTIs and your doctor suspects a problem in your urinary tract, they might take a closer look with an ultrasound, a CT scan, or an MRI scan. They might also use a long, flexible tube called a cystoscope to look inside your urethra and bladder.

What Is The Urinary Tract

The urinary tract gets rid of extra fluids and waste. The kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra are the organs that make up the tract. The kidneys filter blood and make the urine, the urine travels through the ureters to the bladder which stores the urine and then the urine passes through the urethra and out of the body.

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Myth: Probiotics Cure Utis

Fact: The short answer is yes and no. Yes, according to the Mayo Clinic, probiotics help develop colonies of good bacteria in our body. However, if you have an active UTI infection, probiotic supplements may be prescribed as part of an antibiotic regimen. There are various types of probiotics and its usually best to talk to a qualified professional about your specific condition before you begin taking probiotic supplements.

You may choose to consume natural probiotics like yogurt, kefir , kimchi, sauerkraut, or kombucha regularly for good health.

Myth: Only Women Can Get A Urinary Tract Infection

Urinary Tract Infection: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, and Diagnosis ...

Truth: UTIs can affect both men and women. Women are at greater risk for a UTI because the urethra is shorter than in men, so it’s easier for bacteria to travel to the bladder. UTIs also are more common in postmenopausal women because low estrogen levels change vaginal and urethral tissue to increase the risk of infection.

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Myth: All Utis Must Be Treated With Antibiotics

Truth: Not all UTIs require antibiotics.Some people can have bacteria in their bladders but not experience any symptoms. This is called asymptomatic bacteriuria. In most cases, no treatment is necessary as the bacteria is not causing issues.

But there are a few groups of people that may require treatment, including people who are pregnant, people with planned urologic surgery and people with weakened immune systems.

Antibiotics are used to treat UTIs when the person is experiencing painful or bothersome symptoms and bacteria present in the urine.

How To Prevent A Uti

Since UTIs are caused by unhealthy bacteria entering the urethra, the best way to prevent UTIs is to stop it from entering the urethra, reports the Mayo Clinic.

Heres how you can reduce your chances of getting an UTI according to the Mayo Clinic:

  • Stay hydrated: drink at least 6-8 glasses of water a day.
  • Dont hold your pee for too long. Try and urinate frequently . This helps flush the bacteria out of your bladder. If youre pregnant, you are at a higher risk of developing a UTI, especially if you do not urinate frequently.
  • Urinate immediately before and after sex to help flush out bacteria that may have been introduced during intercourse.
  • Do not leave tampons and pads in for too long. Change them frequently.
  • Check with your doctor if you think your diaphragm or spermicides are causing infection.
  • Take showers instead of baths.
  • Avoid tight-fitting clothing and pantyhose.

Though UTI symptoms can be painful, dont forget that they are very common and also treatable. Make an appointment with an urgent care center or visit your doctor to ensure youre on your way to feeling better . You can book an appointment online and skip the wait with Solv. If you want to speak to a provider immediately, Solv Now can get you a video consultation within 15 minutes.

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How To Treat A Uti

A UTI can be easy to self-diagnose, but only a clinician can truly confirm an infection. To start feeling better, consider a visit to your doctor or an urgent care center for an official diagnosis.

Getting your symptoms checked out is especially critical if you notice symptoms indicating the infection has spread to the kidneys. Kidney infections need to be treated immediately. You can talk to a healthcare professional through video in less than 15 minutes using Solv Now.

After discussing your symptoms and medical history, a professional will usually administer a test called a urinalysis, which requires you to pee in a cup. From there, they will test to see if any UTI-causing bacteria is present in the urine. Though a urinalysis is the most common UTI diagnosis method, ultrasounds, urinary tract images, and cystoscopies may be used to look further for complications associated with UTIs.

Since UTIs are a type of bacterial infection, they usually require an antibiotic prescription, reports the Mayo Clinic. This type of medication can only be prescribed by a doctor . Its important to follow the instructions given by the doctor or nurse regarding the medication.

  • Drink plenty of water
  • Avoid coffee or alcohol
  • Use a heating pad

When Should I Contact My Childs Healthcare Provider

Ask Mayo Clinic Health System Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs): Prevention & Treatment

Urinary tract infections need to be taken care of right away. Call a healthcare provider if your child:

  • Shows a decrease in feeding or drinking.
  • Isnt tolerating home medications.
  • Experiences an increase in fever or pain.
  • Becomes more irritable or inactive.
  • Has any signs or symptoms that worry you.

Quickly getting treatment for your childs UTI decreases the risk of kidney problems and the risk that the infection could spread.

A note from Cleveland Clinic

Although a urinary tract infection isnt a life-threatening condition, it may result in a hospital stay or lead to complications that can affect your childs quality of life. Be sure to have them checked out by their healthcare provider as soon as they show symptoms. Always make sure that your child takes all of their prescribed medication. Even if they seem better, you should still have them take the medication until the treatment is complete.

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Risk Factors For Recurrent Utis Include:

  • Frequent sexual intercourse, which increases the likelihood of bacteria entering the urethra and bladder.
  • Using spermicide with or without a diaphragm, as this can harm protective bacteria in the urinary tract that defend against infection.
  • Vaginal atrophy, which is a postmenopausal condition caused by decreased estrogen levels.
  • Genetics, especially the inherited genes that regulate the body’s immune response to infections.

It’s common for some people to have bacteria in their urine but not experience any symptoms. In these cases, no treatment is necessary.

Talk with your health care team if you think you have a UTI. You may need an appointment to discuss your symptoms and collect a urine sample.

You should seek medical attention if you develop a fever, chills, disorientation, or back or side pain. These could be signs of a kidney infection, which requires treatment, or a systemic infection of the bloodstream that requires hospitalization.

When May My Child Need To Be Hospitalized For A Uti

Your child may need to be hospitalized for the following reasons:

  • If theyre a young infant or child.
  • If they have a high fever.
  • If they have back pain.
  • If theyre dehydrated .
  • If he or she is unable to tolerate oral antibiotics.
  • When there is a concern that the infection has spread to their bloodstream.

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How Is Cystitis Diagnosed

If you have recurrent infections, your doctor may refer you to a urologist who may perform or order:

  • Cystoscopy to look at your urinary tract and check for signs of disease. A thin tube with a camera attached is inserted into your urethra to do so.
  • Imaging to see rare causes of inflammation such as a tumor or structural abnormality. Tests may include an X-ray or ultrasound.

A Uti Is An Infection In Any Part Of Your Urinary System

Kidney Cystitis


Drinking more water will help women avoid urinary tract infections , according to generations of women and now a study in JAMA. Women who added 1.5 litres of water each day to their regular intake of fluids were less likely to get another UTI, than women who drank less than that amount.

“It’s estimated 50 per cent of UTIs can be treated by drinking a significant amount of fluid alone,” says Felecia Fick, a Mayo Clinic urogynecology physician assistant who was not involved in the study. “The extra you’re drinking is flushing out the bacteria that are present in the urinary tract.”

She adds any type of fluid is fine, but sometimes the more acidic, the better. “There are mixed studies on the benefits of cranberry juice, but Mayo Clinic does recommend trying cranberry juice, cranberry extract or cranberry pills, as well as water,” says Fick.

A UTI is an infection in any part of your urinary system – your kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. Most infections involve the lower urinary tract – the bladder and urethra. Women are at greater risk of developing a UTI than men due to their shorter urethras, and serious consequences can occur if a UTI spreads to your kidneys.

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

A strong, persistent urge to urinate

A burning sensation when urinating

Passing frequent, small amounts of urine

Urine that appears cloudy and is strong-smelling


Wipe from front to back.

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What Are The Risks

The most significant risk for a urinary tract infection is when it is left untreated. When left untreated or with an incomplete course of antibiotics, a urinary tract infection can turn into a kidney infection. As the infection spreads, pain can increase, and more issues arise.

Once the infection spreads, you may feel more significant pain in your back as it spreads to the kidneys. When a UTI is paired with back pain, it is vital to get it treated as soon as possible to avoid further damage.

What Causes A Urinary Tract Infection In Toddlers

Normal urine is sterile and contains fluids, salts and waste products. An infection occurs when microorganisms cling to the opening of the urethra and begin to multiply. Most infections arise from Escherichia coli bacteria that normally live in the digestive tract.

Different bacteria can cause a urinary tract infection. The seven most common bacteria include the following:

  • Escherichia coli , found in about 85% of UTIs in children.
  • Pain in the back or side .

Recommended Reading: How To Treat Urinary Infection In Babies

Myth: All Utis Cause Symptoms

Truth: Most UTIs cause symptoms, like pain or burning when urinating feeling like you need to urinate often or a burning sensation while urinating. However, it is possible to have bacteria in the urinary tract but not have any UTI symptoms. This is called asymptomatic bacteriuria, and it is more common in older adults or people who use a catheter to empty their bladders.

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