Urinary Tract Infection

Urinary tract infections can affect the kidneys (acute pyelonephritis), bladder (cystitis), or urethra (urethritis). Generally speaking, urinary tract infections include symptoms like frequent and/or painful urination, cloudy or strong-smelling urine, and pelvic pain.

Symptoms of kidney infections can include fever, nausea/vomiting, and pain in the upper back and side. Bladder infection symptoms can include painful urination, blood in the urine, discomfort in the lower abdomen, and pressure in the pelvis. With urethritis, symptoms can include burning pain with urination and discharge.

What Causes Urinary Tract Infections?

Urinary tract infections are caused by bacteria that enters through the urethra and multiplies in the bladder. They are more common in women than men because the urethra is shorter, so bacteria have less distance to travel to reach the bladder. Using a diaphragm or spermicide increases your risk of urinary tract infections. After menopause, urinary tract infections can also increase.

Urinary tract infections can also be caused by a blockage (like kidney stones) or an immune system that is not functioning properly. Sometimes people get urinary tract infections from using a catheter to urinate.

How are Urinary Tract Infections Diagnosed?

A urine sample can be analyzed to check for white blood cells or bacteria. Sometimes a urine culture is also included in the analysis. Patients may also need an ultrasound, CT scan or MRI to discover whether a structural problem is causing persistent infections. Sometimes a cystoscopy is required, in which a thin scope is used to examine the inside of the urethra and bladder.

What is the Treatment for a Urinary Tract Infection?

Antibiotics are prescribed to treat urinary tract infections. If the infection is unusually severe, the antibiotics may be given intravenously.

Drinking more water than normal can help to flush out the bacteria causing a urinary tract infection. Avoiding drinks that irritate the bladder is also a good idea. These include anything with caffeine, alcohol, or soda with citrus juice.

Departments & Services

Meet our Urinary Tract Infection Specialists: