A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection of any part of the urinary tract, which includes the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. A UTI can be a bladder infection (cystitis) or kidney infection (pyelonephritis).
- Fungi, viruses, or bacteria.
- Bacteria are the most common cause.
- Repeated incomplete emptying of the bladder during urination.
- You ignore your need to urinate or hold urine for long periods of time.
- You do not empty your bladder completely during urination.
- You wipe back to front after urinating or having a bowel movement, if you are female.
- You are uncircumcised, if you are male.
- You are constipated.
- You have a urinary catheter that stays in place (indwelling).
- You have a weak defense (immune) system.
- You have a medical condition that affects your bowels, kidneys, or bladder.
- You have diabetes.
- You take antibiotic medicines frequently or for long periods of time, and the antibiotics no longer work well against certain types of infections (antibiotic resistance).
- You take medicines that irritate your urinary tract.
- You are exposed to chemicals that irritate your urinary tract.
- You are female.
- Frequent urination or passing small amounts of urine frequently.
- Needing to urinate urgently.
- Pain or burning with urination.
- Urine that smells bad or unusual.
- Cloudy urine.
- Pain in the lower abdomen or back.
- Trouble urinating.
- Blood in the urine.
- Vomiting or being less hungry than normal.
- Diarrhea or abdominal pain.
- Vaginal discharge, if you are female.
- A medical history and physical exam.
- You will also need to provide a urine sample to test your urine.
- Blood tests.
- Sexually transmitted disease (STD) testing.
- If you have had more than one UTI, a cystoscopy or imaging studies may be done to determine the cause of the infections.
- Antibiotic medicine.
- Other medicines to treat less common causes of UTI.
- Over-the-counter medicines to treat pain.
- Drinking enough water to stay hydrated.
Follow these instructions at home:
- Take over-the-counter and prescription medicines only as told by your health care provider.
- If you were prescribed an antibiotic, take it as told by your health care provider. Do not stop taking the antibiotic even if you start to feel better.
- Avoid alcohol, caffeine, tea, and carbonated beverages. They can irritate your bladder.
- Drink enough fluid to keep your urine clear or pale yellow.
- Keep all follow-up visits as told by your health care provider.
- Make sure to:
- Empty your bladder often and completely. Do not hold urine for long periods of time.
- Empty your bladder before and after sex.
- Wipe from front to back after a bowel movement if you are female. Use each tissue one time when you wipe.
Contact a health care provider if:
- You have back pain.
- You have a fever.
- You feel nauseous or vomit.
- Your symptoms do not get better after 3 days.
- Your symptoms go away and then return.
Get help right away if:
- You have severe back pain or lower abdominal pain.
- You are vomiting and cannot keep down any medicines or water.
This information is not intended to replace advice given to you by your health care provider.