What is a UTI?
A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection of the urinary tract system. The infection can be located in any part of the urinary tract system, including the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra, and causes the urinary tract to become red, irritated, and inflamed. When infection strikes the kidneys, it is called pyelonephritis; the bladder, cystitis; and the urethra, urethritis. The most common UTIs involve the lower urinary tract, which includes the bladder and urethra. Women are more likely to develop a UTI than men. These infections are typically treated with antibiotics.
The Different Types of UTIs
As there are different parts of the urinary tract system, there are also different types of UTIs one can develop. It’s also important to note that each type of UTI can result in its own specific signs and symptoms, depending on the part of the urinary tract that is infected. The different types of UTIs include pyelonephritis, which affects the kidneys, cystitis, which affects the bladder, and urethritis, which affects the urethra. Below, we’ve gone into more detail about each type:
- Pyelonephritis – This type of UTI affects the kidneys. This UTI can cause fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, and pain in the upper back or sides of the body.
- Cystitis – This type of UTI affects the bladder. This UTI can cause you to feel like you need to pee frequently, and it might hurt when you do so. You may also have cloudy or bloody urine.
- Urethritis – This type of UTI affects the urethra and can cause discharge when you urinate.
The Causes of a UTI
While there is no singular cause of UTIs, they most commonly occur when bacteria enters the urinary tract, typically through the urethra. From there, the bacteria multiply and move into the bladder. Ideally, our urinary systems are designed to keep our microscopic invaders like bacteria, but they are not always successful in doing so. Once inside the urinary tract, bacteria causes inflammation and infection. Although most UTIs occur when bacteria enters through the urethra, bacteria can also travel up the ureters and infect the kidneys. Causes of UTIs can include bacteria from the large intestine leaking from the anus into the urethra. Some women are more likely to get UTIs because of their genes or the shape of their urinary tracts. Women also have shorter urethras than men, which makes it easier for bacteria to get into their bladders. Having sex can also potentially cause bacteria to get into the urinary system.
The Symptoms of a UTI
While it’s possible for patients to have UTIs without having any symptoms or noticeable signs, UTIs most commonly present themselves with a wide range of symptoms. These include, but aren’t limited to:
- A persistent, intense urge to urinate
- A burning sensation when urinating
- Lower abdomen pain or pressure
- Lower back pain or pressure
- Painful urination (dysuria)
- Passing frequent, small amounts of urine
- Urine that smells strongly and strangely
- Cloudy, dark, or bloody urine
- The incessant need to urinate at night
- Fever, chills, vomiting, lethargy
- Pain or discomfort during intercourse
Contact Us Today for UTI Treatment
A UTI can be extremely uncomfortable for both men and women, especially depending on what type of UTI you are suffering from. If you’re wondering when to seek treatment, we advise doing so as soon as you notice one or more of the symptoms listed above. The longer one waits to seek treatment, the more painful the symptoms can become, and the more the infection can spread from one part of the urinary tract to the next. At 45 Urgent Care, patients can expect convenient care that is also professional and compassionate. If you think you may have a UTI, contact us today to schedule an appointment.