More than half of women are likely to suffer from Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) at some point in their lifetime. Learn what it is and how it can occur.
We’re sure most of you have heard of Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) but maybe you aren’t completely sure about what it is or what causes it. Did you know that UTIs are some of the most common types of infections among women? More than 50% of us will get a UTI at some point in our lives, and 20-30% may get it multiple times. UTIs are caused by bacteria that cause infection within the urinary system. UTI are infections that can occur anywhere in our urinary tracts, such as kidneys, ureters, bladder, or the urethra. The most common site being the urethra and bladder. They are more common among women because our urethras (the tube that passes urine) are shorter as compared to those of men, allowing bacteria to reach the bladder faster.
UTIs are caused when bacteria from outside the urinary system enter through the urethra. There are many ways this can happen. For example, UTIs can be caused if you wash/wipe the wrong way after passing stool – e.g. wiping from back to front and bringing bacteria from the anus into the urethra. Sexual intercourse can also sometimes introduce bacteria into the urethra from the vagina or anal region, however, it is NOT considered a sexually transmitted infection.
Common symptoms of a UTI include burning pain while urinating, frequent urination of small amounts of urine, increased urgency, pelvic pain right over the pubic bone, foul-smelling or cloudy urine, or blood in the urine (can be red, pink or brown). Older women may not have any symptoms and may also lose control of their urine.
Most UTIs are very easy to treat. Usually, a doctor will prescribe antibiotics and the infection can be cleared after a 2-3 day course. The full antibiotics course must be completed to ensure that the infection has been cleared even though you may feel better after one dose.
Also Reviewed by Dr. Shailly Prasad, MD, MBA, Resident Physician, Obstetrics & Gynecology
- Mayo Clinic
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