According to the U.S. Department of Health more than 8.3 million people visit the doctor’s office annually due to urinary tract infections (UTIs). For reasons that are not medically understood, women are more prone to UTIs than men.
For example, one out of five women in their lifetimes will be diagnosed with UTI. Scientists think one factor may be that a woman's urethra is short, so bacteria from the anus or vagina may enter more easily causing an infection.
A UTI is caused when bacteria enters your urethra and spreads to your urinary tract. A UTI can occur in the bladder, kidneys, urethra and ureters. Also, you can have a UTI if you have a catheter.
A UTI can leave you hunched over in pain and many times you may feel pressure or tingling (burning) sensation when you urinate. The NIH said other symptoms of UTIs include:
• Low fever
• Pressure or cramping in the lower abdomen (usually middle) or back
• Chills and shaking or night sweats
• Cloudy or bloody urine, which may have a foul or strong odor
• Pain or burning with urination
• Strong need to urinate often, even right after the bladder has been emptied
• Mental changes (in elderly)
• Confusion (in elderly)
• General ill feeling
• Side, back, or groin pain
• Flushed, warm, or reddened skin
Treating and curing a UTI is relatively simple. Your doctor will perform an urinalysis. If you test positive, they will prescribe an antibacterial drug. Your UTI should clear up in 1-2 days.
However and as a precaution, your doctor may order additional tests if you have a kidney infection, diabetes, prostate infection or if you have delayed treatment. After you have completed treatment, your doctor may request a follow-up urinalysis to make sure your infection has passed.
The National Institutes of Health recommends the following steps that women can do on their own to prevent a UTI. Possible UTI home remedies include:
• Drinking cranberry juice
• Drinking plenty of water daily (the average person needs to pass 1.5 quarts of urine per day)
• Cleansing the genital area before sex
• Avoid using feminine hygiene sprays (may irritate the urethra)
• Avoid using scented douches (may irritate the urethra)
• Urinating when you feel the need
• Don't resist the urge to urinate
• After urination, wipe from front to back (This will prevent bacteria around the anus from entering the vagina or urethra)
• Take showers instead of tub baths
It is very common to suffer from repeated UTIs over your lifetime. The National Institute of Health (NIH) states, ʺNearly 20 percent of women who have a UTI will have another, and 30 percent of those will have yet another. Of the last group, 80 percent will have recurrences.ʺ
Urinary Tract Infections in Adults - National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse. Home Page - National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse. Retrieved September 15, 2011, from http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/kudiseases/pubs/utiadult
Urinary tract infection - adults: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. National Library of Medicine - National Institutes of Health. Retrieved September 15, 2011, from
Reviewed September 15, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith