Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are divided into four types. These are bladder, kidney, ureters and urethra.
Most often these ailments are caused by the E. coli bacteria. An infection of the bladder (cystitis) is a lower urinary tract infection. An infection spreading to the kidneys and ureters (pyelonephritis) is more serious.
Women are susceptible to UTIs for a number of reasons. A shorter urethra, the tube that carries urine out of the body, frequent intercourse, contraceptive spermicides and diaphragm, even thinning of the lining of the urinary tract due to a drop in estrogen in post-menopausal women all increase a woman's risk.
Symptoms of bladder infection include pain when urinating, cloudy or bloody urine, lower abdominal pressure and the urge to urinate after emptying the bladder.
Kidney infection symptoms may include fatigue, fever, confusion and nausea.
Treatment time with antibiotics varies depending on the type and severity of the infection.