Painful urinary tract infections (UTIs) may form when bacteria enter your urinary system. UTIs are common.
More than half of all women will get a UTI. Men can get them too, but they're not as common in men as in women.
Contact the UPMC Urology Department to make an appointment.
UTIs occur in your urinary system or tract.
The urinary tract is a group of organs that produce and remove urine or pee from your body.
It includes your:
You can get a UTI in any part of your urinary tract. UTIs have different names based on where the infection occurs.
Types of UTIs include:
Most UTIs form when bacteria get into the urinary system through the urethra.
They may enter your urethra when you wipe your anus after you poop. Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria, which can cause a UTI, live in poop.
When bacteria enter the urethra, they cause inflammation. They can travel into the ureters, bladder, and kidneys if left untreated.
Women are at higher risk of getting UTIs.
Women have shorter urethras than men, so bacteria have shorter distances to travel to reach the bladder. A woman's anus is also closer to her urethra, which makes it easier for bacteria to reach the urethra.
Other factors that put you at greater risk for UTIs include:
When left untreated, UTIs can cause complications.
You may get a kidney infection. Rarely, the infection can enter your bloodstream (known as sepsis) and become a medical emergency.
In older adults, UTIs can cause symptoms such as confusion or seeing or hearing things that aren't there.
You can help prevent UTIs by drinking lots of water (six to eight glasses daily).
It's also vital to pee when you feel the need. Emptying your bladder fully helps keep bacteria from growing.
You can also reduce your chances of getting a UTI by wiping from front to back after you poop. If you're a woman, you should:
If you have a UTI, it may burn or hurt when you pee. You may also feel like you have to pee often, even if your bladder is empty.
You may have:
Let your doctor know if you have any UTI symptoms. They may go away faster when treated early.
Call your doctor right away if you have a fever, confusion, or pain.
Doctors diagnose UTIs with certain tests.
Your doctor may have you wipe your urethra with a special wipe before taking a urine sample.
They check your urine for:
Doctors insert a flexible tube (catheter) into your urethra and inject a contrast dye into your bladder to make it visible. They take x-rays of your bladder to look for problems that may cause UTIs.
You only need this test if you have frequent UTIs.
If you have frequent UTIs, doctors may use a flexible, lighted tube to check your bladder. They give you medicine to numb the urethra before inserting the tube.
Your doctor fills your bladder with fluid so it will stretch during the exam.
IVP is an imaging test of the urinary tract, where your doctor:
UTIs are treatable and often go away in a few days when treated early.
Your doctor will prescribe an oral antibiotic to treat the UTI, which you'll take for three to 14 days. It's vital to finish all the medicine, even if you feel better.
If you have frequent UTIs, doctors may suggest:
If a UTI is severe and has spread to your kidneys, you may need IV antibiotics. You may also need to receive IV fluids.
To speak with a UPMC urology expert, contact the Department of Urology at 412-692-4100.