Urinary Tract Infection

What is a urinary tract infection (UTI)?

If you have pain while urinating or difficulty urinating, you may have a urinary tract infection (UTI). A UTI happens when bacteria forms along your urinary tract, usually in the narrow tubes called ureters that carry urine from your kidneys to your bladder.

Women suffer from urinary tract infections more often than men because women have shorter urinary tracts, making them more susceptible to bacteria. When you have a urinary tract infection, bacteria enters through the opening of the urethra (where your urine exits your body) and travels up into the urinary tract, bladder and possibly to your kidneys.

Main Line Health offers diagnosis and treatment of urinary tract infections so you can feel better.

Symptoms of a urinary tract infection

It can be hard to tell if you have a urinary tract infection or another condition, such as interstitial cystitis or kidney stones.

Common symptoms of urinary tract infection include:

  • An urgent need to urinate
  • Back pain, or pain in the side
  • Blood in urine
  • Difficulty emptying the bladder
  • Discomfort directly above the pubic bone
  • Feeling tired
  • Fever and chills
  • Frequent urination
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Pain while urinating
  • Urine that smells bad

Diagnosis and testing for urinary tract infections

It's important to see your doctor if you have symptoms of a UTI. This is because the symptoms of a urinary tract infection are similar to symptoms of other conditions. Also, the sooner your condition is diagnosed, the sooner you can receive treatment that will relieve your symptoms.

Based on your symptoms, your doctor may order a urinalysis. A urinalysis is a lab test of your urine that looks for signs of infection. You will need to provide a sample of your urine in order for this test to be completed.

If you are diagnosed with a UTI, your doctor will prescribe antibiotics to treat the infection. You should also increase the amount of water you are drinking to help keep your system clear of any new bacteria. You can take over the counter medicines, such as ibuprofen, and use a heating pad to help with any pain.


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Our skilled urologists offer comprehensive, compassionate treatment and personalized solutions for urological conditions.