Urinary tract infections are typically caused by bacteria that originate in the gastrointestinal tract. Women tend to get UTIs more frequently than men, as a woman’s urethra is shorter than a man’s, which makes it easier for germs to travel to the bladder. Sexual activity can also contribute to the development of UTIs, as can catheters in the bladder. Most UTIs are infections within the bladder itself and are usually not serious if treated quickly. An infection within your kidneys is more serious and can cause permanent damage if not treated promptly.
The most common symptom of a UTI is a burning or painful sensation when you urinate. You might also feel as if you have to urinate frequently, but the volume of urine produced is small. Your urine might look cloudy or have a different or obnoxious odor. Other symptoms can include fever and chills, nausea and vomiting, or pain in your back where your kidneys are located.
Your doctor will test a sample of your urine to diagnose the infection.
A UTI is most commonly treated with antibiotics. Your doctor may also have you drink plenty of water to encourage more frequent urination.