Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital

Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)

Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)

Illustration of the anatomy of the urinary system, front view
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What are urinary tract infections (UTIs)?

Urinary tract infections are a serious, but common, health problem that affects millions of people each year. Women are especially prone to urinary tract infections.

What causes urinary tract infections?

Normal urine is sterile and contains fluids, salts, and waste products. It is free of bacteria, viruses, and fungi. An infection occurs when microorganisms, usually bacteria from the digestive tract, cling to the opening of the urethra, the hollow tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body, and begin to multiply.

Most infections arise from Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria, which normally live in the colon.

What are the different types of urinary tract infections?

A urinary tract infection may involve different sections of the urinary tract including the following:

What are the symptoms of a urinary tract infection?

The following are the most common symptoms of a urinary tract infection. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

The symptoms of a urinary tract infection may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Always consult your physician for a diagnosis.

How are UTIs diagnosed?

In addition to a complete medical history and physical examination, diagnostic tests and procedures may include the following:

What is the treatment for UTIs?

Specific treatment for UTIs will be determined by your physician based on:

Treatment may include:

How can urinary tract infections be prevented?

To reduce the likelihood of developing another UTI, a patient may consider the following:

Please consult your physician with any questions or concerns you may have regarding this condition.

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