This topic is about urinary
tract infections in teens and adults. For information about infections in
babies and young children, see the topic
Urinary Tract Infections in Children.
urinary tract is the system that makes urine and
carries it out of your body. It includes your
bladder and kidneys and the tubes that connect them. When germs get into this
system, they can cause an infection.
Most urinary tract
bladder infections. A bladder infection usually is not
serious if it is treated right away. If you do not take care of a bladder
infection, it can spread to your kidneys. A
kidney infection is serious and can cause permanent
germs get into your system through your urethra, the tube that carries urine
from your bladder to the outside of your body. The germs that usually cause
these infections live in your large intestine and are found in your stool. If
these germs get inside your urethra, they can travel up into your bladder and
kidneys and cause an infection.
Women tend to get more bladder
infections than men. This is probably because women have shorter urethras, so
it is easier for the germs to move up to their bladders. Having sex can make it
easier for germs to get into a woman's urethra.
You may be more likely
to get an infection if you have diabetes or
you are pregnant. The chance that you will get a bladder infection is higher if
you have any problem that blocks the flow of urine from your bladder. Examples
include having kidney stones or an enlarged prostate gland.
reasons that are not well understood, some women get bladder infections again
You may have an infection
if you have any of these symptoms:
- You feel pain or burning when you
- You feel like you have to urinate often, but not much
urine comes out when you do.
- You have pain in your lower belly.
- Your urine is cloudy, looks pink or red, or smells bad.
- You have
pain on one side of your back under your ribs. This is where your kidneys
- You have fever and chills.
- You have nausea and
Call your doctor right away if you think you have an
- You have a fever, nausea and vomiting, or
pain in one side of your back under your ribs.
- You have diabetes,
kidney problems, or a weak immune system.
- You are older than 65.
- You are pregnant.
doctor will ask for a sample of your urine. It is tested to see if it has germs
that cause bladder infections.
If you have infections often, you
may need extra testing to find out why.