Urinary tract infections (UTIs) typically occur when bacteria from the rectal area
enter through the
travel up the
urinary tract to the bladder or kidneys.
Typically, UTIs cause urinary symptoms, such as pain or burning during
urination. Some mild bladder infections may go away on their own within a
couple of days. Most UTIs clear up quickly with antibiotics and home treatment,
which includes drinking plenty of water and urinating frequently. The amount of
time required to cure the infection and the need for urine tests will vary with
the location (bladder or kidneys), frequency, and seriousness of the infection.
Kidney infections and UTIs that are
complicated by other factors require longer
Complications of UTIs are not common but do occur.
Serious complications can include permanent kidney damage and widespread
infection (sepsis), which can be life-threatening. The risk is
greater if the infection is not treated or if the infection does not respond to
Although it is possible to have a relapse of the same
infection, most recurrent UTIs are caused by new infections. About 20 to 30 out of 100 women have recurrent infections.1 A rapid relapse
usually means that treatment failed or there is another problem affecting the
urinary tract (not just the infection). But recurrent
UTIs in women usually aren't serious.
UTIs in men
Men sometimes have
uncomplicated urinary tract infections.
UTIs in older men are more often related to
prostate problems. This can make them more difficult
to treat. Having an
enlarged prostate, which is common in older men, can
limit the body's ability to pass urine. Repeated UTIs may indicate
epididymitis, or another urinary tract problem. For
more information, see the topic
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia,