If you find yourself having to pee frequently or feel the need to go immediately when the urge comes; if it hurts or burns when you go to the bathroom; or if there’s blood in your urine, you might have a urinary tract infection (UTI). Abdominal pressure and cloudy or bad-smelling pee can also be signs of UTIs.
Once you’ve had a UTI, there’s a good chance you’ll have one again. Read below to learn what UTIs are, who gets them most, and what you can do to prevent them.
A UTI is caused by bacteria in the urinary tract—the kidneys, bladder, and the tubes that connect them and then get rid of the urine.
Most UTIs are in the bladder, which holds your urine before you pee. They can also happen in your kidneys, where urine is created before it goes to the bladder.
It’s important to be aware if you have symptoms of urgency and pain plus fever, back pain, and nausea or vomiting, you might have a kidney infection.
Anyone can get a UTI, but women get them more often. About 25-35 percent of women between the ages of 20 and 40 get UTIs. Since they're a result of getting germs in your urinary tract, they can be caused by things that bring germs in close contact with your urinary tract. For example:
They can also be caused by:
If you’re someone who gets a lot of UTIs, you want to stay clean (without using harsh products) and avoid irritation of the urethra – which can make it easier to get infections.
Here are some things you can try:
Although there’s no medical evidence the below tips work, they fall into the “can’t hurt to try” category:
See your doctor, especially if you have a fever along with nausea or vomiting. They’ll take a urine sample to find out what’s going on. An untreated UTI can cause serious problems with your kidneys, so you don’t want to ignore it.
Treatment usually requires antibiotics (drinking cranberry juice doesn’t do the trick). If one antibiotic doesn’t work you might have to try a different one or other approaches.