A urinary tract infection is an infection of your urinary system, which consists of the kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra. Although infections generally involve the bladder and urethra, any part of the system is subject to infection. An infection limited to the bladder can be very painful and annoying, but severe consequences can occur if the infection spreads to the kidneys.
Women are more subject to urinary tract infections than men, but precautions can be taken to reduce your risk of developing one altogether.
Urinary tract infections (UTI) typically occur when bacteria enters the urinary tract through the urethra and then multiply in the bladder, which can further develop throughout the entire urinary system.
A urinary tract infection can be present without noticeable signs or symptoms. However, when symptoms are present they may include:
- A strong, persistent urge to urinate
- A burning sensation when urinating
- Passing frequent, small amounts of urine
- Urine that appears cloudy
- Bright pink or cola colored urine – sign of blood in the urine
- Strong smelling urine
- Pelvic pain – in women
- Rectal pain – in men
Symptoms vary depending on where the infection lies within the urinary tract.
Antibiotics are the typical treatment for urinary tract infections.