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What Causes Urinary Tract Infections?

The urinary system includes the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and the urethra, which work together to rid the body of excess water and waste. Urinary tract infections, sometimes referred to as bladder infections, occur when bacteria get into the urinary tract due to a failure of the body’s usual defenses.

Common bladder infection causes include various types of bacteria resulting from sexual activity, birth control devices, catheter use, or improper wiping. Contributing factors for common urinary tract infections, regardless of age or gender, include:

  • Blockages in the urinary tract
  • Recent urinary procedures
  • A suppressed immune system
  • The presence of kidney stones
    Urinary tract abnormalities

How Do Urinary Tract Infections Affect The Bladder?

Once bacteria enters the urinary system, it multiplies in the bladder. From there, it can spread to the urethra or even the kidneys. Left untreated, common urinary tract infections can lead to serious complications such as:

  • Recurring infections
  • Permanent kidney damage from chronic or acute kidney infection (pyelonephritis)—a serious UTI infection that’s especially common among young children
  • An increased risk of delivering premature or low birthweight babies
  • Urosepsis, bacteria in the blood, and death


What Do Symptoms Of Urinary Tract Infections In Females Mean?

Urinary tract infections are the second most common type of infection in the body. Although anyone can get a UTI, women are four times more likely to become infected than men, due to their anatomy.

In some cases, UTIs cause no symptoms whatsoever. One of the early signs of UTIs in females, however, is a burning sensation while urinating.

Other Early Signs Of UTIs In Females Include:

  • A frequent urge to urinate
  • Cloudy, reddish, or foul-smelling urine
  • Fatigue, fever, and shakiness
  • Pain and/or a burning sensation while urinating
  • Pain in the back or side, just below the ribs
  • Pressure in the lower abdomen

If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s important to seek prompt medical attention. An immediate evaluation is also recommended for anyone who experiences more severe UTI symptoms, such as:

  • Vomiting and an inability to keep even clear fluids or medication down
  • No improvement after the second day of antibiotics
  • Fever and back pain

In addition to a high incidence of symptoms of urinary tract infection in females, infants, children, the elderly, those with diabetes or diseases affecting the immune system, and those who take medications that impair or suppress the immune system are also more susceptible to serious UTI infections. These people should seek immediate medical attention for UTI symptoms.


How To Diagnose A Urinary Tract Infection

Your MD Now provider will perform the appropriate tests to verify whether your symptoms indicate a UTI. If so, appropriate treatment can help prevent the infection from spreading and affecting the kidneys.

Some Of The Ways Your MD Now Provider May Test And Diagnose A UTI Include:

  • Analyzing a urine sample
  • Growing a urine culture in a lab
  • Creating images via ultrasound, CT scan, or IVP (a test using X-rays)


In addition, your MD Now doctor will want to know about current medications or supplements you’re taking, as well as any known allergies, how long you’ve experienced UTI symptoms, whether you’ve had similar problems in the past, and whether you’re currently under treatment for other medical conditions. You should also let your doctor know if you think you may be pregnant. This information will ensure that you get the most appropriate treatment for your needs.

How To Treat Urinary Tract Infections

The most typical treatment for UTIs in females and males is a regimen of antibiotics. Your MD Now practitioner will prescribe an appropriate drug and treatment plan, based on your overall health and the type of bacteria responsible for the infection.


The most typical treatment for UTIs in females and males is a regimen of antibiotics. Your MD Now practitioner will prescribe an appropriate drug and treatment plan, based on your overall health and the type of bacteria responsible for the infection.

How To Prevent Urinary Tract Infections

Short of eliminating common bladder infection causes, you can reduce your risk of developing a serious UTI infection by taking a few precautions:

  • Increase your daily water intake. Water helps to flush bacteria from your urinary tract by causing you to urinate more frequently.
  • Always wipe from front to back. This will help prevent anal bacteria from spreading to the vagina and into the urethra.
  • Empty your bladder immediately after intercourse. This helps to flush bacteria from the urinary tract.
  • Avoid irritating or scented feminine products.

These common bladder infection causes include deodorant sprays, douches, powders, and other feminine products that irritate the urethra and leave you more susceptible to bacteria.

The content provided on the MD Now website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for receiving medical care and treatment from a qualified healthcare provider. Never delay seeking advice, evaluation, and treatment from a medical professional because of what you’ve read on this site, since the information provided may not apply to you or your symptoms.