A Urinary tract infection (UTI) is a bacterial infection that can occur in any part of the urinary system (the kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra). A urinary tract infection can occur when the bacteria from the large intestine escapes the anus and attacks the urethra. It then moves up to the bladder, and if left untreated, it can infect the kidneys. Most UTIs are more common in women than in men. A urinary tract infection can cause pain, discomfort and raise a serious health issue if the infection spreads to the kidneys. Treatment options such as taking oral antibiotics can help reduce symptoms, provide relief and prevent recurrence of infections.  In more severe cases, hospitalization may be recommended.  



Signs and symptoms of a urinary tract infection include:

  • Painful and burning feeling when urinating
  • Frequent urination
  • Foul smelling urine
  • Bloody urine
  • Pelvic pain
  • Pressure on the lower abdomen
  • Wetting problems
  • Low fever or chills
  • Tiredness
  • Shakiness



There are many reasons for contracting an UTI; however, one of the most common reasons is intestinal bacteria (E.Coli) that can enter the urinary tract simply from wiping back to front after going to the bathroom. Once the bacteria enter the urinary tract through the urethra, they begin to multiply in the bladder. If the bacteria ends up sticking to the wall of the urethra or bladder, treatment is recommended to help prevent the infection from growing and spreading to the kidneys. 

 Special groups of individuals that are likely to be at risk of developing a urinary tract infection include: infants, young children, hospitalized patients or nursing home residents.


Risk Factors 

Several factors that can increase the risk of developing a urinary tract infection include:

  • Being female
  • Being pregnant
  • Blocked flow or urine
  • Sexual intercourse
  • Menopause
  • Having poor hygiene
  • Having weak immune system
  • Having urinary tract abnormalities
  • Urinary catheterization
  • Certain types of birth control
  • Certain medical conditions (HIV, diabetes)



Possible complications that can arise from a urinary tract infection include:

  • Kidney Infection
  • Recurrent infections
  • Blood poisoning
  • Inflammation of the prostate
  • Deliverance of babies with low birth weight



A few recommendations to reduce the risk of urinary tract infections include:

  • Drinking plenty of fluids/remaining hydrated
  • Wiping from front to back after urinating and after a bowel movement
  • Urinating frequently to empty the bladder (especially after sexual intercourse)
  • Avoiding using deodorant sprays or feminine products in the vaginal area
  • Taking showers as opposed to long baths and avoiding bath oils that can cause irritation
  • Wearing cotton underwear to keep the space around the urethra dry