The Basics of Urinary Tract Infections

One of the most common health issues women face is a urinary tract infection. The system in your body that creates urine and helps you flush it out of your body is called the urinary tract. The urinary tract includes your kidneys and bladder, as well as the tubes that connect them to one another. If germs contaminate the system, you may develop a urinary tract infection.

Bladder infections and kidney infections are two types of urinary tract infections, with bladder infections being most common (especially in women), and slightly less serious in the early stages. A bladder infection may lead to a kidney infection if it is not detected and handled properly, which could then lead to long-term damage. Unwanted germs, often from your large intestine, cause infections in the system, typically entering through the urethra.

One of the easiest ways for the germs to enter the urethra is during sex, though UTIs are also more common for women that are pregnant or diabetic. Simply, the likelihood of an infection is greater when urine movement is blocked from the bladder.

Signs of a urinary tract infection include having trouble urinating, unusually colored, smelly or cloudy urine or a burning sensation or other pain while urinating. Also, pain in the lower abdomen is common, as well as in the areas around your kidneys. Further indications include nausea, vomiting, or having chills and a fever.

Once you think you may have an infection, it is important to call your doctor immediately, particularly if have pain in the kidney area or a history of kidney problems. Also, if you have a weak immune system, are 65 years or older, or are pregnant, you should see a doctor because a urine test will be needed to confirm.