Also known as: Bladder infection - adults, UTI - adults, Cystitis - bacterial - adults, Pyelonephritis - adults or Kidney infection - adultsThe bladder's job is to hold urine.The correct answer is true. The kidneys produce urine, which travels to the bladder through narrow tubes called the ureters. The bladder is located in the center of the lowest part of your abdomen. It holds your urine until you urinate. Most people make about one to two quarts of urine every day. A healthy bladder can hold how much urine at a time?The correct answer is more than two cups. You first feel the urge to urinate when your bladder is about half full, but your bladder continues to stretch until it's full. Don't wait too long to urinate after you feel the urge.Men are more likely to have bladder infections than women.The correct answer is false. Women are more likely to have bladder infections. This is because women have a shorter urethra (the tube where urine leaves the body,) and it's closer to the anus. Women are more likely to get an infection after sex or during and after menopause. A fever is the most common sign of a bladder infection.The correct answer is false. People with a bladder infection do not have a fever. More common symptoms include cloudy or bloody urine, pain or burning when you urinate, pressure or cramps in the lower stomach or back, or feeling like you need to urinate often. Call your doctor if you think you have a bladder infection.An untreated bladder infection can spread to the kidneys.The correct answer is true. The symptoms of a kidney infection include a high fever, chills, back pain, and a general sick feeling. If you have any signs of a kidney infection, call your doctor right away. A kidney infection can damage the kidneys if it's not treated. Men with a bladder infection may have another health problem.The correct answer is true. A bladder infection in a man could be a sign that he has a problem with his urinary system or another health condition. Your doctor may refer you to a urologist for more testing. Only people over age 60 have urinary incontinence.The correct answer is false. Urinary incontinence occurs if you leak urine or have trouble holding your urine. It is most common in older people, but men and women of any age can have it. If you have trouble with leaking urine or not getting to the bathroom on time, see your doctor. There are many treatments that can help. Smoking increases your risk of bladder cancer.The correct answer is true. Smoking can increase your risk of bladder cancer by two to three times. The most common symptom of bladder cancer is blood in the urine. See your doctor if you have blood in your urine, even if it goes away after a few days. Interstitial cystitis (IC) is the same thing as cystitis.The correct answer is false. Cystitis is another name for a bladder infection. IC is a painful condition caused by irritation of the bladder not due to an infection. Doctors don't know the cause, but it can feel like a bladder infection. Tell your doctor if you have symptoms of a bladder infection that don't get better with treatment.Women are more likely to have IC than men.The correct answer is true. Women are 10 times more likely to have IC than men. It's most common in women ages 30 to 40, but younger women can have it too. See your doctor if you have pelvic pain, pain while urinating, or pain during intercourse.
- Bladder -- an infection in the bladder is also called cystitis or a bladder infection.
- Kidneys -- an infection of one or both kidneys is called pyelonephritis or a kidney infection.
- Ureters -- the tubes that take urine from each kidney to the bladder are only rarely the site of infection.
- Urethra -- an infection of the tube that empties urine from the bladder to the outside is called urethritis.
- Advanced age (especially people with illnesses common in older adults, such as Alzheimer's disease and delirium)
- Problems emptying your bladder completely (urinary retention)
- A tube called a urinary catheter inserted into your urinary tract
- Bowel incontinence
- Enlarged prostate, narrowed urethra, or anything that blocks the flow of urine
- Kidney stones
- Staying still (immobile) for a long period of time (for example, while you are recovering from a hip fracture)
- Surgery or other procedure involving the urinary tract
- Cloudy or bloody urine, which may have a foul or strong odor
- Low fever (not everyone will have a fever)
- Pain or burning with urination
- Pressure or cramping in the lower abdomen (usually middle) or back
- Strong need to urinate often, even right after the bladder has been emptied
- Chills and shaking or night sweats
- Fatigue and a general ill feeling
- Fever above 101 degrees Fahrenheit
- Flank (side), back, or groin pain
- Flushed, warm, or reddened skin
- Mental changes or confusion (in the elderly, these symptoms often are the only signs of a UTI)
- Nausea and vomiting
- Severe abdominal pain (sometimes)
- Urinalysis is done to look for white blood cells, red blood cells, bacteria, and to test for certain chemicals, such as nitrites in the urine. Most of the time, your doctor or nurse can diagnose an infection using a urinalysis.
- Urine culture - clean catch may be done to identify the bacteria in the urine to make sure the correct antibiotic is being used for treatment.
- For a simple bladder infection, you will take antibiotics for 3 days (women) or 7 - 14 days (men). For a bladder infection with complications -- such as pregnancy or diabetes, OR a mild kidney infection -- you will usually take antibiotics for 7 - 14 days.
- It is important that you finish all of the antibiotics, even if you feel better. If you do not finish all of your antibiotics, the infection could return and may be harder to treat later.
- Taking a single dose of an antibiotic after sexual contact may prevent these infections, which occur after sexual activity.
- Having a 3-day course of antibiotics at home to use for infections diagnosed based on your symptoms may work for some women.
- Some women may also try taking a single, daily dose of an antibiotic to prevent infections.
- Are elderly
- Have kidney stones or changes in the anatomy of your urinary tract
- Have recently had urinary tract surgery
- Have cancer, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, or other medical problems
- Are pregnant and have a fever or are otherwise ill
- Life-threatening blood infection (sepsis) - risk is greater among the young, very old adults, and those whose bodies cannot fight infections (for example, due to HIV or cancer chemotherapy)
- Kidney damage or scarring
- Kidney infection
- Back or side pain
- Choose sanitary pads instead of tampons, which some doctors believe make infections more likely. Change the pad each time you use the bathroom.
- Do not douche or use feminine hygiene sprays or powders. As a general rule, do not use any product containing perfumes in the genital area.
- Take showers instead of baths. Avoid bath oils.
- Keep your genital area clean. Clean your genital and anal areas before and after sexual activity.
- Urinate before and after sexual activity.
- Wipe from front to back after using the bathroom.
- Avoid tight-fitting pants.
- Wear cotton-cloth underwear and pantyhose, and change both at least once a day.
- Drink plenty of fluids (2 to 4 quarts each day).
- Drink cranberry juice or use cranberry tablets, but NOT if you have a personal or family history of kidney stones.
- Do NOT drink fluids that irritate the bladder, such as alcohol and caffeine.
A urinary tract infection, or UTI, is an infection that can happen anywhere along the urinary tract. Urinary tract infections have different names, depending on what part of the urinary tract is infected.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Urinary tract infections are caused by germs, usually bacteria that enter the urethra and then the bladder. This can lead to infection, most commonly in the bladder itself, which can spread to the kidneys.
Most of the time, your body can get rid of these bacteria. However, certain conditions increase the risk of having UTIs.
Women tend to get them more often because their urethra is shorter and closer to the anus than in men. Because of this, women are more likely to get an infection after sexual activity or when using a diaphragm for birth control. Menopause also increases the risk of a UTI.
The following also increase your chances of developing a UTI:
The symptoms of a bladder infection include:
If the infection spreads to your kidneys, symptoms may include:
Signs and tests
A urine sample is usually collected to perform the following tests:
The following tests may be done to help rule out problems in your urinary system that might lead to infection or make a UTI harder to treat:
Your doctor must first decide whether you have a mild or simple bladder or kidney infection or an infection that is more serious.
MILD BLADDER AND KIDNEY INFECTIONS
Antibiotics taken by mouth are usually recommended because there is a risk that the infection can spread to the kidneys.
Commonly used antibiotics include trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, amoxicillin, Augmentin, doxycycline, and fluoroquinolones. Your doctor will also want to know whether you could be pregnant.
Your doctor may also recommend drugs to relieve the burning pain and urgent need to urinate. Phenazopyridine hydrochloride (Pyridium) is the most common of this type of drug. You will still need to take antibiotics.
Everyone with a bladder or kidney infection should drink plenty of fluids.
Some women have repeat or recurrent bladder infections. Your doctor may suggest several different ways of treating these.
See also: Catheter-associated UTI
MORE SEVERE KIDNEY INFECTIONS
If you are very sick and cannot take medicines by mouth or drink enough fluids, you may be admitted to the hospital. You may also be admitted to the hospital if you:
At the hospital, you will receive fluids and antibiotics through a vein.
Some people have urinary tract infections that keep coming back or that do not go away with treatment. Such infections are called chronic UTIs. If you have a chronic UTI, you may need antibiotics for many months, or stronger antibiotics.
If a structural (anatomical) problem is causing the infection, surgery may be recommended.
A urinary tract infection is uncomfortable, but treatment is usually successful. Symptoms of a bladder infection usually disappear within 24 - 48 hours after treatment begins. If you have a kidney infection, it may take 1 week or longer for your symptoms to go away.
Calling your health care provider
Contact your health care provider if you have symptoms of a UTI. Call right away if the following symptoms develop:
These may be signs of a possible kidney infection.
Also call if you have already been diagnosed with a UTI and the symptoms come back shortly after treatment with antibiotics.
Lifestyle changes may help prevent some UTIs.
After menopause, a woman may use estrogen cream in the vagina area to reduce the chance of further infections.
BATHING AND HYGIENE
Lin K, Fajardo K; U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Screening for asymptomatic bacteriuria in adults: evidence for the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force reaffirmation recommendation statement. Ann Intern Med. 2008 Jul 1;149(1):W20-4.
Little P, Moore MV, Turner S, et al. Effectiveness of five different approaches in management of urinary tract infection: randomised controlled trial. BMJ. 2010 Feb 5;340:c199. doi: 10.1136/bmj.c199.
Gupta K, Hooton TM, Naber KG, et al. International clinical practice guidelines for the treatment of acute uncomplicated cystitis and pyelonephritis in women: A 2010 update by the Infectious Diseases Society of America and the European Society for Microbiology and Infectious Diseases. Clin Infect Dis. 2011 Mar;52(5):e103-20.
Hooton TM, Bradley SF, Cardenas DD, et al. Diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of catheter-associated urinary tract infection in adults: 2009 International Clinical Practice Guidelines from the Infectious Diseases Society of America. Clin Infect Dis. 2010 Mar 1;50(5):625-63.
- Review date:
- September 11, 2013
- Reviewed by:
- A.D.A.M. Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, and David R. Eltz. Previously reviewed by Susan Storck, MD, FACOG, Chief, Eastside Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound, Bellevue, Washington; Clinical Teaching Faculty, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Washington School of Medicine (9/13/2011).
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- 2008 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.