The 4 Basics Of A Urinary Tract Infection

The urinary system is made up of the kidneys, renal pelvis, ureters, bladder, and urethra. With so many organs working together, it is common for an infection of one to impact another. The Mayo Clinic defines a urinary tract infection as an infection in any part of your urinary system. It is important to understand it to be able to treat one when necessary. 

Understanding Urinary Tract Infections 

Urinary tract infections are far more common in women than men. At Kernodle OB/GYN, we are dedicated to helping women treat these types of issues as they happen, especially to avoid further damage to the body. 

How do I get a urinary tract infection? 

Urinary tract infections often come on due to bacteria entering the urinary tract through the urethra, and they begin to multiply in the bladder. The two most common causes of a UTI are cystitis, bladder infection, urethritis, and infection of the urethra. Cystitis is commonly caused by E.coli and can result from sexual activity. However, it does not have to be. Women have a shorter distance between their urethra and their anus, which can also result in this condition. 

On the other hand, urethritis occurs due to GI bacteria that spread from the anus to the urethra. Sexually transmitted infections can also cause urethritis. It is essential to keep the area clean and pay attention to opportunities for bacteria to make their way into the urinary tract with all of these possibilities. 

What are the symptoms? 

The Cleveland Clinic lays out the symptoms of a urinary tract infection as: 

  • Pain in the side, pelvic, or abdomen area
  • Pressure in the lower pelvis
  • Frequent need to urinate, urgent need to urinate, and incontinence
  • Painful urination
  • Blood in the urine
  • Need to urinate at night 
  • Abnormal colored urine

If you are experiencing a combination of these symptoms, it is time to contact a healthcare professional and seek treatment for the condition. 

What are the risks? 

The most significant risk for a urinary tract infection is when it is left untreated. When left untreated or with an incomplete course of antibiotics, a urinary tract infection can turn into a kidney infection. As the infection spreads, pain can increase, and more issues arise. 

Once the infection spreads, you may feel more significant pain in your back as it spreads to the kidneys. When a UTI is paired with back pain, it is vital to get it treated as soon as possible to avoid further damage. 

How do I get treatment? 

Your doctor will either do a urinalysis or a urine culture to determine if you do have a UTI. Once they have diagnosed the condition, the treatment is most commonly an antibiotic. Antibiotics are the types of medicine that kill bacteria and fight infection. 

The prescription relies on what type of bacteria your specific UTI is to fight off the infection accurately. From here, it is important to complete the entire course of antibiotics for the length of time prescribed, even if symptoms start to dissipate. Some women have frequent UTIs that require more conversation with their doctor about the best treatment options to decrease the chances of having another. 


Urinary tract infections are a common condition that can become a problem for any woman. By understanding how they are caused and the symptoms, we can avoid turning one issue into something even more extensive. Do you think you are suffering from a urinary tract infection? Kernodle OB/GYN can help you figure it out and determine the best course of treatment for your situation. Check out our website or give us a call for more information today. 

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