Urinary Tract Infection (UTI): Causes, Symptoms, and Prevention

Urinary Tract Infection (UTI): Causes, Symptoms, and Prevention

A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection in any part of your urinary system. The majority of infections occur in women. While these often only result in mild pain and discomfort, if left untreated, the infection can worsen so it is important to watch out for symptoms and follow preventative recommendations.

The symptoms for a UTI include:

  • A strong, persistent urge to urinate
  • A burning sensation when urinating
  • Frequent, small amounts of urine
  • Urine that appears cloudy
  • Urine that appears red, bright pink, or cola-colored
  • Strong-smelling urine
  • Pelvic pain or pressure
  • Abnormal discharge
  • Back pain or side pain
  • Fever
  • Shaking and chills
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Confusion / delirium may occur in older persons or those with dementia


The most common treatment for a UTI is antibiotics. Antibiotics should be taken as directed by a medical provider until all pills are gone. Any adverse symptoms experienced while taking antibiotics should be reported to a medical provider. Antibiotics may have side effects such as fever, rash, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.


Although UTIs are fairly common, there are steps one can take to help prevent them. 

  • Practice good hygiene: essential for preventing UTIs. For women, changing menstrual products frequently and wiping from front to back after a bowel movement.
  • Drink sufficient water: beneficial for both genders because urinating flushes out any bacteria that could have entered the urethra.
  • Avoid tight fitting clothing and wear cotton underwear: prevents unwanted moisture.
  • Abstain from potentially irritating products: such as feminine deodorants and douching.
  • Empty bladder before and after intercourse: flushes out any bacteria that could have been introduced.
  • Pay attention to birth control: some birth control methods are more likely to cause UTIs, such as using a diaphragm, spermicide, or unlubricated condoms.

If a UTI is suspected in a patient, contact their primary care physician as soon as possible.


‘Urinary tract infection (UTI)’ Mayo Clinic. Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/urinary-tract-infection/symptoms-causes/syc-20353447. (Accessed: 20 June 2022)

‘Urinary Tract Infections’ Cleveland Clinic. Available at: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/9135-urinary-tract-infections. (Accessed: 20 June 2022)

‘Urinary tract infections and dementia’ Alzheimer’s Society. Available at: https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/get-support/daily-living/urinary-tract-infections-utis-dementia#:~:text=UTIs%20can%20cause%20sudden%20confusion,be%20because%20of%20a%20UTI. (Accessed: 27 June 2022)