Urinary Tract Infection (UTI): Overview, Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment

What is Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)?

Urinary tract infections (UTI's) are caused by foreign bacteria in the urinary tract (kidneys, bladder, ureters, urethra, and, in men, prostate). This illness is most common in women and older people.


UTI's are caused when bacteria travel into the urinary tract from the digestive system or (for women) the vagina. Shape of a person's organs, genetic tendencies and catheter use can all contribute to the development of UTI's. Additionally, sexual activity and the use of certain contraceptive methods can lead to urinary tract infections. Though sex itself doesn't cause UTI's, it does promote the movement of bacteria from the penis, vagina, or anus to the urethra.

How is Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) diagnosed?

There are a variety of tests your physician can use to determine the presence of a UTI.

  • Urine Sample. Microscopically checked for bacteria.
  • Imagery. X-Ray, ultrasound and CT Scan helps the doctor to view your organs.
  • Cytoscope. Inserted into the urethra to view the lower portion of the urinary tract from the inside.

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Quick snapshot

Can it be cured?

Yes. Urinary tract infections are easily treated with antibiotics.

Type of Infection

Bacterial. UTI's are caused by a variety of bacteria.

How is it treated?

Antibiotics. Various antibiotics are used depending on the offending bacterium.

Recovery Time

Variable. Specific time for recovery is dependent on the medication prescribed.

Can I have sex?

No. Sex is not recommended as it can promote movement of bacteria.

Can I get re-infected?

Yes. There is roughly a 20% probability of re-infection.