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A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection in any part of the urinary system. The urinary system includes the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. Most infections involve the lower urinary tract, the bladder, and the urethra.

Women are at greater risk of developing a UTI than men. If an infection is limited to the bladder, it can be painful and annoying. But serious health problems can result if a UTI spreads to the kidneys.

Healthcare providers often treat urinary tract infections with antibiotics. You can also take steps to lower the chance of getting a UTI in the first place.


UTIs don’t always cause symptoms. When they do, they may include:

  • A strong urge to urinate that doesn’t go away
  • A burning feeling when urinating
  • Urinating often, and passing small amounts of urine
  • Urine that looks cloudy
  • Urine that appears red, bright pink or cola-colored, signs of blood in the urine
  • Strong-smelling urine
  • Pelvic pain, in women especially in the center of the pelvis and around the area of the pubic bone

In older adults, UTIs may be overlooked or mistaken for other conditions.

Types of urinary tract infections

Each type of UTI may result in more-specific symptoms. The symptoms depend on which part of the urinary tract is affected.

Part of the urinary tract affectedSigns and symptoms
KidneysBack or side pain
High fever
Shaking and chills
BladderPelvic pressure
Lower belly discomfort
Frequent, painful urination
Blood in urine
UrethraBurning with urination
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