General Urology

Urinary Tract Infection


Approximately 8 to 10 million people in the United States develop a urinary tract infection (UTI) each year. Women develop the condition much more often than men.

Approximately 8 to 10 million people in the United States develop a urinary tract infection (UTI) each year. Women develop the condition much more often than men for reasons that are not fully known, although the much shorter female urethra is suspected. The condition is rare in boys and young men.

Urinary tract infection (UTI) is a common infection that usually occurs when bacteria enter the opening of the urethra and multiply in the urinary tract. The urinary tract includes the kidneys, ureters (tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder), bladder and urethra (tube that carries urine from the
bladder). The special connection of the ureters at the bladder help to prevent urine from backing up into the kidneys, and the flow of urine through the urethra helps to eliminate bacteria. Men, women and children can develop UTIs.

Bladder infection (cystitis) is by far the most common type of UTI. Infection of the urethra is called urethritis. Kidney infection (pyelonephritis) will often cause fever and flank pain and requires urgent treatment.

Escherichia coli (E. coli) causes the majority of UTIs in adults. These bacteria are normally present in the colon and may enter the urethral opening from the skin around the anus and genitals. Other bacteria that cause urinary tract infections include Staphylococcus saprophyticus, Chlamydia trachomatis and Mycoplasma hominis. Men and women infected with chlamydia trachomatis or mycoplasma hominis can transmit the bacteria to their partner during sexual intercourse, causing UTI.

Urinary catheterization (small tube inserted into the bladder through the urethra to drain urine) can also cause UTI by introducing bacteria into the urinary tract. The risk for developing a UTI increases when prolonged catheterization is required.

  • Bladder outlet obstructions (i.e., kidney stones, enlarged prostate)
  • Conditions that cause incomplete bladder emptying (i.e., spinal cord injury)
  • Congenital abnormalities of the urinary tract (i.e., vesicoureteral reflux)
  • Suppressed immune system
  • Additionally, patients may have certain blood types that enable bacteria to attach more easily to cells that line the urinary tract, greatly increasing the risk for recurrent UTIs.

Your physician will review your symptoms and may conduct a physical exam. He/she may also check for tenderness of the bladder or kidney area of your back. A urinalysis will be performed to detect bacteria and pus. Additionally, a urine culture and susceptibility test are helpful to identify the bacteria causing the infection and determine the specific antibiotics that will work in treatment.

For repeated infections or symptoms that continue after treatment, your physician may suggest:

  • A CT Urogram (CTU): a special type of X-ray of the kidneys, ureters and bladder
  • An ultrasound scan to look at the urinary tract
  • A cystoscopy, which is a small telescope used to examine the inside of the bladder

In some situations, we offer PCR Urine Testing. This uses advanced technologies to identify pathogens (bacteria, viruses and yeast) commonly associated with recurrent or persistent urinary tract infections, chronic cystitis, interstitial cystitis or prostatitis. The PCR test helps your physician better detect possible bladder and prostate infections and will guide the appropriate therapy needed to treat your specific infection.

Treatment for simple cystitis will often involve a short course of antibiotics. Pyelonephritis is treated for a longer course and may require hospitalization for intravenous antibiotics. In patients with recurrent infections or complicated infections, additional diagnostic and therapeutic measures may be required to treat underlying abnormalities that are leading to infections. Urine testing is important with more complicated or recurrent infections to determine the specific bacterial pathogen and look for patterns of antibiotic resistance.

Many patients benefit from simple preventative strategies such as daily cranberry supplementation, voiding after intercourse and timed voiding to assure the bladder is emptying. Additionally, some select patients may benefit from antibiotic prophylaxis either daily or after intercourse.

If you have recurring urinary tract infection symptoms (UTI), UroPrime® Self-Start Therapy may be an appropriate solution for you. UroPrime is a simple 3-step program designed by Urology of Indiana to provide a cost-effective, quick and efficient solution for managing UTI problems. Our dedicated care team facilitates quick access and communication.

View detailed information here about our UroPrime program.