UTI: Meaning, Diagnosis and Overview

What is UTI?

A Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) is a bacterial infection in any parts of your urinary system which consists of kidneys, two ureters, bladder and urethra. Most infections involve the lower urinary tract the bladder and the urethra. UTIs are very common and are more common in women than in men.
Urinary tract infections have different names, depending on what part of the urinary tract is infected.
  • Bladder – an infection in the bladder is also called cystitis or a bladder infection
  • Kidneys – an infection of one or both kidneys is called pyelonephritis or a kidney infection
  • Ureters – the tubes that take urine from each kidney to the bladder are only rarely the site of infection
  • Urethra – an infection of the tube that empties urine from the bladder to the outside is called urethritis

Recovery Time

Symptoms clear up within few days of proper treatment. Symptoms of a bladder infection usually disappear within 24 – 48 hours after treatment begins. If there is a kidney infection, it may take 1 week or longer for the symptoms to go away.
  • Lower urinary tract infection: 5-7days
  • Upper urinary tract infection: 12-14days


A urinary tract infection (UTI) is diagnosed with a urine test, which can detect bacteria and blood in the urine. Other tests include:
  • Intravenous urogram (IVU)
  • Cytoscopy

FAQs prepared by doctor

1.  Does drinking alcohol have anything to do with getting UTIs?
Alcohol intake does not cause or increase the risk of UTI. Alcohol is irritating to the bladder, so having a drink makes you feel like you need to empty your bladder. That is why drinking can worsen this symptom of UTI

2.  What is a clean-catch urine specimen?
  • A clean-catch urine specimen is a small amount of urine that has been caught in a cup. First, the urethral opening (where the urine comes out) is carefully cleaned to make sure the urine does not pick up any bacteria that may be around the opening as the infection leaves the body.
  • The urine specimen you provide must not contain skin debris, soap, or other material that may be near your urethra (the opening for urine outflow). The results will tell your healthcare professional which antibiotics are likely to work best against your infection.
3.  What can my doctor do to help prevent UTIs from coming back?
  • For someone with anatomic abnormalities of the urinary tract, surgery may be necessary to prevent severe kidney damage. Your doctor needs to know the history of your infections to decide whether to test for anatomic problems.
  • Another important preventive step your physician can take is to screen for diabetes. Detecting and controlling diabetes is very important in preventing UTI and kidney damage.
  • If you are a person who gets UTIs over and over again, your healthcare professional may try to break the cycle by prescribing daily antibiotics at a low dose for many months. The idea is to help the body regain its defenses against infection.
4.  What preventive measures can I take?
Be sure to complete the antibiotic course prescribed by your healthcare professional. Stopping too soon can allow the infection to return quickly or can lead to infections that are resistant to antibiotics. Be alert to the early symptoms of infection and get medical attention without delay.

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