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Think you have a UTI?

A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection of the urinary system, including your bladder and urethra. Anyone can get a UTI, but they’re more common if you have a vulva. Most UTIs are easy to treat. Treatment for UTIs is generally antibiotics, which get rid of the infection.

Make an appointment at a Planned Parenthood health center near you. 

What causes UTIs?

It’s pretty easy to get a urinary tract infection. Bacteria that live in the vagina, genital, and anal areas may enter the urethra, travel to the bladder, and cause an infection. This can happen during sexual activity when bacteria from your partner’s genitals, anus, fingers, or sex toys gets pushed into your urethra. UTIs can also be caused by chlamydia, gonorrhea, or other organisms.

Although UTIs aren’t spread from one person to another like STDs, having sex can lead to or worsen UTIs. But you don’t have to have sex to get a UTI. Anything that brings bacteria in contact with your urethra can cause a UTI.

What are the symptoms of a UTI?

One of the most common symptoms of a UTI is a frequent and urgent need to pee. You might feel like you need to pee all the time, even if you just went. Other UTI symptoms include:

  • pain or burning when you pee

  • bad-smelling or cloudy urine

  • blood or pus in your urine

  • soreness, pressure, or cramps in your lower belly, back, or sides

If the infection goes to your kidneys, your UTI symptoms may also include:

  • pain in your mid-back (to the right or left of the spine)

  • fever

  • chills

  • nausea

  • vomiting

  • feeling tired

What’s a UTI?

A urinary tract infection, or UTI, is an infection in your urinary system, including the

  • bladder — the organ that collects and stores urine

  • urethra — the tube that carries urine from your bladder out of your body

There are two kinds of UTIs: cystitis and urethritis. Cystitis is an infection of the bladder. Urethritis is an infection of the urethra. If left untreated, either of these can spread and cause a kidney infection. So even though UTIs are really common, you’ve got to take them seriously.

What causes UTIs?

It’s pretty easy to get a urinary tract infection. Bacteria that live in the vagina, genital, and anal areas may enter the urethra, travel to the bladder, and cause an infection. This can happen during sexual activity when bacteria from your partner’s genitals, anus, fingers, or sex toys gets pushed into your urethra. UTIs can also be caused by chlamydia, gonorrhea, or other organisms.

Although UTIs aren’t spread from one person to another like STDs, having sex can lead to or worsen UTIs. But you don’t have to have sex to get a UTI. Anything that brings bacteria in contact with your urethra can cause a UTI.

Is there treatment for UTIs?

Most UTIs are easy to treat. Treatment for UTIs is generally antibiotics, which get rid of the infection. You can also take over-the-counter pain medicine if you want.

Antibiotics are usually quick and effective — most symptoms go away within a day or 2 of taking medicine. But be sure to finish all of your medicine, even if your symptoms go away. If you stop your UTI treatment early, the infection might still be there or could come back.

If your symptoms don’t go away after a few days, or for more severe infections like a kidney or prostate infection, your doctor or nurse may recommend more tests, different medication, or refer you to a specialist.