What’s a UTI/urinary tract infection?

What's a UTI/urinary tract infection?

Urinary tract infections (also known as UTI) are exactly what they sound like, an infection affecting the urinary tract. They’re one of the most common reasons teen girls visit their doctor. It’s important to see a doctor immediately if you think you have a UTI, and to take the full prescription of any antibiotics you may be given.

Types and symptoms of UTIs

There are 3 different types of UTI’s:

  • Urethritis: an infection of the urethra (a tube-like structure that delivers urine outside of the body)
  • Cystitis: an infection of the bladder (the muscular sac that holds urine)
  • Pyelonephritis: a very serious infection of the kidneys (the organ that removes waste from your blood)

You may have a UTI if you’re experiencing any of the following:

  • Feeling the need to urinate frequently
  • Urinating frequently with little urine
  • Blood in urine
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Pain in your back

How UTIs happen

UTIs most commonly occur after various forms of sex (oral, vaginal and/or anal sex). All of these sexual acts have one main thing in common: they introduce bacteria, which can cause a urinary tract infection. Girls and boys are both able to get UTIs, but it’s more common in girls due to the structure of the urinary tract.

It’s extremely important to see a health provider immediately once you suspect you may have a UTI. If left untreated, UTI symptoms will get worse and could lead to your kidneys not working. It’s also very important to finish the antibiotics you’re given, even if you don’t feel symptoms anymore. The antibiotics must be completed to kill all bacteria and prevent future health problems.

How to prevent UTIs

It’s no fun to experience these symptoms, go to see a doctor and have to take antibiotics for a UTI. Instead, we recommend these simple steps to help prevent a UTI:

  • Clean your hands and genital area with unscented soap and warm water before and after sex.
  • Urinate before and after sex.
  • Take bathing suit bottoms and exercise clothes off immediately after use.
  • Avoid sugary drinks.
  • Drink plenty of water.

Need more information about urinary tract infections? Check out these resources:

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