Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors
Recurring urinary tract infection (UTI) involves repeated infections of the kidneys or bladder even after proper treatment.
What is going on in the body?
UTIs are usually caused by bacteria. In most cases, the bacteria enter the body through the skin around the genitals and anal area. The bacteria travel up toward the bladder or kidneys. If the bacteria are not killed by the person’s immune system, an infection can occur.
What are the causes and risks of the infection?
Recurrent UTIs can occur for many reasons, including:
Symptoms & Signs
What are the signs and symptoms of the infection?
A UTI may cause any of the following symptoms:
Diagnosis & Tests
How is the infection diagnosed?
A history of the symptoms is taken by a healthcare provider. A urine sample may be sent to a lab for a urinalysis and a urine culture. Infected urine often contains bacteria and white blood cells, the infection-fighting cells of the body. Normal urine contains little or no bacteria or white blood cells.
Prevention & Expectations
What can be done to prevent the infection?
Prevention of recurring urinary tract infections can involve several steps:
What are the long-term effects of the infection?
Recurring UTIs can damage the urinary system. A UTI can spread to the blood, causing sepsis. That can cause severe illness and even death.
What are the risks to others?
UTIs are usually not contagious. However, infections of the urethra are generally spread through sexual contact.
Treatment & Monitoring
What are the treatments for the infection?
A person who has an abnormality in the urinary system may be able to have surgery to correct the problem. Otherwise, antibiotics, such as
A person who has an artificial device, such as a urinary catheter, in the bladder should have the device changed or cleaned regularly.
What are the side effects of the treatments?
Antibiotics may cause allergic reactions and stomach upsets. Other side effects vary depending on the medication used.
What happens after treatment for the infection?
The person can usually go back to normal activities once the symptoms have gone away.
How is the infection monitored?
Often, a person with recurring UTIs is asked to give a urine sample after treatment is completed. A urinalysis and urine culture can be done to check that the bacteria are gone from the urinary tract.
Article type: xmedgeneral