Urinary Tract Infections (UTI)

How does a urinary tract infection affect the body?

A Answers (2)

  • Urinary tract infections can affect the bodies in several ways, depending on the specific location of the infection and the severity of the infection. When the lower urinary tract is involved and the severity is limited, local symptoms such as pain and burning with urination, frequent and hesitant urination, and blood in the urine are typical. When the upper urinary tract is involved and/or the severity of the infection is more pronounced, more generalized symptoms such as fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal and back pain may appear. When urinary tract infections are treated promptly and effectively, complications are unlikely. However, if treatment is delayed or insufficient, significant complications can arise.

  • AHealthwise answered

    Urinary tract infections (UTIs) typically occur when bacteria from the rectal area enter through the urethra and travel up the urinary tract to the bladder or kidneys.

    Typically, UTIs cause urinary symptoms, such as pain or burning during urination. Some mild bladder infections may go away on their own within a couple of days. Most UTIs clear up quickly with antibiotics and home treatment, which includes drinking plenty of water and urinating frequently. The amount of time required to cure the infection and the need for urine tests will vary with the location (bladder or kidneys), frequency and seriousness of the infection. Kidney infections and UTIs that are complicated by other factors require longer treatment.

    Complications of UTIs are not common but do occur. Serious complications can include permanent kidney damage and widespread infection (sepsis), which can be life-threatening. The risk is greater if the infection is not treated or if the infection does not respond to antibiotics.

    Although it is possible to have a relapse of the same infection, most recurrent UTIs are caused by new infections. About 20 to 30 out of 100 women have recurrent infections. A rapid relapse usually means that treatment failed or there is another problem affecting the urinary tract (not just the infection). But recurrent UTIs in women usually aren't serious.

    UTIs in men - Men sometimes have uncomplicated urinary tract infections. UTIs in older men are more often related to prostate problems. This can make them more difficult to treat. Having an enlarged prostate, which is common in older men, can limit the body's ability to pass urine. Repeated UTIs may indicate prostatitis, epididymitis, or another urinary tract problem.

    This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. To learn more visit

    © Healthwise, Incorporated.

Did You See?  Close
If I get urinary tract infections (UTI) often, how can my doctor help me?