Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)

  • Medical Author:
    Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP

    Dr. Balentine received his undergraduate degree from McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland. He attended medical school at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine graduating in1983. He completed his internship at St. Joseph's Hospital in Philadelphia and his Emergency Medicine residency at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center in the Bronx, where he served as chief resident.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

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Quick GuideUrinary Tract Infections (Bladder Infection): UTI Symptoms, Treatment, Causes

Urinary Tract Infections (Bladder Infection): UTI Symptoms, Treatment, Causes

When should people seek medical care for a UTI?

Any adult or child who develops any of the symptoms of a urinary tract infection needs to be evaluated by a medical professional, preferably within 24 hours. Most medical offices can test urine for infection by using a quick urine "dipstick" test.

  • Someone who has symptoms of a lower urinary tract infection should call a health-care professional for an appointment, preferably on the same day that symptoms are recognized.
  • Someone who has symptoms of an upper urinary tract infection involving the kidneys should call a health-care professional immediately. Depending on the situation, he or she will recommend either a visit to the office or to a hospital emergency department.

If someone has symptoms of a lower urinary tract infection and any of the following applies, he or she may be at risk for complications of the urinary tract infection.

  • Vomiting and inability to keep down clear fluids or medication
  • Not better after taking antibiotics for two days
  • Pregnant
  • Having diabetes or another disease that affects the immune system
  • Taking medication that suppresses the immune system such as cancer chemotherapy

Infants, children, and elderly people with any of the signs and symptoms of UTI should see their health-care professional as soon as possible or go to an emergency department for evaluation.

  • Fever, lethargy, and poor appetite may indicate a urinary tract infection in these groups, but they may also be signs of something more serious.
  • Urinary tract infections have the potential to make these vulnerable people very ill when the bacteria spread into the bloodstream.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/26/2016

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