What is Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)?

UTI is a common infection caused by bacteria that can affect several parts of the Urinary tract including urethra, urinary bladder, ureter or kidneys¹. Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are among the most common bacterial infections in humans.
Its more common in women than men because women have a shorter urethra. This makes it easier for bacteria to get into the bladder.

Which bacteria causes UTI?

The bacteria Eschericia Coli is the most common cause of UTI. Other bacterias that can cause UTI include: Staphylococcus saprophyticus, Klebsiella pneumoniae, and Proteus mirabilis.⁵

What are the signs and Symptoms of UTI?

  • A Burning sensation when urinating
  • A strong persistent urge to urinate
  • Pain in the lower abdomen
  • Urine that appears cloudy
  • Sometimes blood in the urine
  • Frequent urination
  • Suprapubic pain

Is UTI the same as STI?

Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI)
Not sexually transmitted Sexually transmitted
No vaginal discharge Abnormal Vaginal discharge
No Genital blisters or rash Genital blisters or rashes

Some of the most common symptoms of STDs include:

  • Abnormal discharge from the vagina or penis
  • Red or itchy genitals
  • Sores, warts, or blisters on the mouth or genital areas
  • Abnormal odour
  • Fever
  • Anal itching, bleeding, or discharge or pain with bowel movements
  • Pain with sex

Types of Urinary Tract Infections

Uncomplicated UTI: Lower urinary tract infection (UTI) in either men or non-pregnant women who are otherwise healthy.

Complicated UTI: A Lower urinary tract infection (UTI)  associated with risk factors that increase the likelihood and danger of the infection or make it very difficult to treat e.g. Diabetes, immunosuppression, and abnormalities such as obstruction or inability to pass urine completely.

Recurrent urinary tract infections (RUTIs): Having two or more infections in six months or 3 or more infections in a year due to a persistent bacterial infection.⁶

What puts me at risk of getting UTI?

Having a history of recurrent UTIs is a significant risk factor for future occurrences. If you have experienced UTIs in the past, it is essential to take preventive measures to reduce the likelihood of future infections. Working closely with your healthcare provider can help develop an effective management plan tailored to your needs.

The bacteria that cause UTIs live in the area around your anus. Having sex can move bacteria toward the front, where it can more easily enter your urethra and travel to your bladder.

Pregnancy leads to changes in the urinary tract, which can make it harder to fully empty your bladder. Pregnancy hormones may also change the chemical makeup of your urine in ways that could encourage bad bacterial growth.

Not going to the bathroom when you have to or not emptying your bladder completely when you go can lead to a buildup of bad bacteria in your bladder.

Older adults and young children are more likely to get UTIs

Wiping the Wrong Way ,wiping from back to front can introduce bacteria into the urinary tract after using the toilet. Wipe from front to back instead.

Diabetes can cause higher sugar levels in the blood and urine. Higher sugar levels in the urine can promote the growth of bacteria.

These forms of birth control can make it easier for harmful bacteria to enter the urinary tract. Spermicides may kill off good bacteria in and around the vagina, making it easier for harmful bacteria to thrive.

The increased vaginal dryness that often results from a drop in estrogen levels when transitioning to menopause can increase your odds of getting a UTI.

There’s not much space between the opening to your urethra, your vagina, and your rectum, and wearing a thong, a teddy, or string-bikini underwear can trap bacteria in the vaginal area.


Talk to your healthcare professional if you have symptoms of a UTI or for any symptom that is severe or concerning.Taking antibiotics, prescribed by a healthcare professional, at home can treat most UTIs.However, some cases may require treatment in a hospital.

Your healthcare professional will determine if you have a UTI by:

  • Asking about symptoms
  • Doing a physical exam
  • Ordering urine tests, if needed

Bacteria cause UTIs and antibiotics treat them. However, any time you take antibiotics, they can cause side effects. Side effects can include rash, dizziness, nausea, diarrhea, and yeast infections.

Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics such as Fosfomycin, Nitrofurantoin ,Amoxicillin/Clavulanic acid among others.

Sometimes other illnesses, such as sexually transmitted diseases, have symptoms like UTIs. Your healthcare professional can determine if a UTI or different illness is causing your symptoms and determine the best treatment.

When your healthcare professional prescribes you antibiotics:

  • Take antibiotics exactly as your healthcare professional tells you.
  • Do not share your antibiotics with others.
  • Do not save antibiotics for later. Talk to your healthcare professional about safely discarding leftover antibiotics.
  • Drink plenty of water or other fluids. Your healthcare professional might also recommend medicine to help lessen the pain or discomfort. Talk with your healthcare professional if you have any questions about your antibiotics.

Antibiotic resistance is when bacteria (germs) are able to survive or grow despite the use of an antibiotic that was previously able to stop them. (WHO)

  • Misuse of antibiotics
  • Sharing of antibiotics
  • Failure to take the antibiotics as recommended by the doctor
  • Failure to complete the antibiotic dose
  • Buying antibiotics over the counter

Some resistant infections cause severe illness. People with these infections may

  • Be more likely to be hospitalized and have higher medical expenses
  • Take longer to get well
  • Die from the infection
  • Find it hard to get an antibiotic for their illness
  • Urinate after sexual activity.
  • Stay well hydrated.
  • Minimize douching, sprays, or powders in the genital area.
  • Teach girls when potty training to wipe front to back.
  • Maintain good sexual hygiene

Stay informed. stand against uti

Dos and don'ts to prevent uti


  1. Urinary Tract Infections CDC
  2. Hooton TM. Recurrent urinary tract infection in women. Int J Antibiotic Agents 2001; 17: 259–268
  3. Naber KG.  Treatment options for acute   uncomplicated cystitis in adults. J Antimicrob Chemother 2000; 46 (Suppl 1): S23–S28
  4. Flores-Mireles, A.L. et al. (2015) ‘Urinary tract infections: Epidemiology, mechanisms of infection and treatment options’, Nature Reviews Microbiology, 13(5), pp. 269–284. doi:10.1038/nrmicro3432.
  5. Huppert, J.S. et al. (2007) ‘Urinary symptoms in adolescent females: STI or uti?’, Journal of Adolescent Health, 40(5), pp. 418–424. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2006.12.010.
  6. Grabe, M. and Wullt, B. (2017) ‘Urinary tract infection’, Oxford Medicine Online [Preprint]. doi:10.1093/med/9780199659579.003.0004.