A urinary tract infection is one of the most obnoxious health problems that women have to face. A frequent urge to pee, only a small amount of urine coming out, and all this with a burning sensation while peeing. The pain and inconvenience that come along with this issue are not uncommon. This problem is very rare in men and is mostly experienced by women. In fact, according to data from the National Institutes of Health, more than 50 percent of women face this issue in their lifetimes. While visiting a medical clinic is a good suggestion, it is good to educate yourself about the problem.

As I mentioned above, women have to deal with this problem more often than men. And you can blame anatomy for this. The tube that urine flows out of is called a urethra. Now, women have a shorter urethra than men. This is why it becomes so much easier for UTI-causing bacteria to reach the bladder by passing through the urethra. Let’s learn more about the infection.

What Is Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)?

It is basically defined as an infection that happens in any part of the urinary system. These include kidneys, bladder, ureters, and urethra. Most often the lower urinary tract (the bladder and the urethra) is involved in infections. Infection involving your bladder can be very annoying and painful. But the major problems begin if UTI involves your kidneys. Doctors typically recommend antibiotics to treat a UTI.

Symptoms of a Urinary Tract Infection

It is not very often that urinary tract infections show signs and symptoms. But when they do, you should look for them. These include –

Pain, or sensation of burning or stinging when peeing

The first sign that you need to look out for is pain or sensation of burning when you pee. But even if you are experiencing this, it does not mean that you are suffering from a full-blown UTI. You can get sure about it once it becomes persistent. If you experience the pain only once throughout the day; and there is no other symptom of a UTI. It means that the bacteria have already left your body. One of the best things to do when you feel pain or burning is to drink extra water. This helps your body flush out the small amounts of bacteria, and prevent the infection from growing.

A strong, persistent urge to pee all the time

You may find it difficult to control the urge to pee even after peeing. And if you are also experiencing some other symptoms, you probably have a UTI. Bacteria cause the irritation in the urethra and lining of the bladder. This makes you experience an urge to pee desperately. However, you should get sure about this, because many women experience an overactive bladder without any infection.

Even peeing does not bring relief

A frequent urge to pee is a symptom. But if you have a UTI, only dribbles come out when you go to pee. So, even after many trips to the bathroom, you get no relief.

Cloudy, bloody, or discolored urine

The color of your urine can be telling you a lot of things, make sure you pay attention to it. If the color of your pee is anything off the yellow or clear spectrum, you should get warned. Red, brown, or cloudy urine are all symptoms of a UTI. But, before you start panicking, think of what you ate in the last 24 hours. Some foods can also make your urine pink, orange, or red in color. However, there will be no pain unless you have an infection.

Strong-smelling urine

This is very irritating, and you won’t have to do much to see this symptom. If there is a strong, pungent smell after you pee, it’s probably because of UTI. But be sure to check other symptoms too before jumping to a conclusion.

Pain around your bladder/pelvis

This is especially seen in older women. Cramping, pressure, or abdominal pain is one of the most common symptoms of UTI. Many women easily ignore these symptoms or associate them with something else. But it is important to pay attention to them.

Extreme fatigue

Just like any other infection, a UTI can also lead your body to a state of inflammation. This triggers the release of white blood cells. And this causes feelings of fatigue.


Along with all the other symptoms of UTI, a fever tells you that the infection has become more serious. This means that the infection now involves the kidneys. You should immediately visit a medical clinic if you have a high fever.

Risk factors for UTIs in women

Urinary tract infections are more common in women than in men. And some of the risk factors for UTIs specifically in women include –

Sexual activity

It is seen that many women get urinary tract infections after sexual intercourse. Women who are more active sexually than others tend to have more UTIs than other women. So, you can say that having a sexual partner can increase the risk of having UTIs. This happens because bacteria can transfer from the bowel (or vaginal cavity) into the urethra because of the motion. But peeing within 30 minutes before and after sexual activity can reduce the risk. Also, washing up after sexual activity is a good thing, but try not to use lots of soap products.


UTIs become very common in women after menopause. The estrogen production drops in women after menopause. This results in changes in vaginal pH. This further leads to the distribution of the balance of bacteria and yeast in the vagina. And hence, increasing the chances of infection.


Another cause of UTIs is constipation, so you have to beware of it. Constipation can make it difficult to empty your bladder completely. This gives bacteria a lot of time to grow and cause infection. 

Uncontrolled diabetes

If you have high blood sugar, the excess sugar makes its way out through the urine. But this creates a favorable environment for bacteria to grow. This can further lead to infection. Also, people with diabetes have weaker immune systems. That’s why it becomes difficult for their bodies to fight off bacteria that cause infection.

Holding in your urine

You should never hold in your urine. If you feel like you have to go, just go! Holding in your urine for long hours can make you more prone to UTIs. Bacteria easily get into the bladder and have more time to grow and cause infection.


Drinking water quenches your thirst and also wards off UTIs. By peeing regularly, your body flushes out any bacteria that could reach your urinary tract and cause infection. And drinking water can help you prevent infection.

Kidney stones

Kidney stones are basically hard mineral deposits. They form inside your kidney and can block the urinary tract. These stones can back up urine and can cause urinary tract infections as bacteria get more time to grow.