What is it?

A urinary tract infection is usually caused by bacteria entering the bladder and can cause infection in any portion of the urinary tract (bladder and/or kidneys).  In women, the urethra is short and bacteria from the vagina and rectum can easily enter the urinary tract. Diarrhea, sexual activity, and wiping with toilet tissue from back to front can transfer bacteria into the urethra.  In men, the urethra is long and bacteria are less likely to enter the urinary tract.

Is it an STI?

A urinary tract infection is not considered a Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI). The bacteria that cause it are different from bacteria that cause sexually transmitted diseases. However, some urinary tract infections may result from sexual activity and some sexually transmitted infections can cause urinary symptoms. So, always get checked out.


  • Burning on urination
  • The need to urinate frequently
  • Urinating in small amounts
  • Discolored or bloody urine
  • Mid or low back pain*
  • Chills, fever*

*Indicates a more serious infection

NOTE: Do not take any antibiotics before visiting a health care professional; doing so will make diagnosis more difficult.

NOTE: If you use over the counter urinary pain relievers this will NOT cure an infection. It only numbs the pain. You still need to consult a Health Care Provider.

Self Care Options for Symptoms:

  • DRINK LOTS OF LIQUIDS This "flushes out" your urinary tract and bladder and may improve your symptoms. Many health care practitioners believe that drinking cranberry juice may be especially helpful but will not cure an infection (UTI).
  • A HOT WATER BOTTLE OR HEATING PAD applied to the abdomen and/or lower back may help you feel better.
  • MEDICATIONS: ALWAYS read the labels first!
    • Talk with a local Pharmacist if unsure what to take.

Call University Health Center (434)395-2102) or Urgent Care/Emergency Department if UHC Closed:

  • WHEN you first notice symptoms during business hours or call local pharmacist.
  • ANYTIME you are unsure about what to do.

Seek IMMEDIATE Health Care at University Health Center or Urgent Care/Emergency Department:

  • UTI Symptoms AND:
  • Fever higher than 101ºF (38.3ºC)
  • Back pain
  • Blood in your urine
  • Vomiting
  • Flu like symptoms
  • Can NOT urinate at all