Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) in Women

Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) provides expert care for all types of urinary tract infections (UTIs) in women. Through prevention-focused care, we deliver the diagnosis and treatment you need now while also advising you on steps you can take to prevent future UTIs.

Bacteria (more rarely, fungi and viruses) can cause a range of problems in your urinary tract. Your bladder, urethra and kidneys are all susceptible to one of the most common types of infection: UTIs.

While anyone can get a UTI, women are at higher risk than men because the female urinary tract is located closer to the anus (and bacteria). Our gynecologists and female pelvic medicine specialists (urogynecologists) are specially trained to diagnose and treat both common and complex infections of the urinary tract. By treating the infection at its source, we’ll help you get relief that lasts.

UTI symptoms in women

Symptoms will depend on what part of the urinary tract is affected. Common symptoms include:

  • Frequent bathroom trips
  • Feeling an increased urge to urinate
  • Burning sensation when urinating
  • Changes to the look of urine, such as cloudiness or presence of blood
  • Pelvic pain

When a urinary tract infection affects the kidneys (upper part of the urinary tract), it can cause serious complications. Call your doctor if your symptoms include:

  • Pain near your kidneys (your back or sides)
  • Chills or fever
  • Nausea or vomiting

UTI diagnosis

At LVHN, our providers work together to evaluate your symptoms so that we can get you relief as quickly as possible. After a complete physical exam, your provider may recommend one or more tests to confirm a UTI:

  • Urine sample: These tests look for infection and certain substances that make it more likely a UTI would develop.
  • Urine culture: This test gives your provider more information about what type of bacteria may be causing an infection. These results can also point to the most effective medications for a particular infection.
  • Imaging tests: If you have recurrent (returning) infections, your provider may recommend a computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan. These tests produce detailed images of your urinary tract and can help direct your provider to what may be causing chronic infections.

UTI treatments

Antibiotics resolve most types of UTIs. Your provider will recommend a treatment plan that best fits your needs. If you need antibiotics, it is important to follow your doctor’s instructions closely to avoid an infection coming back.

Our goal in treating a UTI is to address the immediate problem while also pinpointing what caused an infection to develop. We then create a personalized plan that includes diet and lifestyle strategies that can help you avoid getting infections in the future.