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Urinary tract infection in Adult
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed

Urinary tract infection in Adult

Contributors: Leslie Algase MD, Nayef El-Daher MD, PhD, Zaw Min MD, FACP, Paritosh Prasad MD
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed


Urinary tract infection (UTI) is a general term that describes infection anywhere in the urinary system. UTI can be further subclassified by the exact location of the infection, presence or absence of symptoms, and complications. In everyday practice, these classifications are subject to significant overlap and cause clinical confusion.

  • Bacteriuria – Presence of bacteria in the urine.
  • Asymptomatic bacteriuria – Presence of > 105 colony-forming units (CFU)/mL in urine in the absence of symptoms.
  • Cystitis – Syndrome involving constellation of dysuria, frequency, urgency, and occasionally suprapubic tenderness; can also be present in the setting of lower urinary tract inflammation in the absence of infection or urethritis.
  • Acute pyelonephritis – Clinical syndrome characterized by flank pain, flank tenderness, and fever in the setting of ascending UTI with renal parenchymal involvement. In addition to upper UTI and the triad of pyelonephritis (flank pain, fever, and nausea / vomiting), the patient can have noninfectious etiologies like renal calculi and renal infarction.
  • Uncomplicated UTI – UTI in a structurally and neurologically normal urinary tract in a low-risk host.
  • Complicated UTI – UTI in the presence of anatomical or functional abnormalities. In general, UTIs in men, pregnant individuals, children, and patients in a health care-associated setting may be considered complicated.
  • Urosepsis – Sepsis caused by a UTI.
Risk Factors
All sexes:
  • History of previous UTIs
  • History of urologic instrumentation and surgery
  • History of urethral catheterization
  • Urinary tract obstruction
  • Neurogenic bladder
  • Renal transplantation
  • Functional or mental impairment
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Kidney or bladder stones
In women:
  • Low socioeconomic status
  • Sexual intercourse
  • Lack of urination after intercourse
  • Spermicidal contraceptive jellies
  • Diaphragm use
  • Pregnancy
  • Sickle cell trait in pregnancy
  • Estrogen deficiency
  • Bladder prolapse
  • Urinary incontinence
In men:
  • Insertive anal intercourse
  • Prostate enlargement
  • Uncircumcised penis
  • The most common infecting organisms are Escherichia coli (70%), Klebsiella pneumoniae (7%), and Enterococcus spp (6%) in community-acquired infections. Staphylococcus saprophyticus accounts for 5%-15% of UTIs in young sexually active women in the United States.
  • Patients admitted to hospitals and long-term care facilities have a higher number of Proteus, Enterobacter, Pseudomonas, Staphylococcus, and Enterococcus isolates compared with outpatients. Anaerobic organisms are rarely the cause of UTIs.
  • Uncommon organisms include Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
  • Ascending route – In most UTIs, pathogens gain access to the urinary tract by ascending the urethra to the bladder. Further ascent of pathogens is the cause of most renal parenchymal infections. Urethral massage and sexual intercourse facilitate the first step of this process in females. Indwelling catheters facilitate ascent, and spermicides promote vaginal colonization with pathogens.
  • Hematogenous route – Associated with abscess formation in the kidneys. Usually results from bacteremia with virulent pathogens such as Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella, or possibly Candida. Infection of the kidney with gram-negative bacilli through a hematogenous route is rare in humans, although ascending pyelonephritis can lead to bacteremia in 20%-30% of cases.
Signs and Symptoms
Strong diagnostic indicators of UTI include hematuria, urinary frequency, dysuria, costovertebral angle tenderness on physical examination, back pain, and fever. Poor diagnostic indicators include vaginal discharge and vaginal irritation.


N39.0 – Urinary tract infection, site not specified

68566005 – Urinary tract infection

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Last Reviewed:05/15/2024
Last Updated:05/20/2024
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Urinary tract infection in Adult
A medical illustration showing key findings of Urinary tract infection (Acute Pyelonephritis) : Chills, Fever, Flank pain, Vomiting, Hematuria, Pyuria, Dysuria, Suprapubic pain, CVA tenderness, WBC elevated, Leukocyte esterase positive
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