What is a UTI?

They are just three little letters: U-T-I; but, my-oh-my, what havoc they can cause. Urinary tract infections are a pain—literally. Let AZO help you get control so you can Own Your DayTM every day! So what are you waiting for? Let’s talk about UTIs!


Obviously, a urinary tract infection is an infection…in your urinary tract, but let’s talk specifics. Your urinary tract includes the urethra, bladder, kidneys and the ureters (the tubes that connect the kidneys to the bladder). The urinary tract is where your body processes liquid waste: the kidneys collect waste from the blood and mixes it with other waste compounds to form urine, which passes via the ureters to the bladder. The urine is stored in the bladder until it’s full and then the body expels the urine through the urethra. An infection anywhere along that pathway can be considered a urinary tract infection. UTIs occur when certain kinds of bacteria either get in from the outside or hang around too long as they’re being flushed from the body.1 UTIs are quite common; they’re the cause of 8.1 million doctor visits per year. In fact, a woman’s risk of getting a UTI in her lifetime is 1 in 2! Women are typically more susceptible to urinary tract infections than men because the urethras are typically much shorter, making a shorter trip for bacteria from the opening to the bladder.2


It’s important to be aware of the symptoms of a UTI because the sooner you recognize it, the sooner you can deal with it. There may be pain or a burning sensation with urination, you may need to pee more often, you might feel a pain or cramping in your abdomen or lower belly, your pee may be cloudy, bloody or particularly foul-smelling and you may experience fever or chills. These symptoms will all increase with the severity of the infection and, depending on where the infection is located (urethra, bladder, ureters or kidney), you may feel pain radiating out from a specific spot or expanding out to include a larger part of your abdominal area.3


There are multiple factors that may increase the risk of contracting UTIs. Some of them are behavioral, such as wiping back to front after a bowel movement, having sexual intercourse, waiting too long to pass urine, or using a diaphragm for birth control.4 Others are conditional, such as diabetes, kidney stones or the loss of estrogen due to menopause—factors which can affect the strength of your immune system in fighting off an infection or alter the pH balance of the vaginal lining, making the likelihood of a bacterial infection greater.5 Because of the length and location of women’s urethras, it’s particularly easy for bacteria to be pushed up from the vagina during sexual intercourse or for the body’s own GI (gastrointestinal) bacteria to enter.


If you’re prone to UTIs, you have options. Keep in mind that if you think you have a UTI, you should always consult your physician. However, now there’s an AZO product that puts you in Control. AZO Urinary Tract Defense® has methenamine, a powerful anti-bacterial agent that slows the growth of bacteria all along your urinary tract, helping to control your UTI until you can see a doctor. It also has sodium salicylate, an effective pain reliever to take away some of the ‘sting.’ Used at the first sign of a UTI, AZO Urinary Tract Defense® can be a helpful part of your recovery!*

1 Urinary Tract Infection Fact Sheet: http://womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/urinary-tract-infection.html
2 Urinary Tract Infection in Adults http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/urologic-disease/urinary-tract-infections-in-adults/Pages/facts.aspx
3 Your Guide to Urinary Tract Infections http://www.webmd.com/women/guide/your-guide-urinary-tract-infections#1
4 Urinary Tract Infection-Adults http://www.nytimes.com/health/guides/disease/urinary-tract-infection/overview.html
5 Urinary Tract Infections http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/urinary-tract-infection/basics/causes/con-20037892
6 AZO Urinary Tract Defense® https://www.azoproducts.com/products/azo-urinary-tract-defense