Top of the page
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are also called bladder infections. UTIs are usually treated with antibiotics which kill germs (bacteria). Bacteria can become resistant to antibiotics (they can't be killed by antibiotics anymore), so you should only use antibiotics when you have an infection. Because antibiotics can have side effects and allergic reactions, they should only be used when you have a UTI.
You can have bacteria in your urine even if you don't have a UTI. This is common in older adults, and does not need to be treated with antibiotics unless there are symptoms.
The main symptoms of a UTI can include one or more of these symptoms:
Your healthcare provider will likely test your urine when:
Your healthcare provider should not test your urine:
Cloudy or smelly urine usually means you need to drink more fluids.
In older people, changes in your mood, balance, or how much energy you have, are not usually caused by a UTI. Before you have a urine test for infection, your healthcare provider will look at other more common causes of health changes, like:
Your healthcare provider may start antibiotics before they get the test results back, or they may also decide to wait until your tests are back before prescribing antibiotics to you. See your healthcare provider if you've been taking the antibiotics for 2 days and your symptoms aren't getting better.
To see this information online and learn more, visit MyHealth.Alberta.ca/Alberta/Pages/urine-testing-when-to-treat-UTI.aspx.
For 24/7 nurse advice and general health information call Health Link at 811.
Current as of: September 30, 2020
Author: Pharmacy Services, Alberta Health Services
Care instructions may be adapted by your healthcare provider. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, talk with your doctor or appropriate healthcare provider.