Urinary tract infections in women

Med Clin North Am. 2004 Mar;88(2):417-29. doi: 10.1016/S0025-7125(03)00148-2.


Urinary tract infections in female patients are exceedingly common. One third of all women with an initial UTI demonstrate recurrence, and one third of those recurrences are in the first 6 months. The potential morbidity of RUTIs is high, especially in infants, the elderly, and pregnant patients. Uropathogenic bacteria reside in the rectal vault, colonize the vagina, and then ascend per the urethra into the bladder. These bacteria avidly adhere to uroepithelial cells using pili and can further ascend to the kidneys. Empiric treatment of an initial uncomplicated UTI is acceptable, but recurrences warrant a urine culture and possible radiographic evaluation. Fluoroquinolones are now first-line medications for UTIs, except in geographic areas where resistance to TMP-SMX is still low. Response to therapy should govern the need for additional treatment. Certain motivated patients with three or more UTIs per year should be considered for prophylaxis therapy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Urinary Tract Infections / diagnosis
  • Urinary Tract Infections / etiology
  • Urinary Tract Infections / physiopathology*
  • Urinary Tract Infections / therapy*