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Bladder Infection (Urinary Tract Infection—UTI) in Adults

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Definition & Facts

A bladder infection is an illness most often caused by bacteria that enter your bladder and multiply. Bladder infections are the most common type of urinary tract infection. If untreated, a bladder infection can develop into a kidney infection.

A doctor talks with a patient while holding a prescription bottle.

Symptoms & Causes

Symptoms of a bladder infection may include burning during urination; frequent urges to urinate; pain or discomfort in the lower abdomen; and cloudy, bloody, or strong-smelling urine. Bacteria are the most common cause of a bladder infection.


Health care professionals use your medical history, a physical exam, and lab tests to diagnose a bladder infection. Your health care professional may also order other tests to help diagnose or find the cause of a bladder infection.


Bladder infections are most often treated with antibiotics. Drinking more liquids can speed recovery and ease symptoms. Help prevent bladder infections by keeping your urinary tract healthy and wearing loose-fitting clothing.

Eating, Diet, & Nutrition

Researchers have not found that diet plays a role in treating bladder infections. Drinking lots of liquids may help prevent bladder infections. Water is best.

Clinical Trials

NIDDK conducts and supports clinical trials in many diseases and conditions, including urologic diseases. The trials look to find new ways to prevent, detect, or treat disease and improve quality of life.

The Urinary Tract & How it Works

The urinary tract is the body’s drainage system for removing urine, which is composed of wastes and extra fluid. For normal urination to occur, all body parts in the urinary tract need to work together in the correct order.

Last Reviewed April 2024

This content is provided as a service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), part of the National Institutes of Health. NIDDK translates and disseminates research findings to increase knowledge and understanding about health and disease among patients, health professionals, and the public. Content produced by NIDDK is carefully reviewed by NIDDK scientists and other experts.

NIDDK would like to thank:
Linda Brubaker, M.D., University of California San Diego