Myth vs. Fact: Urinary Tract Infection

Around 40% of women in America experience a urinary tract infection (UTI) at some stage in their life. Approximately one out of every ten post-menopausal women experienced a UTI in 2023. If you’re dealing with the condition, know it's common and not alone. There are plenty of myths surrounding UTIs, and this post intends to bust these myths and give you the truth about UTIs.

Myth vs. Fact: Urinary Tract Infection

UTI's Explained

UTIs affect the urinary tract, infecting areas like the urethra, bladder, and kidneys. However, most of these infections occur in the bladder. While some women experience symptoms of UTI, others don’t present any. When symptoms do appear, they may manifest as:

  • Burning feeling during urination
  • A strong urge to urinate
  • Frequent urination
  • Pelvic pain
  • Discolored, pink urine

Some women may experience fatigue, chills, pain, or fever from the infection. Typically, severe symptoms indicate a spread of the infection outside the lower urinary tract into the bloodstream or kidneys.

Here Are Some Common Myths and Truths About Urinary Tract Infections

Myth – UITs only affect women; men don’t get them.

Fact—Both men and women can experience a UTI. However, they are more common in women since they have shorter urethras than men. The bacteria causing the infection can easily reach the bladder due to the shorter distance to travel, where symptoms manifest themselves.

Post-menopausal women have a higher risk factor of developing UTIs. This is because of the changes they experience in urethral and vaginal tissues as estrogen levels decline.

Antibiotics And Treatment

Myth – UTIs require treatment with a course of antibiotics.

Fact – Most UTIs resolve themselves without any medical or pharmacological intervention. Some people may not experience symptoms of UTI. The bacteria causing the condition is “asymptomatic bacteriuria,” the pathogen may not cause symptoms in some people.

However, some people require medical treatment for UTI. Pregnant women, older adults undergoing urologic surgery, or those with weakened immune systems may require a course of antibiotics.

If a urine culture is done and increased white blood cells are present, it's often a sign of an infection in the urinary tract. Doctors may administer antibiotics to patients experiencing painful symptoms.

Myth – A UTI self-resolves without treatment.

Fact – While asymptomatic bacteriuria infections will self-resolve without complications, some severe UTIs require antibiotic intervention. This may be necessary to resolve the problem and restore the patient’s health. This is true, especially in people who experience symptoms alongside the infection. Speak to your doctor if you experience pain, burning, or urinary frequency symptoms.

Myth – Drinking cranberry juice resolves UTIs

Fact – Cranberry juice contains antimicrobial compounds that can prevent bacteria from adhering to the bladder lining. However, it’s not an effective treatment for eliminating a UTI.

Most cranberry juice products from the local grocery store contain excess sugar and additives that can worsen the infection. Be sure to drink plenty of water to flush the urinary system.


Myth – A UTI always presents symptoms.

Fact—Many UTIs cause symptoms in patients. Common effects include an increase in the feeling you need to urinate or a burning sensation when peeing. However, many patients never experience symptoms.

You can get a bladder infection and not even know you have one. It’s more common for people using catheters to empty their bladders to experience infection with asymptomatic bacteriuria.

Myth – A UTI is a sexually transmitted infection (STI).

Fact – Sexual activity can increase the risk of a UTI. It’s not a pathogen that spreads through sexual contact like an STI. However, sex can cause bacteria to enter the urethra, causing an infection.

You can prevent UTI risk by peeing after sexual intercourse to flush the bacteria away. A UTI is not a contagious disease, and partners aren't at risk of spreading the disease between each other.

Myth – Holding in your urine can cause a UTI.

Fact—At some point, everyone ends up holding their urge to pee for longer than they should. That doesn’t mean you’ll develop a UTI. However, it can result in the buildup of bacteria in the bladder and urinary system. The more bacteria in the urinary system, the higher the risk of developing a UTI or kidney infection.

Key Takeaways

If you experience symptoms relating to UTI that persist for longer than 24 hours, speak to your health professional. Don’t rely on the internet for a diagnosis; book an appointment and talk to a medical professional.


The attentive, compassionate physicians, providers, and staff at Adult Pediatric Urology & Urogynecology are committed to providing innovative, quality patient care in our state-of-the-art facility.

From screening and prevention to treatment and recovery, our health professionals will be there for you. Our team of dedicated physicians has been serving residents of Nebraska, Iowa, and South Dakota for more than 25 years.

Contact us today