Urinary Tract Infections

  • About half of all adult women report that they have had a urinary tract infection at some time during their life
  • The prevalence of asymptomatic bacteriuria is about 1 to 2 percent in newborns
  • After the first year of life, infections are more common in females
  • During the ages 5 to 18 years, the prevalence is 1.2 percent in girls, fourfold the rate found in boys
  • The prevalence of bacteriuria in females rises about 1 percent per decade, up to almost 10 percent in elderly women
  • 20 percent of the women who develop a urinary tract infection will have frequent recurrences of infection (every 2 to 4 months) following the initial episode


Epidemiology of UTI

  • Urinary tract infections account for more than 7 million visits to physicians annually
  • 20 to 50 percent of women develop a UTI during their lifetime.
  • The incidence of infection is 30 times higher in adult women than men.
  • UTIs are more common in male infants than female infants
    • Uncircumcised infants have more UTIs than circumcised infants.
    • The incidence of congenital genitourinary disorders in males is higher than in females
  • Men and women above the age of 50 years have a similar incidence of urinary infection. Potential causes for this rise in male infections may include
    • Prostatic enlargement
    • Bladder outlet obstruction
    • Residual urine
    • Urinary tract instrumentation
  • 15 to 35 percent incidence of asymptomatic bacteriuria in institutionalized elderly men



United States

Doctor visits (1997): 8.318 million visits1
Hospital discharges listing a diagnosis of UTI among all listed
diagnoses (1999): 1.658 million2
Incidence (self-reported, 2000): 11 percent of women annually3
Estimaged Prevalence: 9.6 million (1996)



  1. Ambulatory Care Visits to Physician Offices, Hospital Outpatient Departments, and Emergency Departments: United States, 1997. Atlanta, GA: NCHS, CDC, DHHS; November 1999. Vital and Health Statistics. Series 13, No. 143.
  2. 1999 National Hospital Discharge Survey: Annual Summary with Detailed Diagnoses and Procedures Data. Atlanta, GA: NCHS, CDC, DHHS; September 2001. Vital and Health Statistics. Series 13, No. 151.
  3. Foxman B, Barlow R, D'Arcy H, Gillespie B, Sobel JD. Urinary tract infection: self-reported incidence and associated costs. Annals of Epidemiology. 2000;10(8):509-515.

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