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Urinary Tract Infection

A UTI is an infection anywhere in the urinary tract.* Your urinary tract includes the organs that collect and store urine and release it from your body.

They are the

  • kidneys
  • ureters
  • bladder
  • urethra

Kidney : Your kidneys collect wastes and extra water from your blood to make urine.
Ureter : The ureters carry the urine from your kidneys to your bladder.
Bladder : Your bladder stores the urine and squeezes it out when full.
Urethra : The urethra carries the urine out of your bladder when you urinate.
Prostate : The prostate adds fluid to semen.
[Image of the male and female urinary tracts. Illustrating the Kidney, Ureter, Bladder, Prostate and Urethra.]

What causes a UTI ?

Usually, a UTI is caused by bacteria that can also live in the digestive tract, in the vagina, or around the urethra, which is at the entrance to the urinary tract. Most often these bacteria enter the urethra and travel to the bladder and kidneys. Usually, your body removes the bacteria, and you have no symptoms. However, some people seem to be prone to infection, including women and older people.
[Women are more likely to get UTIs than men are.]

When should I see my doctor ?

You should see your doctor if you have any of these signs or symptoms:

  • burning feeling when you urinate,
  • frequent or intense urges to urinate, even when you have little urine to pass
  • pain in your back or lower abdomen
  • cloudy, dark, bloody, or unusual-smelling urine
  • fever or chills

Women are more likely to get UTIs than men are. When men get UTIs, however, they're often serious and hard to treat. UTIs can be especially dangerous for older people and pregnant women, as well as for those with diabetes and those who have difficulty urinating.

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