A urinary tract infection or UTI is an infection that can happen anywhere along the urinary tract. Your urinary tract is the system that makes urine and carries it out of your body. Urinary tract infections can have different names, depending on what part of the urinary tract is infected. The infection can be in the bladder, kidneys, ureters, or the urethra. If the infection is in the bladder it is called cystitis or a bladder infection. If the infection is in the kidneys is it called pyelonephritis or a kidney infection. If the infection is in the urethra it is called urethritis. Most urinary tract infections are bladder infections. Infections in the ureters are very rare.
UTIs are caused by germs, usually bacteria that enter the urethra and then the bladder. Most of the time, your body can get rid of these bacteria. However, certain conditions increase the risk of having UTIs. Many different things can increase the risk of getting a UTI. For example if you have diabetes, kidney stones, problems emptying your bladder completely, a urinary catheter, bowel incontinence, or having anything that blocks the flow of urine. Something that could block the flow of urine would be an enlarged prostate or a narrowed urethra. You also have an increased risk if you are older (especially people in nursing homes), if you are immobile, and if you have gotten a surgery or other procedure involving your urinary tract. Women have a bigger risk of getting a UTI than men do. This is because women have a shorter urethra than in men. Women that are pregnant have a greater risk, and women that have menopause. The symptoms of a bladder infection are: cloudy or bloody urine, which may have a foul or strong odor, low fever, pain or burning with urination, pressure or cramping in the lower abdomen or back, and a strong need to urinate often, even right after the bladder has been emptied. If the infection spreads to your kidneys, symptoms may include: chills and shaking or night sweats,...
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