What is a urinary tract infection?

A urinary tract infection (UTI) occurs when bacteria or sometimes other microbes enter the urinary tract and begin to grow, usually causing signs and symptoms such as pain and inflammation.

The urinary tract consists of two kidneys, two ureters, a bladder, and a urethra. The kidneys are bean-shaped organs located at the bottom of the ribcage to the right and left of the spine. They filter waste out of the blood and produce urine, which carries the waste and excess water out of the body.


Urine flows from the kidneys through narrow tubes called ureters and into the bladder. The bladder stores urine for a short period of time, but as urine collects, you eventually feel the need to urinate and the bladder contracts to send urine through another tube called the urethra and out of the body.


Urine normally contains very few or no bacteria or other microbes. However, bacteria can sometimes enter the opening of the urethra, multiplying and moving up the urethra to the bladder, causing an infection. Most UTIs remain in the lower urinary tract (urethra or bladder), where they cause symptoms such as a frequent urge to urinate and a burning sensation during urination. Typically, these infections are considered uncomplicated and are easily treated. Left untreated, the infection may spread to the kidneys.


A bladder infection is the most common type of UTI, but other parts of the urinary tract can become infected. These infections may also be identified by the specific part of the urinary tract that is affected:


Inflammation and/or infection of the urethra is called urethritis.


A bladder infection is called cystitis.


Infection of one or both kidneys is called pyelonephritis.

Roxy Bebe

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