What is a urinary tract infection?

The urinary tract is made up of the upper urinary tract and the lower urinary tract. The upper urinary tract contains the kidneys (which are two small organs on either side of your spine about at your waist), and your ureters (which are the tubes that carry the urine from your kidneys to the bladder). The lower urinary tract contains the bladder (the organ where urine is stored) and the urethra (the little tube that connects the bladder to outside of your body.

So from innermost to outermost you have kidneys, ureters, bladder, then urethra. In general, the further up the infection, the more dangerous it is. If the infection were to spread all the way to your kidneys, there could be serious problems and consequences. A lower urinary tract infection is serious, but generally not as serious as an upper urinary tract infection. The infection is caused when bacteria enter the urethra openings in the urinary system and grow inside the lower urinary tract. If it is not treated, it could spread to the kidneys, so it is not something to be taken lightly. The infection is quite common. It is the second most common infection behind respiratory infections. It is usually the lower urinary tract that gets infected.

Urinary tract infections are typically called UTI for short. About 10 million people in the USA get these infections every year. Both men and women can get them, but women are more likely to get them. Small children below 2 years old are more likely to get them than older children. It is speculated that harmful bacteria from the child's feces is pushed around in the diaper until it enters the urethra. Good hygiene and bathroom habits will help to keep adults and children from getting an infection. Women should always wipe from front to back, not from back to front. With men, it is not as critical due to the lack of proximity of the anus to the end of the penis.

If you think you might have a urinary tract infection, you should speak with a medical professional. This article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. If you would like to do some additional reading on the subject, or you are looking for a description of urinary tract infection symptoms, we recommend that you visit UrinaryTractInfectionSymptoms.net for more information. Although a UTI may be asymptomatic (presenting no symptoms), there are particular possibilities that may be related to the condition. Symptoms vary from one case to another, and also may be different depending upon whether the kidney or bladder is infected.

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