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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Diseases and Conditions > Urinary Tract Infection
      Category : Health Centers > Urinary System & Kidneys

Urinary Tract Infection

Alternate Names : Cystitis, Bladder Infection, UTI

Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

A urinary tract infection, also called a UTI, is an infection of the bladder. The bladder holds urine produced by the kidneys.

What is going on in the body?

The bladder and the urine it holds are normally free from bacteria and other organisms. A urinary tract infection occurs when organisms are introduced into the bladder. Bacteria from the skin may enter through the urethra. The urethra is the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body. Organisms can also enter the bladder on urinary catheters.

Bacteria in the bladder are usually flushed out when the person urinates. If bacteria multiply faster than they can be removed, a UTI results.

UTIs are more common in women than in men. Women have a shorter urethra which allows easier access for bacteria.

What are the causes and risks of the condition?

The most common cause of a UTI is a bacteria called E. coli. These bacteria are normally present in the bowel and feces. They can be introduced into the bladder by sexual activity.

Following are some of the risk factors for developing a UTI:

  • advanced age
  • bladder abnormalities
  • blockage of the urethra by a tumor or enlarged prostate
  • diabetes
  • impaired bladder function
  • inadequate fluid intake
  • objects inserted into the bladder, such as a urinary catheter
  • poor hygiene
  • pregnancy


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    Urinary Tract Infection: Symptoms & Signs

    Author: Eva Martin, MD
    Reviewer: Eileen McLaughlin, RN, BSN
    Date Reviewed: 09/10/01

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