What is the urinary tract? The urinary system (also called the “urinary tract”) is the part of your body that makes urine. It is made up of two kidneys, the ureters, the bladder, and the urethra.
How is urine made? Your kidneys make urine by removing wastes and extra water from your blood. The urine travels from your kidneys through two thin tubes called ureters and fills the bladder. When the bladder is full, a person urinates through the urethra to get rid of the waste.
What is a urinary tract infection? A urinary tract infection (also called a “UTI”) is what happens when bacteria (germs) get into the urinary system and multiply. The result is redness, swelling, and pain. If the infection is not treated promptly, the bacteria can travel up to the kidneys and cause a more serious type of infection, called pyelonephritis.
Are certain people more likely to get URINARY TRACT INFECTIONS? Anyone can get one, but some people are more likely than others. Women get UTIs much more often than men. This may be because women have a shorter urethra, which may make it easier for bacteria to reach the bladder. People with diabetes may have changes in their body’s defense system, making it easier to get urinary infections. People with blockages in their urinary tract, such as a kidney stone, are more likely to get UTIs. An enlarged prostate gland in a man can also block the flow of urine and cause a URINARY TRACT INFECTION.
What are the symptoms of a URINARY TRACT INFECTION?
Some people do not feel any symptoms. However, most people will have one or more of the following:
- an urgent need to urinate, often with only a few drops of urine to pass
- a burning feeling during urination
- an aching feeling, pressure, or pain in the lower abdomen (stomach)
- cloudy or blood-tinged urine
- a strong odor to the urine
- If the infection spreads to the kidneys and becomes more serious, you may also have:
- pain in the lower back
- fever and chills
- nausea and vomiting
How are URINARY TRACT INFECTIONS treated?
UTIs are treated with “antibiotics.” Antibiotics are medicines that destroy bacteria and stop them from growing. You may be told to take the antibiotics for one or two weeks. This helps make sure the infection has been cured. You may also be asked to drink plenty of water.