Symptoms of Urinary Infection

By Katharine Paljug @kpaljug
October 30, 2017

Learn the symptoms of a urinary infection, properly called a urinary tract infection, to avoid complications that may affect your kidneys.

A urinary infection is properly called a urinary tract infection, or UTI for short. The human body does not contain a urinary, but it does have a urinary tract.

The urinary tract is the drainage system that removes urine from your body. It contains the kidneys, bean-shaped organs that serve as filters and produce urine; ureters, the tubes of muscle that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder; the bladder, which stores urine; and the urethra, the muscle located at the neck of the bladder where urine exits the body. When an infection occurs in any part of this system, it is called a urinary tract infection.


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What causes urinary infections?

Urinary tract infections are one of the most common bacterial infections, though they can also be caused by certain types of fungi. UTIs affect over 150 billion people worldwide every year.

If microbes enter the urinary tract and are not flushed out when you urinate, you can develop a UTI. Urinary tract infections can be caused by:

  • Sexual activity, which pushes microbes into the urethra
  • Improper wiping after toilet use, causing bacteria from feces to enter the urethra
  • “G-string” underwear
  • Catheter use in a healthcare setting
  • A bacterial infection from another part of your body that spreads to the urinary tract
  • Injury or disability that makes it difficult to use the bathroom regularly, causing you to hold in urine and increasing the risk of bacteria growth

If you have diabetes or a weakened immune system, you have an increased risk for infections like a UTI. And if you have suffered from a urinary tract infection in the past, you are more likely to develop another, known as a recurrent UTI.



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March 25, 2020

Reviewed By:  

Christopher Nystuen, MD, MBA