Learn the symptoms of a urinary infection, properly called a urinary tract infection, to avoid complications that may affect your kidneys.
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.
What causes urinary infections?
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.
March 25, 2020
Christopher Nystuen, MD, MBA