What is a urinary tract infection (UTI)?
A UTI is an infection in the urinary tract. Infections are caused by microbes—organisms too small to be seen without a microscope—including fungi, viruses, and bacteria. Bacteria are the most common cause of UTIs. Normally, bacteria that enter the urinary tract are rapidly removed by the body before they cause symptoms. However, sometimes bacteria overcome the body’s natural defenses and cause infection. An infection in the urethra is called urethritis. A bladder infection is called cystitis. Bacteria may travel up the ureters to multiply and infect the kidneys. A kidney infection is called pyelonephritis.
Learn more from the National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NKUDIC):
- What causes UTI's?
- How common are UTIs in adults?
- Who is at risk for a UTI?
- Are UTIs serious?
- What are the signs and symptoms of a UTI?
- How are UTIs diagnosed?
- How are UTIs treated?
- How can recurrent UTIs be prevented?