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Urinary Tract Infections

What is a UTI?

Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) is a bacterial infection of the urinary system most commonly caused by E. Coli bacteria entering the urinary tract. The three types of UTIs can include:

(a) Cystitis – an infection/inflammation of the urinary bladder.

(b) Urethritis – an infection/inflammation of the urethra (the passage way that connects the bladder with the exterior of the body)

(c) Pyelonephritis – is the infection of the upper urinary tract and kidneys.

What causes UTIs?

The causes of UTIs differs between men and women because of the differences in the anatomical structure of the urinary tract.

Women – most UTIs are “ascending infections” meaning they are caused by disease agents or bacteria traveling upward through the urethra. The relative shortness of the female urethra (1.2-2 inches in length) makes it easy for bacteria to gain entry to the bladder and multiply. The most common bacteria associated with UTIs is E. coli.

Men – Most UTIs in adult males are complications of kidney or prostate infections. They are usually associated with a tumor or kidney stones that block the flow of urine and are often persistent infections caused by drug-resistant organisms. UTIs in men are most likely to be caused by E. coli.

Other risk factors for UTIs adults include:

  • people with urinary catheters – such as the critically ill, who can’t empty their own bladder
  • people with diabetes – who are more vulnerable to infection due to changes to the immune system.

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