What Are Urinary Tract Infections?

Urinary tract infections, often referred to as UTIs, are infections in any part of the urinary tract, from the kidneys and ureters, to the bladder and urethra. They are a common health problem that affects millions of people each year. Women are especially prone to UTIs.

A UTI may affect any part of the urinary tract causing:

  • Urethritis: This is an infection of the urethra, the hollow tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body.
  • Cystitis: This is an infection in the bladder from germs that have moved up from the urethra.
  • Pyelonephritis: This infection of the kidneys can be caused by infection in other parts of the urinary tract or from a blockage in the urinary tract. A blockage causes urine to back up into the ureters, the tubes that lead from the kidneys to the bladder, and into the kidneys.
  • Abscess: This is a collection of pus found in the urinary tract.