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Urinary Tract Infections

Urinary Tract Infections are one of the most common infections to affect people. Urinary tract infections (UTIs) can affect men, women, and children, but women suffer more frequently from these infections. Fortunately, UTIs can usually be treated successfully if they are diagnosed and treated early.

A urinary tract infection occurs when bacteria gets into the urinary tract and infects the system. Occasionally, the kidneys may become infected as well, causing a serious UTI, which could result in kidney damage. Many women who have one UTI will experience others in their lifetime. It is estimated that nearly 20% of women who have an episode of urinary tract infection will have another, 30% of those will have a third infection, and approximately 80% of those with recurrent infections will experience even more.

Bacteria can also infect a man’s urinary tract, even though this is not as common. The majority of UTIs in men are caused by an obstruction, usually an enlarged prostate gland. This type of obstruction can cause incomplete voiding and the back up of urine in the bladder. The residual urine can lead to an infection in the bladder.

Factors that contribute to Urinary Tract Infections

There are a number of factors that may increase a person’s risk of getting urinary tract infections. These include:

  • Certain people with diseases like diabetes or an abnormal urinary system. Also kidney stones can increase the risk of UTIs.
  • An enlargement of the prostate gland
  • Certain people who have recently undergone catheterization or a procedure that involved having a medical instrument inserted into the urethra.
  • Urinary tract infections also occur in infants and children who are born with urinary tract abnormalities, some of which need to be corrected with surgery.
  • Sexual intercourse, especially for women.
  • The use of birth control methods such as the diaphragm.
  • Pregnancy can also be associated with a higher rate of urinary tract infections because of hormonal and other changes in the anatomy of the urinary tract during pregnancy.
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