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Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are infections in any part of the urinary system – kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra. Most involve the lower urinary tract including the bladder and urethra. Serious consequences can occur if a UTI spreads to your kidneys. The different UTIs include:

  • Acute pyelonephritis (kidneys)

  • Cystitis (bladder)

  • Urethritis (urethra)


Urinary tract infections don’t always cause signs and symptoms, but when they do, they may include:

  • A strong, persistent urge to urinate
  • A burning sensation when urinating
  • Passing frequent, small amounts of urine
  • Urine that appears cloudy
  • Urine that appears red, bright pink or dark brown
  • Strong-smelling urine
  • Pelvic pain in women

Risk Factors

UTIs are common in women, and many women experience more than one infection during their lifetime. Female-specific risk factors include:

  • Female anatomy – women have shorter urethras
  • Sexual activity
  • Certain types of birth control
  • Menopause
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea

Other risk factors include:

  • Urinary tract abnormalities
  • Blockages in the urinary tract
  • A suppressed immune system
  • Catheter use
  • A recent urinary procedure

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