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Infection of the urinary tract.
Persons most commonly affected: Women are especially susceptible to bacteria which may invade the urinary tract and multiply resulting in infection. UTIs in men are not so common, but they can be very serious when they do occur.
Organ or part of body involved: Urinary Tract
Symptoms and indications: Symptoms of UTI or bladder infection are not easy to miss and include a strong urge to urinate that cannot be delayed which is followed by a sharp pain or burning sensation in the urethra when the urine is released. Most often very little urine is released and the urine that is released may be tinged with blood. The urge to urinate recurs quickly and soreness may occur in the lower abdomen, back, or sides.
This cycle may repeat itself frequently during the day or night--most people urinate about six times a day, when the need to urinate occurs more often a bladder infection should be suspected.
When bacteria enters the ureters and spread to the kidneys, symptoms such as back pain, chills, fever, nausea, and vomiting may occur, as well as the previous symptoms of lower urinary tract infection.
Causes and risk factors: The most common cause of UTI is bacteria from the bowel that lives on the skin near the rectum or in the vagina which can spread and enter the urinary tract through the urethra.
Sexual intercourse is a common cause of urinary tract infections because the female anatomy can make women more prone to urinary tract infections. During sexual intercourse bacteria in the vaginal area is sometimes massaged into the urethra by the motion of the penis.
Another cause of bladder infections or UTI is waiting too long to urinate. The bladder is a muscle that stretches to hold urine and contracts when the urine is released. Waiting very long past the time you first feel the need to urinate causes the bladder to stretch beyond its capacity which over time can weaken the bladder muscle. When the bladder is weakened it may not empty completely and some urine is left in the bladder which may increase the risk of urinary tract infection or bladder infection.
Other factors may also increase a woman\'s risk of developing UTI including pregnancy, having urinary tract infections or bladder infections as a child, having past menopause, and diabetes.
Prevention: Drink plenty of water every day.
Urinate when you feel the need; don\'t resist the urge to urinate.
Wipe from front to back to prevent bacteria around the anus from entering the vagina or urethra.
Take showers instead of tub baths.
Cleanse the genital area before sexual intercourse.
Avoid using feminine hygiene sprays and scented douches, which may irritate the urethra.