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What is a urinary tract infection (UTI) and what causes it?

Last updated on February 17, 2021

A UTI is an infection in a part of your urinary system—your kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. UTIs typically occur when bacteria enters the urinary tract through the urethra and multiply in the bladder.

Anyone can get a UTI, but they are more common in people with vaginas. This is because the urethra is shorter and closer to the anus, which shortens the distance bacteria must travel to reach the urinary tract.

Some of the symptoms of a UTIs are:

  • Painful urination
  • Frequent need to urinate
  • Bloody urine or cloudy urine
  • Pelvic pain
  • Pressure in the lower pelvis

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