How Do You Get a UTI?

Bladder Health, Featured Article, Women's Health
on February 13, 2012

Urinary tract infections, or UTIs, are very common infections that can occur in both men and women. Any part of the urinary tract can become infected. According to the Mayo Clinic, the urinary tract is composed of the kidneys, bladder, ureters and urethra. The most common UTI is the bladder infection (cystitis) and the urethra (urethritis). If you’ve been dealing with a UTI, you should understand the causes. So, how do you get a UTI?

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What is a UTI? If bacteria enter the urinary system through the urethra, they will multiply and an infection may develop. Sometimes the body’s own immune system conquer the bacteria. Occasionally, however, the body cannot keep up with the bacteria, and it develops into an infection of the urinary tract. The National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse reports that E. coli bacteria are the most frequent bacterial culprits, although other bacteria, yeast and even viruses can cause infection.

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Different types of UTIs. UTIs come in more than one form, and several conditions are considered a UTI. These different conditions will have unique symptoms and treatments. Some types of UTIs include:

  • Cystitis — This is an infection of the bladder. Bacterial cystitis, traumatic cystitis, interstitial cystitis, hemorrhagic cystitis and eosinophilic cystitis are all types of cystitis.
  • Pyelonephritis — This is a kidney infection. The acute form of kidney infections rarely leads to complications. Chronic pyelonephritis refers to repeated infections that could lead to kidney damage.
  • Urethritis — This is an infection of the urethra. Two main types of this infection are gonococcal and non-gonococcal.

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How do you get a UTI? Bacteria (or viruses and fungus) can get into your urinary system from the gastrointestinal tract in several ways.

  • Sexual intercourse
  • Poor bathroom hygiene (women must wipe from front to back)
  • Delayed urination
  • Incomplete urination
  • Tight clothing
  • Nylon underwear

You can be more prone to get UTIs. Some conditions can make you likely to develop a UTI. These risk factors include:

  • Pregnancy
  • Menopause
  • Diabetes
  • Childhood UTIs
  • Having kidney stones
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Suppressed immune system