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If you're reading this, there's a high chance that you've experienced a urinary tract infection in the past. In fact, most of us have. But what exactly is a urinary tract infection?

What is a urinary tract infection?

A UTI (urinary tract infection, also known as cystitis or bladder infection) is an infection in any part of your urinary system. This can include your kidneys, bladder or urethra. While both men and women can experience the discomfort of a UTI, women tend to suffer from them more often. Female urethras are shorter than those of a male and the anus is located closer to it, making it easier for bacteria to travel up into the bladder and kidneys. If the bacteria don’t get removed, it can cause irritation, which will lead to infection. Without treatment, UTIs can lead to more serious conditions.

In some cases, the bad bacteria can simply outnumber the good bacteria. When we're healthy, it's because the good bacteria in our bodies are winning the fight against the bad bacteria, thus preventing us from getting sick. But once in a while, the bad bacteria outnumber the good — and that's what we call an infection.

A few stats about UTIs...

UTIs are responsible for nearly 10 million doctor visits each year

- National Kidney Foundation

60% of women will experience a UTI at least once

- Provided by Szio+

12% of women will have more than one UTI in their lifetime

- Provided by Szio+

Learn more about Urinary Tract Infections

UTI symptoms and diagnosis

What causes UTIs?

How to prevent UTIs