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Urinary Tract Infections (UTI)

An illness caused by harmful bacteria growing in the urinary tract.

PubMed Health Glossary
(Source: NIH - National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases)

About Urinary Tract Infections

A UTI is an infection in the urinary tract. Infections are caused by microbes—organisms too small to be seen without a microscope—including fungi, viruses, and bacteria. Bacteria are the most common cause of UTIs.

Normally, bacteria that enter the urinary tract are rapidly removed by the body before they cause symptoms. However, sometimes bacteria overcome the body's natural defenses and cause infection.

An infection in the urethra is called urethritis. A bladder infection is called cystitis. Bacteria may travel up the ureters to multiply and infect the kidneys. A kidney infection is called pyelonephritis...Read more about Urinary Tract Infections NIH - National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Newborn circumcision for the prevention of urinary tract infections in infancy

Routine neonatal circumcision is a fairly common surgical procedure that may be carried out for medical or religious reasons. The incidence of urinary tract infection (UTI) is greater in uncircumcised babies. Circumcision is a relatively simple procedure and is associated with minimal complications when carried out in neonates rather than in later life. We did not find any trials to support or refute the effectiveness of routine neonatal circumcision to prevent UTI in infancy. Although limited data from previous studies have shown that this intervention might be beneficial, questions regarding the safety and effectiveness of routine neonatal circumcision for the prevention of UTIs in infancy remain unanswered.

Still waiting for evidence about whether cranberries are a useful treatment for urinary tract infections

Cranberries contain a substance that can prevent bacteria from sticking on the walls of the bladder. This may help reduce bladder and other urinary tract infections (UTIs). Cranberries (usually as cranberry juice) have been used to try and treat UTIs, particularly in high risk groups such as older people. Cranberries have few adverse effects. The review found no evidence from studies about the effects of cranberry juice or other cranberry products on UTIs.

Treatments for symptomatic urinary tract infections during pregnancy

Antibiotics are very effective at clearing urinary tract infections in pregnancy, and complications are very rare.

See all (360)

Summaries for consumers

Newborn circumcision for the prevention of urinary tract infections in infancy

Routine neonatal circumcision is a fairly common surgical procedure that may be carried out for medical or religious reasons. The incidence of urinary tract infection (UTI) is greater in uncircumcised babies. Circumcision is a relatively simple procedure and is associated with minimal complications when carried out in neonates rather than in later life. We did not find any trials to support or refute the effectiveness of routine neonatal circumcision to prevent UTI in infancy. Although limited data from previous studies have shown that this intervention might be beneficial, questions regarding the safety and effectiveness of routine neonatal circumcision for the prevention of UTIs in infancy remain unanswered.

Still waiting for evidence about whether cranberries are a useful treatment for urinary tract infections

Cranberries contain a substance that can prevent bacteria from sticking on the walls of the bladder. This may help reduce bladder and other urinary tract infections (UTIs). Cranberries (usually as cranberry juice) have been used to try and treat UTIs, particularly in high risk groups such as older people. Cranberries have few adverse effects. The review found no evidence from studies about the effects of cranberry juice or other cranberry products on UTIs.

Treatments for symptomatic urinary tract infections during pregnancy

Antibiotics are very effective at clearing urinary tract infections in pregnancy, and complications are very rare.

See all (66)

Terms to know

Bacteria
A large group of single-cell microorganisms. Some cause infections and disease in animals and humans. The singular of bacteria is bacterium.
Bladder
The organ that stores urine.
Kidney
One of a pair of organs in the abdomen. The kidneys remove waste and extra water from the blood (as urine) and help keep chemicals (such as sodium, potassium, and calcium) balanced in the body. The kidneys also make hormones that help control blood pressure and stimulate bone marrow to make red blood cells.
Ureter
The tube that carries urine from the kidney to the bladder.
Urethra
The tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body.
Urinary Tract
The organs of the body that produce and discharge urine. These include the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra.

More about Urinary Tract Infections

Photo of an adult woman

See Also: Cystitis

Other terms to know: See all 6
Bacteria, Bladder, Kidney

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