A woman has a one in five chance of developing a urinary tract infection at some point during her l...
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A woman has a one in five chance of developing a urinary tract infection at some point during her life, and many women have more than one. Your urinary system includes your kidney, ureters, bladder, and urethra. The kidneys remove excess fluid and waste from the blood, which travels as urine through the ureters to the bladder. It is stored there and emptied through the urethra. Along with fluid, normal urine contains waste and salts but it is sterile, which means it usually does not contain bacteria, viruses, and fungi. A urinary tract infection or UTI begins when bacteria cling to the opening of the urethra and start to multiply and travel up the urethra. The bacteria are usually a type called E. coli, which normally live in the colon. A UTI that affects only the urethra is called urethritis. Sometimes the bacteria move up to the bladder and multiply there. This is called cystitis. Besides being annoying and painful, a UTI needs to be treated to keep the bacteria from moving up to the bladder. This is especially true for women. They have a shorter urethra, which means the bacteria can reach the bladder faster than in men.