Overview of UTI

Urinary tract infection (UTI) is a common infection that usually occurs when bacteria enter the opening of the urethra and multiply in the urinary system. The urinary tract includes the kidneys, the tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder (ureters), the bladder, and the tube that carries urine from the bladder (urethra). Men, women, and children develop UTIs.

Typically, the connection of the ureters at the bladder help prevent urine from backing up into the kidneys, and the flow of urine through the urethra helps to eliminate bacteria—helping to reduce the risk for urinary tract infections.

Incidence and Prevalence of UTI

Approximately 8 to 10 million people in the United States develop a UTI each year. Women develop the condition much more often than men, for reasons that are not fully known, although the much shorter female urethra is suspected. The condition is relatively rare in boys and young men.

Twenty percent of women in the United States develop a UTI and 20 percent of those have a recurrence. Urinary tract infections in children are more common in those under the age of 2.

Publication Review By: Daniel Khouri, M.D., Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 10 Jun 1998

Last Modified: 15 Apr 2015