The primary role of the urinary tract organs is to produce and store urine – one of the waste products of your body. Kidneys are the major organs that produce urine, from where it travels down the ureters to the bladder. The urinary bladder temporarily stores the urine until it is excreted by urinating through the urethra. The opening of the female urethra is above the vaginal opening in a female and at the end of the penis in a male.
The kidneys are paired organs in the lower abdomen that filter liquid waste products from the blood and expel it through urine. The kidneys play a major role in checking the blood’s acidity and balancing the levels of many chemicals (such as sodium, potassium, phosphorous, calcium and others) in the body. They also produce certain hormones that are essential for the metabolic process. These hormones help make strong bones, control blood pressure, and boost red blood cell production.
Normal urine contains no bacteria or other pathogens in it, and the one-way flow ensures no pathogenic infections. Still, bacteria and other pathogens may get into the bladder and kidneys through the urethra.
1What Is UTI?
A urinary tract infection is when bacteria or other pathogen gets into your urine via the urethra, travels up to your bladder and cause an infection. A UTI is an infection that can affect any part of your urinary tract system – your urethra, ureters, bladder, and kidneys. Studies show that most infections involve the bladder and the urethra, i.e., the lower urinary tract.
UTI are responsible for 8.1 million visits to primary health care units each year. About 12% of men and 60% of women and will have at least one episode of UTI during their lifetime. Due to several factors, women are at higher risk of developing a urinary tract infection than are men. Statistical data show that about 1 in 10 women and 1 in 20 men will get a UTI in their lifetime. UTI limited to your bladder (cystitis) can be annoying and painful. However, if a UTI spreads to your kidneys, it may lead to serious health consequences.
Doctors and health care professionals typically treat UTI with antibiotics and pain killers. But you can take certain dietary and lifestyle steps to reduce your risk of getting an infection in the first place.