Urinary tract infections, or UTIs, are infections of the urethra, ureter, bladder, and possibly kidney. They are caused by bacteria, fungi, or viruses. Bacterial UTIs are often caused by E. coli, though Klebsiella and Proteus strains may also be to blame. Urinary tract infections are most commonly seen in women, but men can also contract UTIs. Symptoms of urinary tract infection include painful urination and a frequent, strong urge to visit the bathroom. Someone with a urinary tract infection may also notice cloudy or bloody urine with a strong smell, experience nausea and vomiting, and feel pain during intercourse. The infected person may experience muscle aches and abdominal pain when urinating or due to the infection's effect on internal organs like the bladder.
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Hygiene, diabetes, some contraception and antibiotics, intercourse, dehydration, and long periods of immobility can all cause UTIs. While minor UTIs can be treated at home, if the symptoms of a suspected UTI progress to high fever, chills, and back pain, lack of focus, and fatigue, it is important to seek medical attention, as it is possible the infection has progressed to the kidneys, which can be life-threatening.
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