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Video:What Are Causes of a Urinary Tract Infection?

with Dr. Bob Lahita

Urinary tract infections may be more common for females, but men are susceptible as well. Watch this About.com video to learn causes of a UTI or urinary tract infection.See Transcript

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Transcript:What Are Causes of a Urinary Tract Infection?

I'm Dr. Bob Lahita, Chairman of Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center and Professor of Medicine at University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. The topic for this segment is: What Causes Urinary Tract Infections?

The urinary tract is composed of two kidneys, two ureters, which are the tubes that go from the kidneys to the bladder. And the bladder - basically a large bag that empties into a urethra. The urethra, in a man, goes through the penis from which one urinates. And in the female the urethra is a very short piece that goes from the top of the vagina and is the area from which the female urinates as well.

Where Infections Occur in the Urinary Tract

Now any one of those areas of the urinary tract can be infected with an organism. You can have infections of the ureter, and you can have most commonly, infections of the bladder. A bladder infection is called "cystitis". Infections of the kidneys can occur and those are called pyelonephritis which is Latin for "infection of the kidney."

Reasons for a UTI

Now there are many reasons to have an infection. Something called "honeymoon cystitis" can be the effect of frequent intercourse in a young female. And the reason I say young female is again, the urethra in a female vagina is short and in a male is much longer, so there's more likelihood that the female is going to get urethritis and cystitis than the male.

Male UTI

Unfortunately in males prostatitis, or infection of the prostate is very, very common as one gets older in particular. And the prostatitis can be extremely painful and result in a urinary tract infection. The urinary tract is also ripe for foreign bodies like bladder stones which occur naturally in some people depending on your genetics or your ethnic background. Bladder stones are oftentimes the result of kidney stones - stones formed in the kidneys of certain individuals who have a predisposition. Bacteria love to live on the surface of stones, and that is a very, very viable source of infection.

Other Causes of Urinary Tract Infections:

  • Bacteria that originates in the intestine, or small amounts of stool in the anogenital area
  • Limited hygiene or wiping incorrectly
  • Enlarged prostate (which limits the effective flow of urine)

For more information on what causes urinary tract infections go to About.com.

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