The medical literature shows that there’s a lot of confusion regarding urinary tract infections or UTIs. Most people think that a UTI is a bladder infection, but that’s not exactly right. This is the first in a series of educational tips on this topic. Let’s start with an anatomy lesson.

Urinary Tract Diagram

Four key parts of the urinary tract:

1. Kidneys

Two bean-shaped organs which filter about a half cup of blood every minute, removing wastes and extra water to make urine

2. Ureters

Tubes which carry the urine from the kidneys to the bladder;

3. Bladder

A sac that stores urine, allowing urination to be controlled.

4. Urethra

The tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body.

Contrary to popular belief, UTIs are not just bladder infections; they can affect all or different parts of the urinary tract system:

  • Urethritis–an infection in the urethra
  • Cystitis— the correct term for an infection in the bladder
  • Ureteritis– an infection of the ureter tubes
  • Kidney infection–an infection affecting the kidneys
  • Pyelonephritis–when both the kidneys and ureters are infected

Source: NIDDK

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Treatment Tip:

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