URINARY TRACTINFECTIONSAurinary tract infection (UTI)is an infectioninvolving the kidneys, ureters, bladder, or urethra.These are the structures that urine passes throughbefore being eliminated from the body.Any part of this system can become infected. As arule, the farther up in the urinary tract the infectionis located, the more serious it is.Theupper urinary tractis composed of thekidneys and ureters.Infection in the upper urinary tract generally affectsthe kidneys (pyelonephritis), which cancause fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, and othersevere symptoms.Thelower urinary tractconsists of the bladderand the urethra. Infection in the lower urinary tractcan affect the urethra (urethritis) or the bladder(cystitis).Incidence:In the United States, urinary tract infections accountfor more than 10 million visits to medical offices andhospitals each year.Urinary tract infections are much more common inadults than in children, but about 1%-2% of childrendo get urinary tract infections. Urinary tractinfections in children are more likely to be seriousthan those in adults (especially in youngerchildren).Urinary tract infection is the most common urinarytract problem in children besides bedwetting.Urinary tract infection is second only to respiratoryinfection as the most common type of infection.These infections are much more common in girlsand women than in boys and men younger than 50years of age. The reason for this is not wellunderstood, but anatomic differences between thegenders (a shorter urethra in women) might bepartially responsible.About 40% of women and 12% of men havea urinary tract infection at some time in their life.Symptoms of a urinary tract infection (UTI) aresimilar in men, women, and children. Earlysymptoms and signs are usually easy to recognizeand primarily involve pain, discomfort, or burningwhen trying to urinate.Accompanying this can be the sense that oneneeds to urinate urgently (known asurinaryurgency) or the need forfrequent urination (calledurinary frequency). Even when there is a strongurge to urinate, you may pass only a small amountof urine. The urine itself may appear bloody orcloudy. Men may feel pain in the rectum, whilewomen may experience pain around the pubicbone.Bladder infections are the most common type ofUTI. Some individuals may have few or nosymptoms; however, the usual symptoms include:dysuria (pain or burning during urination)low abdominal painurine that is cloudy or smells bad orunusual.Some people, however, may develop urinary tractinfections without having these characteristicsymptoms.Infants, in particular, may havenonspecific signs and symptoms likefussiness,fever, and poor feeding. Likewise, theelderly may not have specific symptoms, and thediagnosis may be more difficult in this case. Insome cases, urinary tract infections can be presentwithout causing symptoms at all.