‘Urinary tract’ is a collective term for the parts of your body that make and get rid of urine. These include the kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra.
A urinary tract infection (UTI) is when one or more of these become infected, usually by bacteria entering the urethra from the outside world. In very rare cases, UTIs can also be caused by bacteria in the bloodstream. An infection of the bladder is known as cystitis, while a urethra infection is called urethritis.
A UTI is not a sexually transmitted infection, but some women find that irritation from having sex can bring about a UTI. In men UTIs can be triggered by a narrowing of the urethra (stricture), a previous sexually transmitted infection, a bladder stone or problems with the prostate gland.