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A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an umbrella-like term referring to an infection of any part of the urniary tract. This includes bladder infections, often referred to as "cystitis" or "simple cystitis" and kidney infections. Symptoms of UTIs include a frequent urge to urinate with little result, burning during urination, and dark and/or cloudy urine. In more serious cases, symptoms can include fatigue and shakiness, and fever or chills.
One major risk factor for urinary tract infections is bacteria being pushed into the urethra. Healthcare professionals, therefore, advise that women urinate after sexual intercourse to flush out any harmful bacteria.
Some additional suggestions for avoiding UTIs are drinking the recommended amount of water (6-8 glasses) daily, wearing cotton underwear, wiping front to back after using the bathroom, and not holding in urine for extended periods of time.
UTIs can occur in both men and women; they are more common in women. A UTI is usually easily treated with antibiotics, but can cause damage to the urinary tract if left untreated.