The urinary tract includes the kidneys, the ureters, the bladder, and the urethra. Urinary health can be maintained by making lifestyle choices that help avoid infections and other problems.
Common problems include:
Bladder infection (cystitis) — Bladder infections are extremely common in women of all ages. An infection almost always starts when bacteria enter the opening where urine comes out (urethra). Once bacteria enter a woman’s urethra, they only have to travel a short distance to reach the bladder.
Bladder infections are uncommon in younger men. In men over age 50, a bladder infection is usually associated with an enlarged prostate or a prostate infection.
Kidney infection (pyelonephritis) — A kidney usually becomes infected because bacteria have traveled to the kidney from an infection in the bladder. Kidney infections can occur in men with an enlarged prostate, in people with diabetes, in people with persistent kidney stones and other cases.
Urethritis is an inflammation of the urethra. It is usually caused by sexually transmitted diseases (such as chlamydia and gonorrhea). Urethritis can cause frequent urination, vaginal discharge.
Kidney stones are abnormal, hard chemical deposits that form inside the kidneys. They can be as small as a sand or as big as a pea.
Bladder infection can cause frequent urination, an intense urge to urinate, pain in the lower front portion of the abdomen and may have a strong odor.
Kidney infection can cause pain in the upper back, high fever with shaking chills, nausea and vomiting, cloudy urine, frequent urination, an intense urge to urinate.
To help prevent bladder and kidney infections, make sure to stay well hydrated to flush out your urinary tract. Women should wipe from front to back after having a bowel movement.
To help prevent kidney stones, drink plenty of fluids and avoid dehydration. Staying hydrated dilutes your urine and decreases the chance that chemicals in your urine will combine to form stones.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
American Urological Association
Urology Care Foundation