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Learn what causes urinary tract infection (UTI)

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In most people, urine is normally sterile (free from germs or bacteria), and the presence of bacteria in the urinary tract does not necessarily cause a urinary tract infection. If, however, the bacteria grow and multiply to a certain level, they may cause an infection of the urinary tract and may need to be treated. Anyone can get a urinary tract infection (UTI), but they are more common in women than men due to their anatomy- the female urethra (the channel through which urine is passed) is shorter.

An infection can be thought of as a group of symptoms caused by bacteria entering an area of your body that they should not be in.

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Urinary infections are caused by bacteria entering your bladder. Bacteria most commonly enter your bladder through the urethra. The bacteria multiply in your bladder, either floating in the urine or attached to the bladder wall. Because your bladder and kidneys are connected, bacteria in the bladder can also invade your kidneys.

Bacteria that may be present on your hands or in the genital area can be introduced (pushed) into the urethral opening through the catheter itself. This is why effective cleaning of both the genital area and your hands are important.

It is important that you seek and follow the advice of your healthcare provider in the diagnosis and treatment of a urinary tract infection.

These are general guidelines meant to help you with typical questions. You should follow the specific instructions provided by your healthcare provider and the intermittent catheterization solution you are using. 

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