What is a urinary infection?

A urinary infection, also known as a urinary tract infection, is an extremely painful condition that has several symptoms. Among the symptoms of a urinary tract infection are an intense burning pain when urinating, constant urges to urinate, fever, chills, nausea and side pain. Symptoms may vary depending on the exact location of the urinary tract infection.

Bacterial Buildup

A urinary infection is a condition caused by the buildup of bacteria from the digestive tract.

Affects Several Organs

Urinary tract infections are most common in women but men, girls and boys may contract them, according to the National Kidney and Urologic Disease Information Clearing House, a branch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. A urinary tract infection can affect the bladder, kidneys, urethra and ureters.


The infection begins in the opening of the urethra and multiplies quickly. Bacteria attaches to the urethra as it passes from the body through the urine.


E.coli is the most common cause of a urinary tract infection, according to the Mayo Clinic. The reason E.coli becomes present in the urine is unknown. E.coli bacteria usually reside in the colon, and do not come in contact with the urinary tract.

Chlamydia and Mycoplasma

Urinary tract infections can also be caused by chlamydia and mycoplasma. These causes of urinary tract infections are extremely contagious and can be transmitted sexually. Chlamydia and mycoplasma infections are usually found in the urethra and the reproductive system.


Mayo Clinic: Urinary Tract Infections

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases: Urinary Tract Infections in Adults