Urinary tract infections (UTIs) develop when bacteria enter the urinary tract through the tiny opening that releases urine (the urethra). The body’s natural defense system is capable of “fighting off” a small invasion of bacteria, but when many bacteria are present or when the immune system is already weakened, the bacteria can colonize the urinary tract, beginning at the urethra and extending all the way to the bladder and kidneys if treatment is not provided.
Once infection reaches the kidneys, the bacteria can cause significant damage if treatment is not provided right away. Ideally, a UTI should be treated as early as possible to prevent the infection from spreading to the kidneys. UTIs occur much more frequently among women than men, and they’re also more common among people with diabetes and those who have kidney stones frequently.