Urinary tract infections (UTIs) and dementia

2. What is a urinary tract infection?

A urinary tract infection is usually caused by bacteria entering the urinary tract via the urethra – the tube that allows the passage of urine from the bladder to outside the body. The bacteria can then move upwards through the urinary tract, infecting the bladder (a condition known as cystitis) and sometimes the kidneys (a condition known as pyelonephritis).

Around half of women will need treatment for at least one UTI during their lifetime. If treated with the right antibiotics, UTIs normally cause no further problems and the infection soon passes. Though complications are uncommon, they can be serious and include kidney damage and blood poisoning, which can be fatal.