Urinary tract infection (UTI) is a microbial infection in any part of the urinary tract, including the kidneys, bladder and urethra. Microorganisms are too small for detection without a microscope. The majority of urinary tract infections are caused by bacteria, but some are caused by fungi and, in rare cases, viruses. UTI is one of the most common infections among people.
A urinary tract infection may develop in any part of your urinary tract. Your urinary system includes kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. The majority of urinary tract infections occur only in the urethra and bladder, in the lower tract. However, UTIs may affect the ureters and kidneys in the superior pathways. Although higher-track UTIs are less common than lower-track UTIs, they are also generally more serious.
Urinary tract infection (UTI) symptoms
The symptoms of a UTI depend on the infected portion of the urine tract.
Lower-level UTIs usually affect the urethra and bladder. The symptoms of an Inferior Tract UTI are:
- burns during urination.
- increase in urination frequency without passing sufficient urine.
- increased need for urine.
- blood in urination. (hematuria)
- cloudy urine
- urine similar to cola or tea.
- urine with an intense smell.
- pelvic discomfort in women.
- rectal pain among males.
Upper tract UTIs affect the kidneys. They may be life-threatening if bacteria pass from the infected kidney into the blood. This condition, known as urosepsis, may result in severe low blood pressure, shock and death.
The symptoms of an upper tract UTI include:
- pain and sensitivity in top of back and sides.
Urinary Tract Infection symptoms in men
Men experience the same symptoms of upper urinary tract infection as women. Symptoms of urinary tract infection in males sometimes include rectal pain as well as symptoms common to both males and females.
Urinary Tract Infection symptoms in women
Females with lower urinary tract infection may experience pelvic pain as well as other common symptoms. Symptoms of upper-tract infections between men and women are similar.
Urinary Tract Infection treatment
The treatment of UTIs varies according to the cause. Your doctor can determine what causes the infection. Your physician will carry out the test and the diagnosis of the test results is confirmed.
In almost all cases, the organism involved is a bacterium. Bacterial-induced UTIs are treated with antibiotics.
In some cases, viruses and fungi are responsible. Virus-induced UTIs are treated with antiviral drugs. In many cases, cidofovir antiviral is the drug of choice for the treatment of viral infections. UTIs fungi are treated with medicines called antifungals.
Antibiotics for a Urinary Tract Infection
The form of antibiotic used to treat a bacterial UTI typically depends on the area of the infected tract. UTIs in the lower tract can generally be treated with oral antibiotics. Upper tract requires intravenous antibiotics. These antibiotics are given directly to your veins.
In some cases, bacteria develop antibiotic resistance. To reduce your risk of antibiotic resistance, your doctor will likely prescribe the shortest possible course of therapy. Treatment generally does not last longer than 1 week.
The proper treatment for the infection can be chosen depending on the results of your urine culture. Your doctor will prescribe the appropriate antibiotics that work more effectively against the responsible organisms.
Nonantibiotic treatments for bacterial infections are under evaluation. At some point, antibiotic-free UTI therapy can be an effective way to treat bacterial UTIs using cellular chemistry to alter the interaction between the body and bacteria.
Home remedies for a Urinary Tract Infection
No home remedy can cure a urinary tract infection, but there are certain things you can track that can help your medicine function better.
These home-made UTI remedies, such as drinking more water, can help your body heal the infection faster.
While cranberries are a well-known cure, research on their effect on urinary tract infections is not that clear. More evidence-based studies are needed.
Cranberry juice or cranberries will not treat an UTI after the infection has occurred. However, a chemical in cranberries can help prevent some types of bacteria that can lead to a bacterial urinary tract infection from binding to the bladder wall. It can be useful in preventing future urinary tract infections.
Treatment of a UTI is required – the sooner the better. Urinary tract infections become more serious if not treated and more widespread. UTI is generally more treatable in the lower urinary tract. An infection that develops in the upper urinary tract is harder to treat and has a greater chance of spreading in your blood, leading to sepsis. This is a life-threatening event which results in the failure of several organs.
If you think you have an UTI, see your doctor right away. A simple urinalysis and analysis of urine or blood could help you avoid many long-term complications.
Urinary Tract Infection diagnosis
If you think you have an UTI because of your symptoms, talk to your doctor. Your physician will check your symptoms and conduct a medical examination. In order to diagnose UTI, your doctor will ask you to test your urine for microbes.
The urinalysis sample you give your doctor must be a “clean” sample taken. This means that the urine sample is taken from within your urine flow, rather than at the beginning. This prevents the collection of bacteria or yeasts from your skin, which may contaminate the sample. Your doctor will give you instructions on how to find a clean trap.
When the sample is analysed, your doctor will check your urine for a large number of white blood cells. It may be indicative of infection. Your physician will also perform a urinary culture to detect bacteria or fungi. Culture may be helpful in finding the cause of the infection. It may also assist your doctor in choosing the right treatment for you.
If there is a suspicion of a virus, special tests may be required. Viruses are uncommon causes of UTI, but may be seen in those with organ transplants or other problems that weaken their immune system.
Upper tract UTIs
If your doctor suspects that you have an upper-tract UTI, he or she may also need to perform a complete blood count (CBC) and blood cultures, as well as urine analysis. Blood cultures can make sure that your infection has not spread to your bloodstream.
If you have recurrent or repeated UTIs, Your physician may also need to check for any complications or blockages in your urinary system. Some tests may consist of:
- An ultrasound, where a device known as a transducer passed over your abdomen. The transducer uses ultrasonic waves to make an image of your urinary organs which are shown on a monitor.
- An intravenous pyelogram (IVP), This involves injecting a dye into your body that passes through your urinary tract and performing an X-ray of your abdomen. The dye contrasts your urine pathways in the X-ray image.
- A cystoscopy, which uses a little camera inserted into the urethra and up in your bladder to see your bladder’s inner view. During a cystoscopic procedure, your doctor may remove a small piece of tissue from the bladder and test to see if bladder inflammation or cancer is the reason behind your symptoms.
- A computerized tomography (CT) makes it possible to obtain more detailed images of your urinary system.
Causes and risk factors of a Urinary Tract Infection
Anything that lowers your bladder by draining or irritating the urinary tract can result in urinary tract infections. There are also a number of factors that may put you at a high risk of suffering from a UTI. These factors consist of:
- age, older adults are most likely to get UTIs.
- reduced mobility following surgery or prolonged bedrest.
- kidney stones
- a previous UTI
- obstruction or blockage of the urinary tract, such as enlargement of the prostate, kidney stones and certain forms of cancer.
- long-term use of urinary catheters, which may help bacteria enter the bladder.
- diabetes, especially if it is not properly controlled, which can make it more likely to obtain a UTI.
- inborn abnormalities of urinary structures
- a weakened immunity system.
Urinary Tract Infection risk factors for men
The majority of UTI risk factors in males are similar to those in females. However, having a prostatic enlargement is a risk factor for a UTI which is distinctive for men.
Urinary Tract Infection risk factors for women
Other risk factors for women are also present. Certain factors that were previously considered a cause of UTI in women have since shown that they are not as important, such as poor bathroom hygiene. Recent studies have not been able to demonstrate that wiping from the back to the front after going to the bathroom causes UTIs in women, as thought earlier.
In some cases, there are lifestyle changes that can reduce the risk of some of these factors.
Urethral length and location in females increase the risk of UTIs. A woman’s urethra is very close to her vagina and anus. Bacteria which can develop naturally around the vagina and The anus may give rise to infection in the urethra and other urinary organs.
A female’s urethra is also shorter than a man’s urethra, such that bacteria have a shorter distance to move to the bladder.
The pressure exerted on the female urinary tract during intercourse may move bacteria around the anus towards the bladder. The majority of women have bacteria in their urine after sex. However, it usually takes less than 24 hours for the body to get rid of these bacteria. Intestinal bacteria may have properties that help them secure themselves to the bladder.
Spermicides can increase the chance of UTI. Some females may experience skin irritation. This increases the chance that bacteria will penetrate the bladder.
Condom use during sex
Lubricant-free latex condoms may cause more friction and irritate women’s skin during sex. This may improve the chances of obtaining a UTI.
However, condoms are necessary to reduce the spread of sexually transmissible infections. To help avoid friction and irritation of the skin of condoms, Be sure to use enough water-based lubricant, and generally use it while having sex.
Diaphragms can exert pressure on the female urethra. This may decrease bladder emptying.
Decrease in estrogen levels
After menopause, lowering your estrogen level alters your vagina’s normal bacteria. This may increase the chances of receiving a UTI.
Urinary Tract Infection prevention
Anyone can follow these steps to help prevent UTIs:
- Drink 6 or 8 glasses of water each day.
- Avoid holding urine for extended periods.
- Talk to your doctor about the management of urinary incontinence or problems in fully draining your bladder.
However, UTIs are more common among females than males. The ratio is 8:1. This means that for every 8 women with UTIs, only 1 man suffers.
There are a number of things that can help prevent UTIs in women.
For women undergoing perimenopause or post-menopause, the use of topical or vaginal estrogens prescribed by your doctor may help prevent urinary tract infections. If your doctor believes that sexual relations are a cause of your recurrent UTI, they can suggest taking preventative antibiotics after sex, or long-term.
Some studies have shown that the long-term preventative use of antibiotics in older adults reduces the chances of acquiring UTIs.
Daily intake of cranberry supplements or use of vaginal probiotics, such as lactobacillus, can also help in preventing urinary tract infections. Some studies suggest that the use of probiotic vaginal suppositories can reduce the frequency and recurrence of UTIs, by changing the bacteria found in the vagina.
Be sure to tell your doctor which prevention plan is right for you.
Most UTIs disappear when treated. Chronic UTIs do not fully recover after treatment or are recurring. Recurrent infections occur frequently in women.
Many recurrent UTI cases result from reinfection with the same type of bacteria. However, some recurring infections may involve different types of bacteria. Instead, a defect in the structure of the urinary system increases the risk of getting UTIs.
UTIs during pregnancy
Pregnant women who have UTI symptoms should seek medical attention as soon as possible. UTIs during pregnancy may result in hypertension and premature delivery. UTIs during pregnancy have a higher probability of spreading to the kidneys.