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Urinary Tract Infection (UTIs): Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Overview of Urinary Tract Infection (UTIs)

A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection that can affect any part of the urinary tract including includes kidneys, bladders, ureter, and urethra. Most UTIs are caused by bacteria, some of them may be caused by fungus and in rare cases virus may be one of the reasons for UTIs. If the lower urinary tract is infected, it is called a bladder infection (cystitis). If the upper urinary tract is infected it is called a kidney infection (pyelonephritis). Women have more chances of acquiring the infection and when it comes to men – about 1 in 10 men may get a UTI in their lifetime.

Symptoms of Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs):

Following are the symptoms of lower urinary tract infections (bladder infection):

1. Burning micturition

2. Urge to urinate without passing urine

3. Increased urgency to pee

4. Cloudy urine

5. Bloody urine

6. Urine that resembles cola or tea

7. Urine with a strong odor

8. Pelvic pain observed in women

9. Rectal pain observed in men

Upper Urinary Tract Infection Symptoms Include:

1. Pain and tenderness in the upper back and sides

2. Chills

3. Fever

4. Nausea

5. Vomiting

Note:

Upper urinary tract infection mainly affects the kidneys. These can be potentially fatal if the bacteria enter from kidneys to the bloodstream. This condition is termed as urosepsis and can cause low blood pressure, shock, and death.

Causes and Factors that Influence Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs):

Many factors can lead to UTIs:

1. Age is one of the major factors that makes you more likely to get the infection

2. Reduced flexibility after surgery or prolonged bed rest

3. Kidney stones

4. History of UTI

5. Enlarged prostate, kidney stones and certain forms of cancer

6. Prolonged use of urinary catheters, which may make it easier to get into the bladder

7. Diabetes

8. Pregnancy

9. Abnormal urinary structures developed during birth

10Poor immune system

Diagnosis:

If you suspect any of these symptoms, directly see your doctor. He/she would see your condition, check for medical history and do the required physical examinations. It is finally diagnosed by testing urine for any microbes.

For this, you need to collect your urine sample in the middle of the urinary stream rather than at the beginning because if you collect in the beginning you may end up by collecting the bacteria or yeast from your skin.

The test sample will be checked for a large number of white blood cells in your urine – this indicates an infection. Also, the sample will go for a urine culture to test the bacteria or fungi. Therefore, this test can help to identify the type of bacteria (cause). Based on this, your doctor will facilitate the right treatment.

Treatment:

Most of the Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are caused by bacteria and this type of condition can be treated by antibiotics. 

At times, if the infection is caused due to the virus or fungi, viral UTIs are treated by antiviral drugs and fungal infections are treated by antifungal drugs.

What I Can Do From Home:

The only option that we can do from home is cranberries or cranberry juice – which help in preventing future UTIs.

Note:

This juice can not treat urinary tract infection (UTI) if it has already started.

Bonus Tip:

UTIs are due to many reasons that can not be under control. However, there are chances of getting the infection from the anus. Therefore, it is recommended that women wipe after peeing. Do not wipe from anus to the vagina, do vise versa because the anus is full of bacteria and that can contribute to Urinary tract infections.

Written by MedPlus