In this article, we will take a look at:
- What is a urine infection?
- How does urine infection occur?
- Who is prone to urine infection?
- Symptoms of a urine infection
- Diagnosis of urine infection
- Complications of a urine infection
- Treatment for urine infection
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What is Urinary Infection?
Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) is an infection in the organs of the urinary system including the kidney, ureters, urethra or the urinary bladders. It mostly occurs due to the growth of pathogens like bacteria, viruses or fungi in these organs. UTI is a common infection which can occur in both the genders at any age. In most of the cases, the bladder or urethra gets affected causing much discomfort to the patient. Immediate treatment prevents the worsening of the condition.
Urinary tract infections are of two types- lower urinary tract infection and the upper urinary tract infection. The lower urinary tract infection affects the urethra and the urinary bladder while the upper tract infection affects the kidneys.
How does urinary infection occur?
In a majority of cases, bacteria Escherichia coli (E. coli) are responsible for the occurrence of urinary tract infection. They are commonly present in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Sometimes they multiply in the bladder causing an ailment known as cystitis. Women are more susceptible to this infection due to the short distance between the urethra, urethral opening to the bladder and anus. Sometimes sexually transmitted diseases like herpes, gonorrhoea, mycoplasma, and Chlamydia also cause UTI.
Who is prone to urinary infection?
- You are a woman as you have a short urethra which makes it easier for the bacteria to travel to the bladder and multiply there.
- You are sexually active as a new partner increases the risk of UTI.
- You use diaphragms or spermicidal agents as a birth control measure.
- You have reached menopause, and a decline in oestrogen makes you more prone to UTI.
- You have a blockage in the urinary tract like kidney stones or an enlarged prostate.
- You have an impaired immune system.
- You use a catheter for the discharge of urine if hospitalised or paralysed or suffer from neurological problems.
- You are diabetic.
- You maintain poor personal hygiene.
- You have bowel incontinence.
- You have recently undergone a surgery in the urinary tract.
What are the symptoms of urinary tract infection? How is urinary tract infection diagnosed?
The symptoms of lower urinary infection include:
- Burning sensation during the discharge of urine.
- Passage of blood along with urine.
- Frequent urge for urination.
- Passing urine with a strong odour.
- Pain in the pelvic area for women.
- Pain in the rectal area for men.
- Cloudy, tea-coloured urine discharge.
The upper urinary tract infection can be life-threatening especially when the bacteria start infecting the blood after moving out from the kidney. This condition is known as urosepsis. The symptoms of this disease are the development of dangerously low blood pressure, pain and tenderness in the sides of the back and upper back region, fever, nausea, and chill. It may lead to shock or even death in infected patients.
Here is a list of investigations which your doctor may prescribe if he suspects urinary tract infection.
The first test which Urologists recommend is the urine sample test or the laboratory analysis of urine to detect whether white blood cells, red blood cells or bacteria are present in it. Pathologists ask the patient to provide a sample of morning urine after adequately cleaning the genital area with an antiseptic lotion.
Urine Culture Test
Urine culture test is also beneficial for the establishment of UTI. Urine sample is cultured by the Pathologist for a few days to identify the group of bacteria causing the infection.
CT Scan and MRI
If the patient suffers from frequent UTI, then the Urologist prescribes detailed imaging reports like Ultrasound examination, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or computerised tomography (CT) scan.
It is a technique to observe the internal organs like the urethra and bladder with the help of a camera attached to a thin tube. This test is similar to endoscopy.
What are the complications of urinary tract infection?
If urinary tract infection is left untreated, then it may lead to severe consequences which may even be life-threatening. Chronic kidney infection (pyelonephritis) or permanent kidney damage occurs due to recurrent upper urinary tract infection. If a pregnant woman suffers from UTI, there is a higher probability of giving birth to a preterm baby or a low birth weight baby. If the bacteria of upper UTI enter the bloodstream, then it may result in a fatal condition called septicaemia.
What are the treatments for urinary tract infections?
The first line of treatment for urinary tract infection is administering antibiotics of the group fluoroquinolones. The patients should complete the full course of the medicine to clear the infection entirely from the system. Complicated UTI may require hospitalisation and lengthy course of medication.
Questions answered by trusted doctors
Did you know?
Women Have higher rick
Women have a higher risk of urinary tract infection than men
Complete course of antibiotic
Complete course of antibiotic may fully cure UTI and reduces the risk of antibiotic resistance.
Holding the urine for long durations
Holding the urine for long durations can make you more prone to UTI.
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