Urinary Tract Infections: All that You Need to Know

Urinary Tract Infection

Urinary Tract Infection is a medical condition that affects part of the urinary tract. A microbial infection that gets into your urine may travel up to your bladder and your body might be at risk of UTI. UTI is a major cause of concern for most women, however it affects the entire human population in general.

CAUSE

UTI is mainly caused by micro- organisms, usually a bacteria called Escherichia coli (E. coli). The urinary system is inherently designed to minimise the risk of serious infection to the kidneys. However, external agents like bacteria may still find a way into your system and produce mild irritation or even life threatening conditions.

TYPES

Lower UTI or Cystitis: infection of the Bladder

 

cystitis
Source: Female Gynecologist London

Upper UTI or Pyelonephritis: infection of the Kidneys

urology pyelonephritis
Source: LTT

 

Urethritis: infection of the Urethra

 

urethritis
Source: Erraizabal Blog

While Cystitis is more common among women because of a shorter urethra in females, it may afflict males as well. Urethritis is often sexually transmitted but can be idiopathic as well.

SYMPTOMS

 

Cystitis is characterised by- traces of blood in urine

– dark cloudy or strong smelling urine

– burning sensation while urination

– pain above pubic bone, in the lower back or abdomen

Pyelonephritis mostly exhibits – fever and flank pain

– symptoms of Cystitis

Children most often exhibit fever as the only symptom of developing an UTI. However, in the elderly, symptoms may be altogether absent, barring for mental changes or fatigue.

RISK FACTORS

There are quite a few factors that might put people at a greater risk of UTIs. These include structuring of the female anatomy, sexual intercourse, diabetes, obesity and family history.

  • Having a large prostrate enhances risk of UTIs.
  • 75-90% bladder infections are caused in sexually active women.
  • Menopause might increase risk of UTI.
  • In males, risks increase as age increase.
  • Urinary catherization also increases the probability of developing an UTI

PREVENTION

As with any other medical affliction, prevention is always the best option even for UTIs. You might still concur an infection even after following guidelines, but it is always advisable to be on the safe side.

  • Urinating immediately after intercourse and washing up after sex should be made a priority.
  • It is necessary to wipe from front to back, after every bowel movement.
  • Drinking enough water is always a safe bet.
  • The urge to urinate should not be held back even for short durations.

REMEDIES

Consulting the doctor as soon as you notice any symptoms of the ailment is of utmost importance. However, in most cases, the following cures are recommended-

  • Antibiotics. Though their affect on relieving UTI symptoms is debated, this remains one of the commonest cures for UTI.
  • Probiotics. Fermented drinks like kombucha and probiotic heavy yogurts like kefir are proposed to be good relievers for an UTI.
  • Cranberry juice or supplements. Research, however, does not spell the success or otherwise of this remedy.
cranberry juice
Source: Organic Facts
  • Topical vaginal estrogen is a preferred choice in menopausal women for prevention of UTI.

STATISTICS

  • 10% women get urinary infections yearly.
  • 40-6-% people have an infection atleast sometime in their lives.
  • Women are at 4 times greater risk of developing UTI than men.
  • 10% of the population may get afflicted with UTI in their childhood. Females below 1 year of age and uncircumcised males less than 3 months are most likely to contract an infection.

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