What you should know about urinary tract infections

Learning about UTI

UTIs infection

A urinary tract infection (UTI), is an infection that occurs on any part of your urinary system that includes your kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra. The urinary tract system is usually divided into two part. The first part is called upper urinary tract system that consist of kidneys and the ureters. The second is called lower urinary tract system that consist of the bladder and the urethra.

Kidney is the excretory organ of the body with a functional unity called nephron that excrete urine. Ureters are tubes that carries urine from your kidney to your bladder. The bladder temporally stores urine before it’s removed from the body. Urethra is a short tube that carries urine from your bladder to outside your body when you pie.

Urinary tract infections is mainly caused by microbes such as bacteria e.g. E.coli that invades and overcoming the body’s defense mechanism and therefore colonize the urinary tract system. This invention by this microbes lead to deviation of normal functioning of the urinary truck system.

Facts about urinary tract infection

  • Women have a lifetime risk of contracting UTI. Over 50 percent of them can developing a urinary tract infection (UTI) than in men and with 20 to 30 percent experiencing recurrent UTIs. This is as a result of anatomy of the women compared to men.
  • Common symptoms include a strong, frequent urge to urinate and a painful and burning sensation when urinating.
  • UTIs infection is curable and therefore can be cured within 2 to 3 days of treatment.

What are some factors that can increase like hood of developing a UTI?

  • If you had a condition that affects your bladder’s nerves that may including diabetes, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and spinal cord injuries you have a risk of developing UTI infection.
  • If you have something that blocks the passage of urine, such as a tumor, kidney stone, or an enlarged prostate you are at a risk of developing UTI
  • Heavy use of antibiotics, which can disrupt the natural flora of the bowel and urinary tract
  • Sexual intercourse, especially if more frequent, intense, and with multiple or new partners
  • Unhygienic method of placing diaphragm or spermicide for birth control can also lead to UTI infection.
  • Unhygienic insertion of a catheter, i.e. a tube placed into the bladder to drain urine from the bladder into a bag outside the body can also cause UTI if sterile method is of insertion is not followed.
  • Suppressed immune system can
  • Man who has sex with men, has high risk of contracting UTI or HIV.

What causes urinary truck infection?

If you have a UTI in your kidneys, the condition is called pyelonephritis. If it’s in your bladder, the medical term is cystitis. If it occurs on urethra the condition is known as urethritis. The ureters are very rarely the site of infection although still they can be infected.

The vast majority of urinary tract infections are due to bacteria that are normally found in your digestive system (gut), such as Escherichia coli (E. coli). E.coli can cause Infection of the bladder (cystitis).Other bacteria that can cause UTI include staphylococcus, proteus, klebsiella, enterococcus, and pseudomonas. Individuals that are sexually active are at a risk of contracting Chlamydia trachomatis, mycoplasma, and ureaplasma from their infected partner since this bacteria’s are sexually transmitted. This individuals are at risk of developing bladder infections for both men and women. The parasite trichomonas vaginalis can also cause similar symptoms.

What is the commonest symptoms of UTI?

Each type of UTI may result in more-specific signs and symptoms, depending on which part of your urinary tract is infected.

Part of urinary tract affected Signs and symptoms
Kidneys (acute pyelonephritis) Upper back and side (flank) pain.
High fever
Fatigue
Mental change
Shaking and chills
Nausea and vomiting  
Bladder (cystitis) Pelvic pressure
Low fever
Cramping in the abdomen
Lower back.  
Urethra (urethritis) Burning with urination
Discharge

UTIs Complications

UTI complications often occur as result of an untreated or undertreated infection .Most UTIs complication  are not serious when treated promptly and properly, but some can lead to serious problems, particularly with upper UTIs. Lower urinary tract infections rarely lead to complications but if left untreated it can also cause a serious consequences. UTI complication risk is also high in people with an underlying kidney disorder, diabetes or diseases that cause immune impairment (such as HIV)

UTI complications often occur as result of an untreated or undertreated infection .Most UTIs complication  are not serious when treated promptly and properly, but some can lead to serious problems, particularly with upper UTIs. Lower urinary tract infections rarely lead to complications but if left untreated it can also cause a serious consequences. UTI complication risk is also high in people with an underlying kidney disorder, diabetes or diseases that cause immune impairment (such as HIV)

Recurrent or long-lasting UTIs kidney complication infections can cause permanent damage which sometimes can be life-threatening, particularly if bacteria enter the bloodstream in a condition known as septicemia. UTIs complication can also increase the risk of women delivering infant prematurely or have a low birth weight.

Complications of a UTI may include the following:

  • Increased risk in pregnant women of delivering low birth weight or premature infants.
  • Permanent kidney damage from an acute or chronic kidney infection (pyelonephritis) due to an untreated UTI.
  • Sepsis, a potentially life-threatening complication of an infection, especially if the infection works its way up your urinary tract to your kidney
  • Recurrent infections, especially in women who experience two or more UTIs in a six-month period or four or more within a year.
  • Urethral narrowing (stricture) in men from recurrent urethritis, previously seen with gonococcal urethritis.

How and what measure can your take prevent yourself from contracting UTI?

Below is what you can do and measures that you can take to prevent contracting UTI

  1. Drink plenty of water at least eight glasses of water in a day and urinate frequently.
  2. Wipe yourself from front to back when you go to the bathroom especially if you are a woman.
  3. Empty your bladder shortly before and after sex. This ensure that any microbe on the urethra is washed out.
  4. If you need a lubricant when you have sex, choose a water-based one that cannot change the internal environment of urethra and promote growth of microbes.
  5. Avoid fluids such as alcohol and caffeine that can irritate the bladder
  6. Avoid using any perfumed products in the genital area or any strong feminine deodorants or soaps that cause irritation and itching of genital area.
  7. Wear cotton underwear and loose-fitting clothing to keep the area around the urethra dry to prevent both fungal and bacterial UTI.
  8. Take showers instead of baths and avoid using oils.
  9. Sanitary pads or menstrual cups are preferred to tampons. If you want to buy menstrual cups,
  10. Avoid using a diaphragm or spermicide for birth control.

Note

Individuals are advised to contact a doctor if they develop the symptoms of a UTI, especially if they have developed the symptoms of a potential kidney infection.

Diagnosis

If you have UTI symptoms and you suspect you have a urinary tract infection you can simply carry out urinalysis test using urinalysis kit by dipstick method. Urinalysis dipstick reagent kit can be obtain from amazon if you wish or from your local pharmacy store. In this test you will be testing your urine sample to assess the presence of white blood cells, (leucocyte) red blood cells (blood) on the reagent strip. You are supposed to use a method of collecting urine called “clean catch” method. This requires that a person wash their genital area before providing a urine sample mid-flow. This helps to prevent bacteria from around the genital area getting caught in the sample.

If you find any abnormalities in your urine it’s always advisable to contact and see your doctor who can initiate treatment  

If your doctor recognizes that you have recurrent UTIs, he or she may request further diagnostic testing to determine if anatomical issues or functional issues are to blame. Such tests may include:

  • Diagnostic imaging
  • Urodynamics
  • Cystoscopy

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