Everything You Need to Know about Urinary Tract Infection
Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) is the most common infection, especially in women. The urinary tract includes kidney, ureter, urinary bladder and urethra. Infection affecting kidney and ureter is known as upper tract urinary infection and infection in urethra and bladder is lower tract infection. Lower tract infection is more common but the upper tract infection is more severe. There will be many doubts in your mind about urinary tract infection. This article will help you to clarify all the doubts you have.
What causes of urinary tract infection?
Like all other infections, UTI is also caused by microbes. Microbes are nothing but small organisms which is not visible through naked eyes. Microbes causing UTI includes bacteria, fungi, and virus. Bacteria are the most common cause of UTI. The unhygienic urinary tract is the main reason for the urinary tract infections.
Major risk factors of UTI
Many factors increase the risk of getting a urinary tract infection. The major risk factors are as follows
• Older adults are more vulnerable to the infection
• Long term catheters in the urinary tract
• Kidney stone
• Poor immune system in the body
• Prostate enlargement and prostate cancer
• Patients taking bed rest for a long time
• Any kind of obstructions in the urinary tract
• Congenital problems in the urinary tract
• Urinary incontinence
Why women are more susceptible
Studies have shown that the ratio of the occurrence of UTI in women and men is 8:1. Most common factors are
• Length and location of urethra: In women, the urethra is small and this helps to bacteria to enter urinary bladder very easily. The urethra is located near to anus as well as the vagina. Normal flora, bacteria living in the vagina and anus can enter urethra very easily.
• Sexual intercourse: sexual intercourse increases the pressure in the vagina and this makes bacteria to move towards urethra. Remnants of sperm can also cause infection in the urethra. After intercourse, bacteria are present in urine but our immune system will solve the issue. In some cases, bacteria persist for a long time.
• Less lubricated condoms: to avoid STDs condom is a mandatory contraceptive to use while doing sex. However, a less lubricated condom can cause UTI. Be careful while buying a condom.
• Reduction of estrogen after menopause: hormonal change can also cause variation in the normal flora of the vagina and this directly affects the urinary tract.
• Sanitary napkins: using a single sanitary napkin during periods can lead to severe UTI. Bacteria growing in the blood can cause dangerous infections in your body.
Infection in the urinary tract, especially upper tract infection leads to bacterial sepsis. Bacterial sepsis is a dangerous situation where bacteria are released to the bloodstream and this causes infection in the whole body. If you affected by UTI once then there are high chances that you can develop UTI frequently. Pregnant women with UTI will need to see their doctor as early as possible.
Symptoms of UTI
• Burning sensation while passing urine
• Abdominal pain
• Fever and chill
• Pelvic pain in women
• Rectal pain in men.
• Blood and cloudy urine
The usual method used to diagnose UTI is a urine culture. Urine culture along with the body examination gives an idea about the severity of the disease. In the case of the upper tract, UTI a blood culture will be needed. For recurrent infections, ultrasound or CT, scanning of the urinary tract is carried out.
For a normal UTI, the doctor prescribes antibiotics. In the case of recurrent UTI, you may need to take treatment based on the risk factor. Risk factors in common cases can be cured by extra personal care.
Personal care to avoid UTI
• Drink plenty of water
• Don’t hold urine for a long time
• Clean your external genitalia and dry it
• Buy good quality condom with enough lubricant
• Change napkins during menstruation