Urinary Tract Infections: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Urinary Tract Infections: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Urinary Tract Infection

A urinary tract infection or UTI is basically an infection in any part of the urinary system. Your urinary system includes kidneys, bladder, ureters as well as urethra.

In case, you are a woman then your chance of getting a urinary tract infection is very high. The problem of urinary tract infection occurs due to microbes like bacteria overcoming the defenses of your body in the urinary tract.

Urinary tract infection is a very common infection that can affect anyone like men, older adults, and children. However, this infection is mostly seen in women. Almost 60% of women and 12% of men experience urinary tract infections at least once in their lifetime.

Your urine usually does not contain bacteria or germs. Urine is considered a by-product of the filtration system i.e., the kidneys. When waste products and excess water is eliminated by the kidneys from your blood, urine is created.

Typically, urine moves through the urinary system without any kind of contamination. But bacteria can get into your urinary system from outside of the body and cause problems like inflammation and infection. This is known as a urinary tract infection.

Who gets urinary tract infections?

Although anyone can suffer from urinary tract infections they are common in women. This is because the urethra in women is short and close to the reproductive organ, where E. coli bacteria are commonly found.

As a result, there are more chances of this bacteria traveling to the urethra, bladder, or kidneys of a woman when compared to a man.

On the other hand, older adults also have a high risk of developing urinary tract infections like cystitis. This is because they are not able to empty the bladder.

Several other medical conditions can be related to this like bladder prolapse or an enlarged prostate.

Signs and symptoms of urinary tract infection

UTIs are very uncomfortable and their symptoms persist unless the infection is treated effectively. Common symptoms of a lower urinary tract infection include:

  • Cloudy or dark urine
  • A burning sensation at the time of urination
  • Shakiness
  • Feeling a frequent or intense need to urinate without discharging too much urine
  • Pressure in the lower abdomen
  • Urine that produces a strong odor
  • Constant fatigue
  • Bloody urine

In men, the symptoms can also include rectal pain and in women, symptoms might include pelvic pain.

On the other hand, when you suffer from an upper tract infection, the symptoms are generally flu-like. This means that the infection has already reached your kidneys and it’s time to get medical treatment immediately. Some of the symptoms of upper tract infection include:

  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Pain or sensitivity in your upper back and sides where the kidneys are located.

Causes of urinary tract infections

There are large numbers of bacteria that live around the area of the vagina and rectum as well as on your skin. The bacteria might enter inside the urine from the urethra and then further travel into your bladder.

These bacteria can even travel to your kidneys. No matter how far the bacteria go in your urinary tract, it can lead to problems.

Here are some factors that increase your chances of getting urinary tract infections:

Body factors

Women who go through the menopause phase have a change in the lining of the vagina as well as lose the protection that estrogen provides, lowering the chance of experiencing urinary tract infection.

Some women are naturally prone to urinary tract infections and have urinary tracts that make it easy for the bacteria to stick to them. Remember sexual intercourse can also affect how often you get urinary tract infections.

Birth control

Women who make use of diaphragms have a high risk of suffering from urinary tract infections when compared to other forms of birth control. Using spermicidal foam is also associated with a high risk of getting UTI in women.       

Immune system

Problems like diabetes are responsible for putting people at high risk for urinary tract infections as the body is not able to fight against the germs effectively.

The above-stated are some common causes of urinary tract infection that you must keep in your mind.

Treatment

When it comes to the treatment of urinary tract infections, antibiotics are the most effective option. It is important to know that antibiotics are the medications that kill bacteria and fight against infection.

Depending upon the bacteria that cause infection, the doctor will prescribe you medicines. Some of the most commonly prescribed antibiotics include Amoxicillin, Nitrofurantoin, Quinolones, Cephalosporins, and Doxycycline.

Some of the ways to decrease the chance of getting a urinary tract infection are:

  • Drinking plenty of water every day
  • Wear loose-fitting clothes and cotton underwear
  • Empty the bladder properly when urinating
  • Keep your genital area clean

Therefore, if you experience any symptoms of UTI then immediately contact the doctor.