A urinary tract infection, or UTI, is an infection in any part of your urinary system, which includes your kidneys, bladder, ureters, and urethra. Most infections involve the lower urinary tract — the bladder and the urethra. Women are at greater risk of developing a UTI than are men. Infection limited to your bladder can be painful and annoying.
However, serious consequences can occur if a UTI spreads to your kidneys. A UTI can happen anywhere in your urinary tract. Your urinary tract is made up of your kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. Most UTIs only involve the urethra and bladder, in the lower tract. However, UTIs can involve the ureters and kidneys, in the upper tract. Although upper tract UTIs are rarer than lower tract UTIs, they’re also usually more severe.
Causes of UTIs
UTIs are a key reason why doctors tell women to wipe from front to back after using the bathroom. The urethra, the tube that takes pee from the bladder to the outside of the body, is close to the anus. Bacteria from the large intestine, such as E. coli, can sometimes get out of your anus and into your urethra. From there, they can travel up to your bladder and, if the infection isn’t treated, can continue to infect your kidneys. Women have shorter urethras than men.
That makes it easier for bacteria to get to their bladders. Having sex can introduce bacteria into your urinary tract, too. Some women are more likely to get UTIs because of their genes. The shape of their urinary tracts makes others more likely to be infected. Women with diabetes may be at higher risk because their weakened immune systems make them less able to fight off infections. Other conditions that can boost your risk include hormone changes, multiple sclerosis, and anything that affects urine flow, such as kidney stones, a stroke, and a spinal cord injury.
Symptoms of UTIs
The symptoms of a UTI can include:
- A burning feeling when you pee
- A frequent or intense urge to pee, even though little comes out when you do
- Cloudy, dark, bloody, or strange-smelling pee
- Feeling tired or shaky
- Fever or chills (a sign that the infection may have reached your kidneys)
- Pain or pressure in your back or lower abdomen
If you suspect that you have a UTI based on your symptoms, contact the doctor. The doctor will review your symptoms and perform a physical examination. To confirm a diagnosis of a UTI, the doctor will need to test your urine for microbes. The urine sample that you give your doctor needs to be a “clean-catch” sample. This means the urine sample is collected at the middle of your urinary stream, rather than at the beginning. This helps to avoid collecting the bacteria or yeast from your skin, which can contaminate the sample.
When testing the sample, the doctor will look for numerous white blood cells in your urine. This can indicate an infection. The doctor will also do a urine culture to test for bacteria or fungi. The culture can help identify the cause of the infection. It can also help the doctor choose which treatment is right for you. If a virus is suspected, special testing may need to be performed. Viruses are rare causes of UTIs but can be seen in people who have had organ transplants or who have other conditions that weaken their immune system.
Treatments for UTIs
Antibiotics are the most common treatment for urinary tract infections. Treatment of UTIs depends on the cause. The doctor will be able to determine which organism is causing the infection from the test results used to confirm the diagnosis. In most cases, the cause is bacteria. UTIs caused by bacteria are treated with antibiotics. In some cases, viruses or fungi are the causes. Viral UTIs are treated with medications called antivirals.
To know more about the details regarding the disease, contact Medisys Hospital, a growing super speciality hospital in Hyderabad. They aid in improving patients health. You will get the best treatment according to your symptoms.