Patient's Complete Guide to Urinary Tract Infections (UTI)

Overview of Urinary Tract Infections (UTI)

Urinary tract infections are caused by pathogenic microbes that can be bacteria, fungi or viruses and affect the urinary tract system.

Signs and Symptoms of Urinary Tract Infections (UTI)

A urinary tract infection (UTI) results from the pathogenic microbes that attack any part of the urinary tract such as kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra. Most commonly affected are the lower urinary tract regions— the bladder and the urethra. It is typically caused by bacteria but in some cases, fungi or viruses can also affect the urinary tract.
Females tend to be more sensitive to these urinary microbes than males. Below are the major urinary microbes that cause UTIs.

  • BacteriaEscherichia coli (E.coli), Pseudomonas aeruginosa
  • Fungi Candida, Cryptococcus neoformans
  • VirusAdenovirus, Cytomegalovirus

Prevalence of Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

Urinary tract infection is one of the leading causes of death globally. Women are affected more than males. Almost 50% of the women reported UTIs and about 20% to 40% of women suffered from recurrent UTIs worldwide.

Types of Urinary Tract Infections (UTI)

Common signs and symptoms of UTI in both men and women include:

  • A strong, persistent urge to urinate
  • A burning sensation when urinating
  • Passing frequent, small amounts of urine
  • Urine that appears cloudy
  • Urine that appears red, bright pink or cola-coloured — a sign of blood in the urine
  • Strong-smelling urine
  • Pelvic pain, in women — especially in the centre of the pelvis and around the area of the pubic bone
  • In some cases of urinary tract infections, UTI symptoms men include rectal pain while most women feel pelvic pain

Risk Factors of Urinary Tract Infections (UTI)

Urinary tract infections are commonly caused by Escherichia coli (E.coli), affecting the bladder, urethra or kidney. In some cases, other species of bacteria may affect it too.

Prevention

Urinary tract infections commonly occur in women more than males. As per studies, women suffer from UTI at least once in their lifetime. Risk factors for UTI include:

  • The length of the urethra is shorter in women than in males. This decreases the distance between the urethra and bladder, due to which bacteria move towards the urethra more quickly in females.
  • Sexually active women tend to have more UTIs problems.
  • Women who are more likely to use diaphragms for birth control are at higher risk than women who use spermicidal agents.
  • Women after menopause are more prone to urinary tract infections due to a decrease in circulating estrogen.

Other general risk factors for UTIs are as follows:

  • Babies have congenital urinary tract abnormalities in which it is difficult to pass urine from the body.
  • Any blockages in the urinary tract such as kidney stones or an enlarged prostate can hold urine in the bladder that leads to an increase in the risk of UTIs.
  • Other diseases like diabetes weaken the immune system and can increase the risk of UTIs.
  • People who use a catheter for urination may have an increased risk of UTIs. Patients who are mostly hospitalized or having any mental disorder come under this category.

Health Complications of Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)

If urinary tract infections are left untreated then the following complications of UTI may arise:

  • People who have UTIs more than once within a year is a recurrent infection that ultimately leads to serious complications.
  • Permanent kidney damage from an acute or chronic kidney infection (pyelonephritis).
  • Urethral narrowing (stricture) in men from recurrent urethritis, like gonococcal urethritis.
  • A potentially life-threatening complication of infection affects the kidney to develop serious complications of UTIs.

Diagnosis

Following are the steps that people should do to reduce the risk of urinary tract infections:

  • Drink plenty of water
  • Drink cranberry juice
  • Make sure the bladder is empty after intercourse.
  • Avoid irritating feminine products such as deodorant sprays or douches and powders, in the genital area.
  • Avoid using the birth control materials such as diaphragms, or unlubricated or spermicide-treated condoms. These products can increase the risk of bacterial infections.

Treatment of Urinary Tract Infections (UTI) | When to Consult a Doctor

Following tests and procedures are used to diagnose urinary tract infections include:

  • Urine Sample Analysis: This test is used to check the white blood cells, red blood cells or bacteria. Before collecting the sample, doctors advise wiping off the genital area with an antiseptic pad to avoid the potential contamination of the urine sample.
  • Urine Culture Test:  It is used to identify the bacteria causing agent. This helps the doctor to choose suitable medications for the patients.
  • Imaging Studies: Computerized tomography (CT scan), ultrasound or magnetic resonance imaging(MRI) are performed to check any abnormality in the urinary tract.
  • Cystoscopy: It consists of a thin long tube with a lens to help check the inner areas of the urethra and bladder.

Healthcare Providers

Consult with Best Doctors for Urinary Tract Infections (UTI)

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Speciality for Urinary Tract Infections (UTI)

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