UTI stands for Urinary Tract Infection. UTI can affect any part of the Urinary system. It is an infection caused by microbes. The urinary tract is divided into the upper urinary tract and the lower urinary tract. If the lower urinary tract is infected then it is called the bladder infection and if the upper urinary tract is infected then it is called the kidney infection.
Cause and Symptoms:
The Urinary tract is mostly affected by the bacteria Escherichia Coli. This Bacteria is mostly found in the digestive tract. However, there can be other bacteria and fungi that can cause a UTI. UTI can also happen after sexual intercourse if hygiene is not maintained or if either of the partners is already suffering from urine infection. However, UTI is not classified under sexually transmitted diseases. Some other causes for UTI include suppressed immune system because of the diseases like Diabetes, any abnormality in the Urinary tract, use of unsterile catheters, any blockage in the urinary tract that might restrict the passage of urine properly accumulating urine in the bladder thus increasing the chances of UTI.
The symptoms of UTI include:
Frequent and painful micturition.
Though the bladder is empty still the patient feels like passing urine again and again.
Fever with chills.
Lower abdominal pain.
Change in the color of urine. Either yellow or cloudy.
Urine mixed with blood when the infection is severe.
Generally, a UTI is easily managed by antibiotics provided the patient is not antibiotic-resistant. In much-complicated cases, intravenous injections are administered.
UTI is caused by bacteria. Usually, the bacteria enters into the bladder through the urethra. The bacteria is travels into the urethra through intestines and starts multiplying. Because of the anatomy of the females, they are more prone to urine infections when compared to males. Once the bacteria enters into the bladder it adheres to the internal lining of the bladder.
Some of the forms of UTI include:
Cystitis: This is the infection of the bladder generally caused by the bacteria E.coli. The infection can also take place through sexual intercourse. Females are more prone to cystitis when compared to males.
Urethritis: This is the infection and inflammation of the urethra. The bacteria generally spreads from Anus to the Urethra. And since in females the urethra is closer to the vagina, the bacteria responsible for sexually transmitted diseases might also cause Urethritis.
Pyelonephritis: It is the infection and inflammation of the kidneys. The infection starts from lower urinary tract and if left untreated the infection spreads to the kidneys and causes pyelonephritis.
Vaginitis: It is the infection and inflammation of the vagina. This can be because of the organisms like the bacteria and even the yeast.
Diagnosis and Treatment:
The physician will take the history of the patient to check whether the patient was exposed to any infection earlier which was left untreated. The physician also tries to note whether any episode of sexual activity has triggered the symptoms to rule out the cause of the infection. A UTI can be diagnosed after the testing of the urine sample. The urine is tested under microscope for the presence of any bacteria, yeast, pus cells, or any blood cells. If the condition of the patient worsens and blood is seen in the urine then the patient is also advised to do a pelvic scan to record any bladder and kidney changes and to note the probable cause of the infection.
Treatment includes the administration of antibiotics orally or intravenously depending upon the condition of the patient along with analgesics for pain management.
The patient is asked to take plenty of fluids to flush out the toxins from the urinary system.
UTI can be easily prevented by following healthy eating habits and maintaining the hygiene of the private parts by washing the private parts properly after excretion and always using clean undergarments. While urinating one should never be in a rush to finish. Rather, stop, and start method is recommended to empty the bladder properly. Drinking cranberry juice helps to prevent UTI.
1. What are the types of bacteria that can cause a UTI?
Ans: UTI is usually caused by the bacteria E.coli which is present in the digestive system. However, other bacteria like Chlamydia and mycoplasma bacteria responsible for sexually transmitted diseases can also cause the infection though it can infect the urethra but not the bladder.
2. What is the mechanism of UTI?
Ans: The most common type of UTI involves the bacteria that colonize in the gut enter into the urinary tract through urethra following colonization of the periurethral area. Once the bacteria reach the bladder it spreads along the lining of the bladder and also reaches ureters if not treated on time thus spreading the infection to the kidneys as well.