Urinary Tract Infection

Urinary Tract Infection

A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection from microbes. These are organisms that are too small to be seen without a microscope. Most UTIs are caused by bacteria, but some are caused by fungi and in rare cases by viruses. A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection in any part of your urinary system your kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra. Most infections involve the lower urinary tract  the bladder and the urethra.

If you’ve ever had a urinary tract infection you know the unique agony of a terrible burning feeling and relentless need to pee all wrapped up in one nightmare scenario. The kidneys are a pair of small organs that lie on either side of the spine at about waist level. About 40% of women and 12% of men have a urinary tract infection at some time in their life.

They have several important functions in the body, including removing waste and excess water from the blood and eliminating them as urine. The urethra is a small tube connecting the bladder with the outside of the body. A muscle called the urinary sphincter  located at the junction of the bladder and the urethra, must relax at the same time the bladder contracts to expel urine.

These infections are much more common in girls and women than in boys and men younger than 50 years of age. The reason for this is not well understood, but anatomic differences between the genders (a shorter urethra in women) might be partially responsible.

Symptoms for Urinary Infection

Symptoms of a UTI depend on what part of the urinary tract is infected. Women with a lower tract urinary infection may experience pelvic pain. This is in addition to the other common symptoms.

  • burning with urination
  • A strong, persistent urge to urinate
  • increased frequency of urination without passing much urine
  • Passing frequent, small amounts of urine
  • increased urgency of urination
  • Strong-smelling urine
  • bloody urine
  • cloudy urine
  • Pelvic pain, in women — especially in the center of the pelvis and around the area of the pubic bone
  • urine that looks like cola or tea
  • chills
  • urine that has a strong odor
  • Urine that appears cloudy
  • rectal pain in men
  • vomiting
  • Fever

Causes for UTI

The bacterial infection usually starts at the opening of the urethra where the urine leaves the body and moves upward into the urinary tract. UTI symptoms in women and men are similar. However, urinary tract infections occur more frequently in women than in men.

  • Infection of the bladder (cystitis).This type of UTI is usually caused by Escherichia coli (E. coli), a type of bacteria commonly found in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. However, sometimes other bacteria are responsible.
  • Sexual intercourse may lead to cystitis, but you don’t have to be sexually active to develop it. All women are at risk of cystitis because of their anatomy — specifically, the short distance from the urethra to the anus and the urethral opening to the bladder.
  • Infection of the urethra (urethritis).This type of UTI can occur when GI bacteria spread from the anus to the urethra. Also, because the female urethra is close to the vagina, sexually transmitted infections, such as herpes, gonorrhea, chlamydia and mycoplasma, can cause urethritis.
  • The bacteria can travel up the urethra to the bladder, where they can grow and cause an infection.
  • If they reach the kidney, they can cause a kidney infection, which can become a very serious condition if not treated promptly.
  • Some foods and beverages, like coffee and chocolate can also irritate your delicate urinary tract and exacerbate an existing UTI.
  • Wiping from back to front can transport coli, the bacteria that’s behind most UTIs, from the rectal region to the urethra
  • The more sex you have, the likelier it is you might get a UTI, Minkin says. That’s because bacteria may move to the urethra from the vagina and from the perineum, which is the area between your vagina and your anus
  • Women are also more likely to get an infection after sexual activity or when using a diaphragm and spermicide for birth control.

Treatment

There are multiple types of antibiotics used to treat urinary tract infections (UTIs). Different treatments may be recommended in different areas of the country based on regional patterns of antibiotic resistance.

  1. Most patients with an uncomplicated UTI will begin treatment without any special diagnostic test, although a urinalysis may be performed by taking a urine sample.
  2. A urine culture may be order, too, but is not always needed to start treatment.
  3. Your doctor will choose your antibiotic based on your history, type of UTI, local resistance patterns, and cost-considerations.
  4. Kidney infections may require inject able treatment, hospitalization, as well as a longer course of antibiotic, depending upon severity of the infection.

Home remedies for UTI

There are also many home remedies available that help treat them and prevent them from reoccurring.

  1. Drink a lot water: A lot of home remedies for urinary tract infections are drinks because you should always be flushing fluid through your system to give it a helping hand in getting rid of the nasty bacteria.
  2. Baking soda can help ease the discomfort.
  3. Increasing vitamin C intake may decrease the risk of UTIs by making the urine more acidic, thus killing off infection-causing bacteria.
  4. Celery seeds also act as a diuretic, due mainly to one of the constituents of celery oil. If parsley water just isn’t your thing, chewing a handful of celery seeds can help increase the production of urine.
  5. Peeing after sexual intercourse can also reduce the risk of UTIs by preventing the spread of bacteria
  6. Cucumbers are a great way to get to get extra fluid through your system when you find yourself having a hard time drinking enough water.
  7. Bearberry leaf, cranberry extract and garlic extract are natural supplements that have been shown to prevent UTIs and decrease recurrence.

 

 

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