Urinary tract infection (UTI) is one of the most suffered infections among men and women. Sometimes children are also attacked by urinary tract infections but such cases don’t occur very frequently. Urinary tract infection in women is more common, since compared to the men women are more susceptible to it. A typical female body structure has a shorter urethra, which is closer to the anus that allows the bacteria to travel easily and infect the urinary bladder. Fungi and viruses are also sometimes held responsible for such kind of infections. These infections can take place at any site of the urinary tract.
Types of Urinary tract infections
• Lower UTI: In this kind of UTI the bladder and the urethra get infected by the bacteria. Infection of the urinary bladder is therapeutically called as Cystitis. It often results to a painful passage of the urine while urination. On the other hand infection of the urethra is called as Urethritis which leads to urethral inflammation. It produces distinguishable signs in men and women. In the case of a female body it is very difficult to separate cystitis from urethritis since both have same symptoms and the treatment is also quite similar.
• Upper UTI: Here the upper portion of the urinary tract and sometimes the kidneys get infected. This is called as pyelonephritis. In the worst cases patients have to deal with back pain, nausea, fever along with difficulty during urination.
Why should people be more aware of UTI?
The urinary tract comprises of two bean-shaped organs which are called as kidneys, the ureters that are responsible for transporting the urine from the kidneys and collecting them in the bladder, the bladder in which the urine is collected before its release, and the urethra which carries the urine from the bladder and after which the urine is discharged out of the body. Most people don’t give much importance to the infections related to urinary tract, since at first they seem to be mild and ignorable and the intake of some antibiotics lessens the symptoms. But if the urinary tract infections aren’t treated properly then they may recur and create more complicated problems such as a more complex upper UTI. If a UTI persist more than 3 days then the infected person must consult a doctor else it may lead to kidney infection. Urinary tract infection in men can lead to enlarged prostrate or urinary stones or narrowing of the urethra, whereas females have to go through more serious and harder complications. Females who are pregnant should be cautions with the health of their urinary tract since any kind of budding infection can result to be a threat to the fetus’ wellbeing.
Causes of urinary tract infection
There can be many causes that can trigger UTI among men and women, some of them are:
• If there is any obstruction that creates difficulty while emptying the urinary bladder such as kidney stones, abnormality in the size of prostrate, tumor, etc.
• Due to shorter urethra women are more prone to such infections.
• UTI is not transmitted sexually but during the intercourse if bacteria from the anus enters into the urinary bladder due to some uncertain pressure on the urinary tract then UTI can occur.
• UTI can infect people having a compromised immune system. People suffering from diabetes, cancer, HIV, etc.
• Contraceptives such as spermicides cause vaginal infections that can cause UTI. Condoms can also instigate UTI.
• Menopause results in the reduction of estrogen level which leads to the risk of UTI due to the increased bacterial activity in the absence of a substantial level of estrogen.
• Inappropriate hygiene habits, such as washing and wiping from front to back direction after the urination.
Urinary tract infection symptoms
Depending on the type of UTI a person is suffering, there are various kinds of symptoms that can be seen in a UTI patient.
Lower UTIs have following symptoms:
• Change in the color of the urine, it usually becomes reddish.
• Urine turns cloudy. There is also a foul smell in the urine.
• Women are seen to be having pain in their pelvic areas and men have pain in rectum or the nearby areas.
• Burning sensation during urinating and abnormal increase in the tendency of urination.
Upper UTIs have quite different symptoms in addition to the above mentioned symptoms:
• Fever and chills
• Back pain
• Genital irritations
How is UTI being diagnosed?
Usually the urine sample of the person suspected with UTI is obtained for the initial diagnostic procedure. In this test the area that surrounds the urethral opening is washed properly and a sample of the urine is collected from the midstream. The sample is collected in such a way that it is strictly kept safe from the contamination by the bacteria that are present in the genital area of the person undertaking the test. To check the number of leukocytes in the urine a test called urinalysis is also done. If the count is peculiarly high than the normal range then it indicates the occurrence of an infection. To know the category of bacteria that might have caused the infection, further tests are also done. During the diagnosis of upper UTI the whole urinary tract of the patient is been seen by the doctor during IVP test. Sometimes the urinary bladder is also checked by the help of a cystoscopy test. All these tests determine the type of treatment that the patient must be provided with.
Urinary tract infection treatment
Treatment varies with the intensity of the infection. If the infection lies in the lower portion of the urinary tract then orally taken antibiotics are given. Upper UTIs need more attention and a dedicated treatment procedure. Nowadays urine can be tested by the people (suspects) themselves at home by using various types of easy and rudimentary test kits. After the test if any abnormality is found then the person should immediately consult a doctor. Doctor then does the further intricate diagnostics accordingly. One must continue with their medicines until the entire dose is finished this reduces the chances of the reoccurrence of the infection. Most of the times the patients are given painkillers to combat the genital pain.
How can UTI be prevented?
UTIs can be prevented to some extent if certain good habits are maintained by the individuals. Following are the things that can be done by the people to somewhat protect themselves from the vulnerability of UTI:
• Drink plenty of water, nearly 6-8 glasses on a daily basis.
• Maintaining proper bathroom hygiene with the appropriate wiping techniques (front to back).
• Urinating whenever there is an urge.
• Wearing comfortable underpants preferably made up of cotton material.
• Add Vitamin C in the daily diet. Since vitamin C makes the urine more acidic and hence it can prevent the growth of the bacteria inside the urinary tract.
• Never hold back from urinating every time the urinary bladder feels to be full.
The above mentioned steps help the individuals to prevent UTI but it never guaranties 100% protection from UTI. Whenever anyone encounters any symptom that is related to UTI he/she must urgently consult a doctor so that proper treatment can be provided according to the requirement of the situation.
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