Urinary Tract Infection
What is UTI?
A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection of your urinary system which includes kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. Although it can affect any of these organs, infection of the bladder and urethra is the most common. Urinary tract infections typically occur when bacteria enter the urinary tract through the urethra and begin to multiply in the bladder. Although the urinary system is designed to keep out such microscopic invaders, these defenses sometimes fail. When that happens, bacteria may take hold and grow into a full-blown infection in the urinary tract.
Urinary tract infections are much more common in women. Most women experience more than one infection during their life. Risk factors specific to women are:
- Female anatomy – women have a shorter urethra than men, so bacteria have a shorter distance to reach the bladder
- Sexual activity – sexually active women are more prone to get the UTI as well as having a new sexual partner
- Menopause – after menopause drop of certain hormones makes the urinary tract more susceptible to infection
What causes UTI?
UTI is usually caused by bacteria that enter the urethra and bladder consequently causing inflammation and infection. Although the infection is mostly limited to these organs, if not treated it can travel up to the ureters causing kidney infection which can be a very serious condition. More than 90% of bladder infection (cystitis) cases are caused by E. coli, a bacterium normally found in the intestines.
What are the symptoms?
In case you have some of these symptoms, you might have UTI:
- A strong, continuous urge to urinate
- Burning sensation while urinating
- Urine can be cloudy
- Blood in the urine (urine appears red or pink)
- Unusual strong smelly urine
- Pain in the lower urinary tract area, especially in the center of the pelvis in women
How is UTI diagnosed?
- Urine sample analysis – we may ask you for a urine sample to check if there are any red or white blood cells in your urine or any other substances. A certain number of white or blood cells might indicate UTI.
- Urine culture – this urine analysis is used to determine is there any bacteria in your urine and if there is, which type of bacteria is in question and what is the best course of antibiotics
How UTI can be managed?
The first-line treatment for UTI is antibiotics. Which type of antibiotics and for how long depend on your health condition and the type of bacteria found in your urine. For an uncomplicated UTI that occurs when you're otherwise healthy, we may recommend a shorter course of treatment, such as taking an antibiotic for one to three days. But whether this short course of treatment is enough to treat your infection depends on your symptoms and medical history.
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