UTI – Urinary Tract Infection

By Kemboi Kibet

Urinary tract infection UTI is a bacterial infection that occurs when a bacteria invades the urinary tract and multiplies throughout the whole system. The urinary tract makes urine and carries it out of the body. The system comprises of bladder, kidneys and connecting tubules. There are three types of UTI, the most common of which is bladder infection. Women are at more risk of developing UTI because of their anatomy. UTI is mostly mild but in some cases can be severe. Antibiotics is usually used to treat UTI

TYPES OF UTI

Urethritis The bacteria infect only the urethra.This causes a burning sensation when urinating

Cystitis This is when bacteria causes bladder infection. It may present symptoms like blood in urine or frequent painful urination, lower abdominal discomfort and pelvic pressure

Pyelonephritis This is a serious kind of UTI which affects the kidneys. Patients usually experience back pain, high fever, chills and vomiting.

CAUSES OF UTI

The most common cause of UTI is E. coli usually found in the digestive tract and around the skin in the rectal and vaginal area. However some other bacteria like Klebsiella, Pseudomonas, Enterobacter, Proteus, Staphylococcus, Mycoplasma, Chlamydia may also cause the disease. These bacteria enter the urinary tract through the urethra and begin to divide and grow into a full-blown infection of the urinary system.Sexual intercourse can also cause UTI in females because they have shorter urethras which lie close to the vagina and rectum.Abnormal shape and function of the urinary tract can also put people at high risk of getting the disease. Drinking less fluids may also cause UTI

RISK FACTORS

Female have shorter urethras than men which makes it easier for infection to reach the bladder.

Sexually active women are at high risk of UTI than those who are not involved in sexual intercourse

Urinary tract abnormalities that cause urine to back up or result in poor function of the system can cause UTI

Use of catheters have increased risk of UTI. This is because it offers direct connection to the bladder where germs can reach the urinary tract

The use if certain contraceptives such as diaphragm and use condoms with spermicidal foam puts you at high risk.

Having a suppressed immune system from diseases such as diabetes increase your risk for UTI

Kidney stones or an enlarged prostate can trap urine in the bladder and increase the risk of the disease

UTI may become more common at menopause because the lack of estrogen causes changes in the urinary tract that make it more vulnerable to infection.

Pregnannt women are more susceptible to UTI than non pregnant women. This is because hormones cause the bladder and ureters to dilate. This slows urine flow and may decrease bladder infection.Decrease in acidity of urine during pregnancy favors bacteria growth.

SYMPTOMS

Symptoms of UTI depends on the type and these symptoms may include

strong-smelling urine
pelvic pain in women
rectal pain in men
feeling a burning sensation when urinating
passing frequent small amount of urine
mild fever
cloudy or dark urine

TEST AND DIAGNOSIS

Urine Test Urine sample is sent to the lab to check for red blood cells, white blood cells and bacteria. To get accurate results it will be a good idea to wipe the genitals with antiseptic wipes before collecting the urine sample.

Imaging test An ultrasound or a computerized tomography (CT) scan is used to create images of the urinary tract. The doctor check for abnormalities.

Cystoscopy The doctor uses a long, thin tube with a lens (cystoscope) to see inside your urethra and bladder .

Growing urinary tract bacteria in a lab tells your doctor what bacteria are causing your infection and which medications will be most effective.

TREATMENT

Antibiotics are typically used to treat UTI. The type prescribed and how long you will take it depends of the type of bacteria in the urine.

For simple infections, doctors may recommend

Sulfamethoxazole-trimethoprim (Biotrim, Septrin,).
Nitrofurantoin (Furadantin, Macrodantin,)
Levofloxacin (Levaquin)
Ciprofloxacin (Cipro)
Amoxicillin (Amoxil, Augmentin,)
Ampicillin

For simple infection your, you may need to take antibiotic for about three days .Recurrent infection require longer doses of antibiotics. In cases where UTI is severe antibiotics may be given through IV in the hospital.

Over the counter medication may also be taken to relieve symptoms of UTI. These include phenazopyridine(Pyridium and Urogesic), which relieves bladder pain.

It is important to finish the full course of the antibiotics even if you feel better or symptoms have disappeared.

PREVENTION

drink lots of fluids. cranberry juice may also help
don’t try to hold urine
if you are a woman, urinate right after sex.
Postmenopausal women may want inquire about using vaginal estrogen to prevent recurrent UTI.
wipe from front to back after urinating or bowel movement to prevent germs from spreading from anal area
Avoid prolonged exposure to moisture in the genital area by not wearing nylon underwear or wet swimsuits.
Couples who use lubrication during sex should use a water-soluble lubricant such as K-Y Jelly.
Change pad and tampon regularly

COMPLICATIONS

When treated early , UTI usually does not lead to icomplication. However certain complication may set in severe cases. These include

permanent kidney damage from acute or chronic kidney infection (pyelonephritis) especially in children

pregnant women may deliver premature babies or babies with low birth weight.

recurrent infections may occur in especially women.

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