A Urinary Tract Infection (UTI), is an affection of different parts of the urinary system, including:
- Bladder- a bladder infection called cystitis
- Ureters- an infection of the tubes that take urine from either of the kidneys to the bladder
- Kidneys- a kidney infection called pyelonephritis
- Urethra- an infection called urethritis. It affects the tube that empties urine.
Most Urinary tract infections, when detected early, can be successfully treated using antibiotics. They generally involve the lower urinary tract, i.e., the bladder and the urethra. However, women stand at higher risks of contracting UTIs than men. Although infections limited to the bladder are painful and annoying, severe consequences may occur if a UTI infection reaches the kidneys.
Symptoms of a UTI include:
- Suden need to urinate or more frequently than normal
- Pain or a burning sensation with urination
- Smelly, bloody or cloudy urine
- Pain or pressure in your lower tummy or back
- Feeling exhausted and unwell
- In older people, mental and behavioral changes such as confusion or agitation
It’s worth pointing out that UTI symptoms may be challenging to spot in patients with dementia.
Causes of UTIs
• UTIs are generally caused by bacteria entering the urinary tract through the urethra and then to the bladder. Women have a shorter urethra than men hence the bacteria have higher chances of reaching the bladder or kidneys causing an infection. Other causes are;
- Urinary catheters
- Procedures or surgeries that involve the urinary system.
- A weakened immune system from conditions HIV, type 2 diabetes, or chemotherapy.
- Conditions (such as kidney stones) that block the urinary tract
- Certain conditions that increase difficulties in emptying the bladder. They include constipation in children or enlarged prostate gland in men.
Though you cannot always prevent UTIs, the following are things to do to avoid them;
- Always wipe from the front to back when visiting the toilet
- Take showers and avoid baths
- Take a short call as soon as possible after sex, and try to empty the bladder fully.
- Drink a lot of fluids
- Change the baby’s nappies more frequently
- Wear loose cotton underwear
How do health care professionals diagnose and treat a urinary tract infection?
The process is based on the information that a patient provides about the symptoms and other medical conditions. The doctor takes a physical examination and laboratory tests to complete the evaluation.
A sample may be sent to the lab for culture testing, or a doctor may perform a urine dipstick test. The results will tell the doctor the exact bacteria causing the infection, and the appropriate antibiotics will be prescribed.
Sometimes, catheterization may be required for a clean-catch of the specimen. Other examinations that may be conducted are a pelvic examination for women, rectal exam, or imaging test.
Think you have a UTI? Please Contact Us for more information.