Urinary tract infections affect the urinary tract usually caused by the bacteria, Escherichia coli. Symptoms include the need or feeling to urinate, cloudy urine and pain or burning during urination. Urine contains salts, fluids and waste products but it doesn’t have any bacteria in it. A bacteria in the kidney or bladder and multiplies in the urine develops into UTI.
Acute cystitis is the most common kind of UTI and usually referred as bladder infection. Pyelonephritis is the infection of the kidney or upper urinary tract and is more serious. UTIs are easy to treat with the use of antibiotics but they usually cause discomfort.
Signs and Symptoms
The common symptoms of bladder infection include dysuria or burning with urination, urinary frequency, urgency to urinate, with or without pain, and no vaginal discharge. Pyelonephritis or upper urinary tract infection is presented with fever and flank pain. Symptoms usually last for 5 days in healthy woman.
The symptoms vary depending on the part of the urinary system involved and age of the infected person. For young children, UTI symptoms may include loss of appetite, diarrhea, fever and nausea and vomiting. Older children with UTI experiences incontinence or abdominal pain. Adults infected with lower urinary tract infection have symptoms of hematuria or bloody urine, malaise and inability to urinate even if with urge. Cloudy urine and foul smelling urine are also some signs of UTI.
Urethritis is the inflammation of the urethra. The only symptom for this infection is dysuria. But if urethritis is accompanied with cystitis or bladder inflammation, more symptoms may be felt. Symptoms include low grade fever, lower abdomen discomfort, frequent urination, pelvic pressure, and dysuria. Acute pyelonephritis is more severe with the following symptoms: nausea and vomiting, chills, and high fever.
· Sexual Activity
75% to 90% of bladder infections are caused by sexual activity. The frequency of sex relates to the risk of infection. In women who are in post menopausal stage, UTI does not relate to the sexual acitivity.
The urethra of females are shorter and is much closer to the anus, therefore, females are more prone to having UTI than males. In older adults, the prevalence of UTI is equal among men and women because of the rise of enlarged prostate in men. The urethra is obstructed while the gland grows which leads to increase difficulty in urination. There is more risk for bacterial colonization because less urine flushes the urethra.
· Urinary Catheters
One risk factor related to UTI is the use of urinary catheter. UTI can be prevented with the use of catheters through practicing aseptic technique upon insertion and maintaining the drainage unobstructed.
Other risk factors are anatomical malformations like in prostate enlargement, diabetes and sickle cell disease.
· To those having recurrent UTIs, prolonged use of low-dose antibiotics is recommended. Nitrufuratoin or TPM or SMX are usually used.
· Cranberry juice also helps in preventing UTI recurrence.
· Application of estrogen topical cream may be used by post menopausal women to prevent recurrent cystitis.