Urinary Tract Infection

Under normal circumstances, urine in the bladder does not contain infectious bacteria or organisms. The urethra, the passage that urine travels through before it gets eliminated, does not contain any bacteria. Unfortunately, any structure in the urinary tract can get infected. A urinary tract infection can affect any of the organs that urine passes through on its way out of the body.

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Types of Urinary Tract Infections

Urinary tract infections are differentiated depending on the structure of the urinary tract that is affected. It may also be difficult for doctors to detect which part of the urinary tract has been affected. There are two types of infections:

  • Lower UTI – Bladder infection (cystitis). The bladder and the urethra make up the lower urinary tract.
  • Upper UTI – Kidney infection (pyelonephritis). The kidneys and the ureters are part of the upper urinary tract. An infection that is farther up the urinary tract is generally considered to be more serious.

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Causes of Urinary Tract Infection

UTIs can affect men, women, and children. However, women have more risk of infection. The doctors have not found the real reason why women are more susceptible to the infection. It is suspected that a shorter urethra could be the main reason why women are more often affected by urinary tract infection.

It is estimated that 20 percent of U.S. women develop a UTI at some point in their lives, and UTIs recur in 20 percent of those women.

Though it rarely affects children, it is most common among children below the age of two.

Urinary tract infection is caused by microorganisms that enter the human body by one of two possible routes. They usually enter through the lower urinary tract. In a man, they enter via the tip of the penis. In women, they use the opening at the vulva.

Once the infection enters the body, it goes to the bladder and even the kidneys. The infection can also enter through the bloodstream and travel all the way to the kidneys.

The organisms that cause urinary tract infection include bacteria, fungi, parasites, and viruses. Urinary tract infections are non-contagious.

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Types of Urinary Tract Infections

Bacteria

Bacteria usually affects the lower urinary tract in women who are young and sexually active. This is probably one of the main reasons why women are encouraged to take a bath after having sex. Bacterial infections are also more common in women aged between 20 and 50 than men with the same age bracket.

The following can cause bacterial infections:

  • Blockage of the urinary tract
  • Sex
  • Prostate infection
  • Use of a urinary catheter
  • Bladder malfunction
  • Septicemia or infection that occurs in the bloodstream

Viruses

The herpes simplex virus type 2 can potentially infect the urethra. This produces when passing urine and this causes difficulties in emptying the bladder. A weak immune system is also to blame in causing UTIs. This can be caused by HIV/AIDS, cancer, etc.

Fungi

Fungi or yeast has the potential to infect the urinary tract. This is generally referred to as yeast infection. The candida fungus mostly affects people with a weak immune system.

Parasites

Parasites and worms can infect the urinary tract. These include trichomoniasis, schistosomiasis, filariasis, and others.

Other causes of urinary tract infections include:

Menopause

The end of menopause causes some changes in the urinary tract which increases the chances of UTI.

Urinary Tract Surgical Procedures

A urinary tract surgery increases the chances of UTI.

Use of Birth Control

The use of diaphragms, spermicide-treated or unlubricated condoms

Types of Urinary Tract Infections

Symptoms of Urinary Tract Infection

The following symptoms are associated with UTIs:

  • Cloudy, smelly, and strong urine.
  • A burning sensation when passing urine.
  • Urinating persistently
  • Frequently passing small urine amounts
  • Passing urine mixed with blood
  • Pelvic pain
  • A feeling of discomfort in the lower abdomen
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Fever chills, and shaking
  • Back pain

If you’re experiencing one or a combination of these symptoms, you should see a urologist for diagnosis and treatment. Call us today at 678-344-8900 to make an appointment.

Diagnosing Urinary Tract Infection

The following methods can be used to diagnose UTIs

Urine Analysis

A urine sample may be collected and analyzed in the lab for blood cells and bacteria.

Urine Culture

A urine sample can be used to grow urinary tract bacteria. This gives the doctor more information about the bacteria causing the infection and how best to treat it.

Imaging

Ultrasound, CT scans or MRI can be used on patients with experiencing a UTI.

Cystoscope

A cystoscope can be used to see the inside of the bladder. A cystoscope is an instrument with a thin tube and a lens. The process is known as cystoscopy.

Treatments for UTI

Antibiotics are the primary method of treating urinary tract infections. The treatment and the antibiotics used depends on the severity of the infection. The drugs mainly used are:

  • Cephalexin (Keflex)
  • Ceftriaxone
  • Trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole (Bactrim, Septra, others)
  • Nitrofurantoin (Macrodantin, Macrobid)
  • Fosfomycin (Monurol)

People suffering from frequent infections may benefit from the following UTI medications and treatments:

  • Vaginal estrogen therapy is recommended for postmenopausal women
  • Low-dose antibiotics for up to six months or more
  • Taking an antibiotic dose after having sex
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