Population at increased risk
People who have obstructed urinary tract conditions such as kidney-stone or with a history of having incomplete bladder emptying (spinal cord injury, bladder decompensation etc.) are at a higher risk of developing the UTI. Suppression of the immune system (HIV/AIDS patients or patients with diabetes), and use of immunosuppressant medications can also increase the risk of developing a UTI several-fold. Catherization and Hospital-admission increases the risk of all types of infection including UTI .
Men: Though men are less likely to develop UTI, an enlarged prostate can lead to incomplete bladder emptying making them prone to such infections.
Infants: In this group of patients, the bacteria can also gain entry to urinary tract through the bloodstream from other infected sites of the body.
Young Children: Children have difficulty in wiping or cleaning them after the bowel movement. Thus, poor hygiene is linked to increase in the frequency of UTI.
Musculoskeletal: There is a constant mild or moderate pain in the pelvic region of women. Among men, similar pain is observed in the rectal region.
Urogenital: Some of the urogenital features of the UTI are dysuria, frequent urination, urinary urgency, and abdominal pain. There can be new incontinence or worsening of the pre-existing incontinence in patients with UTI.
Diagnosis of UTI
These tests may be indicated in UTI:
Treatment of UTI depends on the extent of the infection.
Mild kidney infections: In mild cases, following an antibiotic regimen for 3 days (women) or 7 - 14 days (men) can benefit the patient. In patients who are pregnant or suffer from diabetes, one must take antibiotics for 7 - 14 days. Drinking plenty of water can help flush the bacteria out of the system.
Severe kidney infections: In severe infections, the patient may have to get admitted to the hospital to receive intravenous fluids and antibiotics for immediate relief. The chances of such visits increase if the patient is elderly; have kidney stones, cancer, diabetes, spinal cord injury or other medical problems.
Recurrent bladder infections: Women must take antibiotics after the sexual contact and clean the pubic region with water. They can also take a single daily dose of an antibiotic to prevent infections.
Chronic UTI: In these cases, UTI persists even after taking antibiotics; such patients must take stronger antibiotics to combat the menace of UTI . Surgery is advised if the infection has affected the anatomy of the excretory system.
Antibiotics that are frequently used to manage UTI are as follows :
Most of the infections of the urinary tract can be treated successfully. The symptoms of UTI generally resolve with 24 to 48 hours after the initiation of the treatment. For severe infections, relief can come only after 7 days of treatment.
Though urine is generally sterile, when the infection begins, it starts at the opening of the urethra (the place from where the urine leaves the body) and moves upwards in the urinary tract. In 90% of the cases, the culprit of the uncomplicated infection is a type of bacteria called Escherichia coli, which normally lives in the colon and around the anus .
These bacteria can easily move around the anus and urethra. The most common causes of UTI are poor hygiene and sexual intercourse. Emptying of the bladder can help flush out the bacteria from the urethra. However, some bacteria can travel up the urethra to the bladder and grow, causing the infection. When the infection spreads further, these bacteria can even reach the kidney, which is a very serious condition, if not treated promptly.
Though UTI is more common in adults than in children, the latter is more likely to suffer from its serious form and often get ignored. It is estimated that about 1-2% of the children suffer from UTI.
These infections are more common in women and girls younger than 50 years than their male counterparts, probably due to the anatomic differences between the genders. It is estimated that about 40% women and 12% men have suffered from UTI at least once in their life-time .
The following stages can explain the pathogenesis of UTI in humans:
UTI can be prevented. The following steps can reduce the risk of UTI significantly.
Summing up, though UTI is a common disease affecting all the segments of the population, it can be successfully managed and prevented by making people aware of the clinical complications. UTI can also be prevented by incorporating proper hygiene in their daily routine.
Anatomy of the excretory system
Kidneys are small organs that lie on either side of the spine. Apart from removing the waste and excess water from the body, kidneys also play an important role in the regulation of the blood-pressure. These organs are extremely sensitive to the changes in the blood-glucose levels; hence both diabetes and hypertension can adversely affect the working of the kidneys.
There are two ureters that drain the urine from each kidney to the urinary bladder. The bladder stores the urine and when a certain level of urine is collected, it voluntarily contracts to expel the urine.
Urethra connects the bladder to the outside of the body. Infection that involves the kidneys, ureters, urinary bladder and urethra (or excretory system) is called the Urinary Tract Infection (UTI). Any of the parts of this system can be infected and the further up the infection, the greater is the chance of infection to become serious.
Types of infection
A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection of a part of the urinary tract.
Though there are no specific signs and symptoms of UTI, but when they manifests they may show the following features:
The trouble during urination: There is a persistent and strong urge to urinate. While passing the urine, there is a burning sensation. The urine appears cloudy and sometimes it appears red, pink or cola-colored due to presence of blood.
Frequency of frination: The patient passes small quantity of urine frequently. In fact, the patient may be the distressed with the number of visits to the washroom.
Treatment of UTI depends on the extent of the infection.