Urinary Tract Infection UTI is the condition of inflammation in the urinary tract caused by microbes. Without a microscope, microbe organisms are near impossible to be seen. Urinary Tract Infection(UTI) is mostly caused by bacteria, but in some cases, fungi and viruses are diagnosed as the reasons. UTI is one of the most common infections in humans. Women are more prone to get UTI than men. Data shows that about 50 percent of women suffer from UTI at some point in their lives. The problem may become chronic if left untreated in some women. Men are rarely seen suffering from Urinary tract infections, but the condition is not very severe in men leaving some exceptional cases.
Human Urinary Tract is divided into two parts- the upper tract and the lower tract. Urinary Tract Infection(UTI) can happen anywhere in your urinary tract. A urinary tract consists of urethra, bladder, ureters, and kidneys. In most cases, UTI infection diagnosed in the lower tract involving only urethra and bladder. However, UTIs can also occur in the upper tract that involves the ureters and kidneys. Although the UTI infections in the upper tract are rarer than lower tract UTIs.
Urinary tract infections generally occur when bacteria enters the urinary tract through the urethra and begin to multiply at a rapid pace in the bladder. Although the urinary system is designed to defend itself from such microscopic invaders, defending mechanism sometimes fail. In that case, bacteria dominates the defense system and grow into a full-blown infection in the urinary tract.
Symptoms of Urinary Tract Infection(UTI)
One can easily notice Urinary Tract Infection(UTI) symptoms:
- A very strong urge to urinate
- Burning sensation during urination
- Frequent urination
- A small quantity of urine passing
- One can notice blood in urine sometimes- Light brown, light pink, or red
- Pelvic discomfort in women
- Strange strong smell and cloudy urine
- Feeling tiredness
- Feeling pressure in the lower part of the abdomen
- Slight fever or chills (an indication that the infection may have reached kidneys)
Causes for Urinary Tract Infection(UTI)
The most common UTIs occur mainly in women and affect the bladder and urethra.
Bladder Infection (Cystitis)
Bladder infection UTI is typically caused by Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria commonly found in the gastrointestinal tract. However, other bacteria are also responsible sometimes for Cystitis. Sexual intercourse could be one of the reasons for developing cystitis. All women are at elevated risk of cystitis due to their anatomical structure. Specifically, the short distance from the urethra to the anus and the urethral opening to the bladder is considered as the main reason for women to be prone to the bladder infection.
Urethra Infection (Urethritis)
Infection of Urethra can occur when gastrointestinal bacteria spread from the anus to the urethra. Since the female urethra is very close to the vagina, sexually transmitted infections can cause urethritis.
Risk factors for Urinary Tract Infection(UTI)
Urinary tract infections are quite common in women. It has been observed that many women have experienced at least one Urinary Tract Infection during their lifetimes. Women are more likely than men to develop bladder infections or recurrent urinary tract infections. Common risk factors specific to women for UTIs:
A key reason is a female anatomy. Women have a shorter urethra than the men, which shortens the distance bacteria must travel to reach the bladder.
Sexually active women are more prone to have UTIs than the women who are not sexually active. Having sex with a new partner tends to increase your chances of getting UTI. The chances of bacteria being pushed into the urethra are more in sexual intercourse.
Birth control measures
Women who use diaphragms for birth control are at increased risk of getting a UTI as diaphragms contain spermicidal agents which enhances the risk of UTI. Some women report even condom during intercourse causes the UTI infection to them.
Due to hormonal changes during pregnancy, the risk of getting UTI infection in the bladder is higher.
Post-menopause, circulating estrogen declines which cause changes in the urinary tract, making you more vulnerable to infection. Altered hormonal levels after menopause of women are more often associated with UTIs.
Urinary tract structural abnormalities
Some born with urinary tract abnormalities that don’t allow urine to leave the urinary tract normally. It causes the urine to back up in the urethra which is associated with an increased risk of Urinary Tract Infection(UTI).
Blockage in the Urine Flow
Kidney stones or an enlarged prostate can cause blockage in urine flow and trap it inside the bladder and eventually increases the risk of Urinary Tract Infection(UTI).
Weak immune system
Certain medical conditions such as diabetes, HIV infection and cancer treatment etc can impair the immune system. A depressed immune
Use of Bladder Catheters
Some people with chronic illnesses who are hospitalized, people with neurological problems having difficulty in controlling their ability to urinate and people who are paralyzed usually use bladder catheters to urinate. Prolonged use of these tubes is frequently associated with bacterial infections as well as bladder tissue damage. Such people are at high risk of getting Urinary Tract Infection(UTI).
Urinary Medical procedure
Surgery or an examination of the urinary tract that involves medical instruments enhances the chances of developing a Urinary tract infection(UTI).
Urinary tract infection(UTI) needs urgent medical intervention and if left untreated, it can lead to severe complications with undesired consequences. When treated promptly and properly, infections rarely lead to any complication.