Urinary tract infections are caused when the urinary tract is infected by bacteria. This tract includes ureters, urethra, bladder and kidneys. Each of these organs plays an important role in the elimination of waste from the body, in the form of liquid. The kidneys present inside the body help to filter the blood, followed by urine production. The ureters carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder which holds the urine until it is removed through the urethra.
The different types of urinary tract infections
Generally, an infection can occur at any place in this tract but the lower portion is more prone to this infection, known as cystitis. The bottom part consists of bladder and urethra. Again, if this infection travels to the upper portion, i.e. to the kidneys and the ureters, then it is termed as pyelonephritis. Bacteria are not present in the urine but they enter the tract through the skin and around the anus. The intestinal bacteria or E.coli is mainly responsible for the UTIs infection along with other bacteria and viruses. Bacteria reaches the kidneys and the bladder through the blood but usually bacterial urinary tract infections are nor contagious.
UTIs – common in girls – symptoms of the infection
This infection is common in girls because of the short length of the urethra. In girl’s urethra is present near the anus which also contributes to the occurrence of this infection. Young boys, less than 1 year old also have a high risk of developing urinary tract infections. It becomes quite difficult to detect the problem in young children because the symptoms are not so specific unlike in adults. In fact, sometimes young victims do not show any signs other than fever. In older kids, pain and burning during urination are some of the common symptoms of UTIs.
Causes of UTIs
Urine is sterile but an infection occurs when certain bacteria get into the urine and start growing there. This infection begins at the mouth of the urethra from where the urine eliminates from the body. From there it moves upward into the urinary tract. Escherichia coli is the main bacteria behind the cause of this infection and almost in 90% of the uncomplicated cases, this bacteria is found to be playing the major role in spreading the infection. This culprit is generally found around the region of anus and in the bowel. When this bacteria moves from the anus to the mouth of the urethra it can causes serious conditions. The two main causes of this infection are sexual intercourse and lack of hygiene. Generally, this bacterium leaves the body during urination but when they gather in huge amount then urinating cannot stop their spread. The bacterium again travels from the urethra to the bladder where they can easily grow and spread the infection. Further, the bacterium moves upward through the ureters to spread the infection. When they reach the kidneys, they can develop a kidney infection, also known as pyelonephritis. If not treated properly within the time, it can lead to serious conditions.
Antibiotics are prescribed by doctors to treat UTIs. Drugs are prescribed on the basis of the health of the victim and the type of bacteria found in his urination. Some of the common drugs prescribed for simple urinary tract infections are Nitrofurantoin, Amoxicillin, Sulfamethoxazole-trimethoprim, Ciprofloxacin, Ampicillin and Levofloxacin. Within a few days of treatment, usually the symptoms clear up but in case of a serious condition you may need to consume antibiotics for one or more weeks. In order to eliminate the infection completely it is important to take the entire antibiotic course, as prescribed by your physician. For simple UTIs, doctor may prescribe a shorter term of antibiotic course, say for one or two days. But whether this is applicable or not in your case will depend on the symptoms that you undergo and your medical history. If you are facing the problem of burning during urination, then your physician may also prescribe you with a painful medication or analgesic that can make your bladder numb and relieve your urethra during urinating. In case of a severe infection you may need to undergo with intravenous antibiotics in a hospital.
The symptoms include the urge of frequent urinate which may occur immediately after you emptied the bladder. A painful burning sensation and discomfort in the lower abdomen are also common during urination. Pain in the back or pelvic region and occasion fever are the common UITs symptoms. Discolor of urine (red or orange tints) is a common side effect of UTIs.
How to prevent the recurrent of UTIs – Preventions
If you are suffering from frequent urinary tract infection, then you should be aware of it. Visit a doctor every time you feel you are undergoing any symptoms related to UTIs. Your physician may also prescribed you for a longer course of antibiotics or a continuous program that includes short courses of antibiotic treatments at the fundamental stage of urinary symptoms. Home urine tests can also keep you aware about this problem. If you are in a postmenopausal stage, then the vaginal estrogen therapy is applicable to minimize the risk of recurrent UTIs. Again, if your problem occurs due to sex related activities, then your doctor may prescribe you with a single antibiotic dose after each sexual intercourses.
Other preventive measures against UTIs
Drink as much water as you can because it can help to dilute your urine which will ensure frequent urination. This will help the bacteria to flush out of from the urinary tract before the infection can start. After urinating it is essential to wipe out from back to front as it can prevent bacteria from gathering around the anal region. This will also save you from the spread of bacteria to the urethra and vagina. Again, it is suggested to urinate soon after the intercourse because it can help to flush out the bacteria and reduce the chances of UTIs after an intercourse. Do not use any kind of feminine products like perfume, powders and others in the genital area because it can cause irritation and risk of UTIs. To know more about this infection you can surf the websites or contact a physician.