Urinary Tract Infections (UTI)
Types, symptoms, complications, diagnosis and treatment
All you need to know about urinary tract infections
What are the types of urinary tract infection?
UTI mostly begins in the urethra with the entry of microorganisms, such as bacteria, which may travel up the urinary tract till the kidney. Often, the bladder is the breeding ground, where these microbes multiply. UTI occurs when the immune system fails to counter these bacteria. Depending on the part of the urinary system infected, the UTIs can be of following types:
- Cystitis– Infection of the urinary bladder
- Urethritis– Infection of the urethra
- Pyelonephritis– Infection of the kidneys
What are the causes of urinary tract infection (UTI)?
UTI may be caused due to infection of the urinary tract with microorganisms like Escherichia coli, bacteria from the gut etc. Some common factors that can lead to UTI include:
- Weak immune system in conditions such as patients on steroids, history of HIV etc.
- Developmental defects of the urinary tract
- Urinary tract blockages like kidney stones
- Frequent sexual intercourse and multiple partners
- History of frequent episodes of urinary tract infection
- Recent surgery
- Holding the urge to urinate for a long time
- Uncircumcision (the foreskin is attached to the upper part of the penis)
- Using contraceptive remedies such as spermicidal agents and diaphragms
What are the complications of urinary tract infection?
Urinary tract infections may lead to serious complications. Some of these include:
- Permanent damage to kidney
- Narrowing of the urethra (stricture)
- Repeated episodes of infection
- Risk of premature birth in pregnant women
- Sepsis i.e a life-threatening spread of infection in the whole body
How is urinary tract infection diagnosed?
Your physician/gynecologist/urologist may be able to diagnose UTI on the basis of:
- Medical history
- Physical examination
- – Urinalysis: For signs of infection (such as cloudiness) and other complications
- – Urine culture: For identification of the type of bacteria
- – Blood tests
- – Imaging tests:
- – Cystoscopy
- – CT/MRI
How is Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) treated?
Treatment of UTI is generally aimed to control symptoms and reduce/destroy the microbial load. Depending on the severity of the conditions, medications may be administered orally or intravenously. Hospitalization may be required in severe cases. The routine treatment of UTI consists of:
- Medication management- antibiotics, antipyretics for fever and analgesics for pain
- Hydration with fluids
- Treatment of underlying cause if any, like removal of kidney stones etc
What precautions can one take to prevent urinary tract infections?
Some measures that can help to prevent the infection include:
- Ensuring adequate fluid intake (7 to 8 glasses of water daily)
- Avoiding underwear made of synthetic materials like nylon
- Avoiding tight-fitting clothes
- Avoiding harsh toiletriesin the genital area; restrict only to plain, unperfumed, pH optimized products.
- Not holding the urge to urinate
- Maintaining personal hygiene and keeping the toilet clean
- Wiping thoroughly after using the toilet
To know more about urinary tract infections and treatment, you can request a callback and our urinary tract infections specialist will call you and answer all your queries.
- Mayo Clinic. Urinary Tract Infection (UTI). Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/urinary-tract-infection/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20353453. Assessed on 12 March 2018.
- National Health Service. Urinary Tract Infection (UTI). Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/urinary-tract-infections-utis/. Assessed on 12 March 2018.
- Harvard Health Publishing Harvard Medical School. Urinary Tract Infection in Men. Available at: https://www.health.harvard.edu/mens-health/urinary-tract-infection-in-men. Assessed on 12 March 2018.
- Young Men’s Health. Urinary Tract Infection (UTI). Available at: http://youngmenshealthsite.org/guides/urinary-tract-infection/. Assessed on 12 March 2018.