Urinary Tract Infection is an infection that can take place in any region of your urinary tract systems, such as the urethra, bladder, kidneys, and ureters. Most UTIs are caused by bacteria. However, others are as a result of fungi and, in other cases, viruses. There are different types of UTIs depending on the part of your urinary tract infected. These are:
- Cystitis (bladder) - Here, you might experience frequent urination or pain while urinating. You may also experience pain in your lower belly and bloody or cloudy urine.
- Pyelonephritis (kidneys) - It causes vomiting, nausea, and fever.
- Urethritis (urethra) - You may experience burning when urinating and discharge.
The most common types of UTIs affect the bladder and the urethra. However, the ureter and kidneys are rarely affected, although they are more severe.
What Causes a Urinary Tract Infection?
Doctors recommend women wipe themselves from front to back after visiting the toilet to prevent chances of getting UTI. The urethra and the anus are close to each other. The large intestines produce bacteria like E. coli, which can move from your anus to the urethra.
The bacteria can also move up to your bladder, and if the UTI is untreated, your kidneys can be infected too. Since women have shorter urethras than men, the bacteria move to the bladder easily. Women are more likely to get UTI during sexual intercourse. During sexual intercourse, pressure may occur on a woman’s urinary tract, and bacteria may move to the bladder from the anus. The body then gets rid of the bacteria after 24 hours. However, bacteria from the bowel have some characteristics that let them stay in the bladder. UTI is also caused by decreased levels of estrogen. Low estrogen levels interfere with the bacteria in the vagina, increasing the chances of getting UTI.
Most of the causes of UTI in men are similar to those of women. However, men with an enlarged prostate have a high risk of getting UTI.
Knowing the Signs of a UTI
Some signs are the same in both men and women. Sometimes, men experience rectal pain for the lower tract UTI, which involves the bladder and the urethra. Women may have pelvic pain with the lower tract UTI. Both men and women experience similar symptoms for the UTI that affects the ureter and the kidneys.
In most cases, the symptoms of UTI will depend on the type of UTI you have. Some of the common bladder and urethra UTIs include:
- Burning sensation with urination
- Frequent urination while passing little urine
- Pelvic pain in women
- Bloody urine
- Rectal pain in men
- Cloudy urine
- Strange smelling urine
For the kidneys and ureter, the symptoms are life-threatening. The bacteria move from the infected kidney to the blood. This condition may result in low blood pressure and even death. People may experience symptoms such as:
- Pain or tenderness in your upper back or the abdomen
Treating a Urinary Tract Infection
UTI is treated depending on its cause. Doctors first examine your urine sample to identify the organism causing the UTI then diagnose you. Most UTI infections are caused by bacteria that are treated with antibiotics. UTIs caused by viruses are treated with antivirals, while those caused by fungi are treated with antifungals.
However, the type of antibiotic used will depend on the urinary tract infected. Urethra and bladder UTIs are treated using oral antibiotics, while the ureter and kidneys UTIs with intravenous antibiotics.
Since bacteria may resist antibiotics, doctors mostly prescribe UTI patients with treatment that lasts for a short time. Your doctor may also use your urine test results to determine the antibiotic treatment that will work best for you. If you get UTI more than three times a year, you should ask your doctor for a treatment plan.
There are home remedies that you can practice. These remedies cannot cure UTI; instead, they boost your medication to give better results. They include:
- Drinking a lot of water
- Clean your genitals before sex
- Avoid feminine hygiene sprays and scented bath products
- Empty your bladder frequently and make sure you have emptied it completely