Urinary Tract Infection

Overview

The urinary system filters the blood, and urine is formed from wastes and excess water in the body.

Kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra work together and make up the urinary system.  When an infection occurs in any of the urethra, bladder, ureters, and kidneys it is referred to as urinary tract infection (UTI).

Urinary tract infection causes are bacteria, fungi, or virus that affects one or any organ in the urinary system. Most cases, this is caused by bacteria, and virus rarely causes the infection. Urinary tract infection commonly affects the urethra and bladder- lower urinary tract infection. Rarely, the infection goes up to the ureters and kidneys. Infection that affects the bladder is called cystitis and infection that affects the urethra is called urethritis.

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Signs And Symptoms

A person with urinary tract infection can experience any of these:

  • Burning sensation while urination
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Presence of blood in the urine (hematuria)
  • Flank pain

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Risk factors for UTI

  • Obstruction in the urinary system: such as prostate enlargement, tumors, kidney stones
  • Age: as a person ages, the immune system declines so the body’s defences against foreign body declines as well
  • Female anatomy: more prevalent in women because anatomically they have a shorter urethra, bacteria can easily reach the bladder
  • Immobility: due to post-surgery, bedridden individuals, prolonged bed rest
  • History of urinary tract infection
  • Frequent or prolonged use of foley catheter
  • Congenital defects of the urinary system
  • Pregnancy
  • Frequent sexual intercourse and with multiple sex partners

Preventions

The best treatment for urinary tract infection is prevention. There are several ways on how an individual prevent from having UTIs, such as:

  • Drink lots of water, at least 2 liters per day.
  • Do not hold urine, empty your bladder as soon as you feel the urge to urinate.
  • For females, wipe from front to back to prevent bacteria from the anus to reach the urethral meatus.
  • Take showers instead of tub baths.
  • Before having sexual intercourse, couples must wash their genitals.
  • Urinate after sexual intercourse, especially to women, to flush out bacteria that may have entered the urethra.
  • Use cotton underwear and comfortable clothes to keep the body fresh and dry.
  • Replace diaphragm and spermicides with other birth control methods.

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