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UTI : Meaning, Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

What is UTI? Meaning, Causes, Symptoms, Pain, Types, Complications, Diagnosis, Treatment and Home remedies of UTI.

What is UTI?

UTI is short name of urinary tract infection.

UTI occurs when microbes get into any part of the urinary tract, i.e. the kidneys, ureters, bladder, or urethra.

Commonly urinary tract infection (UTI) occurs mainly in the urethra (urethritis) and bladder (cystitis) i.e. the lower urinary tract. In severe and rare cases, however, urinary tract infection can also occur in the upper urinary tract. Infection in the upper urinary tract typically affects the kidneys (pyelonephritis) and at times the ureters.

Most of the urinary tract infection (UTIs) are caused by bacteria and some are caused by fungi or viruses.

UTI occurs much more frequently in women than in men. The ratio is about 8:1. It means that for every eight women who have UTIs, only one man does.


What are the causes & risk factors of UTI?

UTI occurs when microbes (bacteria, fungi, viruses) enter the urinary tract and start multiplying in the bladder. The risk factors are…

  • Doing sex with an infected partner
  • Constipation– It does not allow the bladder to be completely empty and thus giving time to the trapped bacteria to grow
  • Diabetes- Excess amount of sugar is removed through urine making the environment favorable for bacterial overgrowth
  • Holding urine for more than 5 to 6 hours which gives time for the bacteria to grow
  • Dehydration- since the body is not getting enough water to flush the bacteria out of body
  • Using dirty sanitary pads
  • Using tampons during menstruation
  • Kidney stones- It can block the urinary tract and stop the urine from flowing out giving plenty of time to the bacteria to grow

What are the types of UTI?

The different types of UTI can include:


What are the symptoms of UTI?

Urinary tract infection can have specific symptoms depending on which area of the urinary tract has been infected:

Kidneys: Acute pyelonephritis

  • High Fever
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Frequent Urination
  • Painful urination
  • Chills accompanied by trembling
  • Upper back and side pain

Bladder: cystitis

  • Blood in urine
  • Burning sensation while urination
  • Frequent Urination
  • Pain in lower back and abdomen
  • Pain during sex

UTI - Urinary track infection in bladder - cystitis - medisease

Urethra: urethritis

  • Burning sensation while urination
  • Discharge from the urethral opening or vagina
  • Frequent need to urinate
  • Difficulty starting urination
  • Blood in semen or urine in men
  • Pain during sex
  • Itching
  • Pain while urinating

UTI Symptoms in Men

UTI in male / female

Symptoms of an upper tract UTIs in men are similar to those in women. Symptoms of a lower tract UTIs in men sometimes include rectal pain in addition to the common symptoms shared by both men and women.

UTI Symptoms in Women

Women having a lower tract urinary infection may experience pelvic pain. This is in addition symptom to the other common symptoms. Symptoms of upper tract infections among both men and women are same.


Diagnosis of UTI

If you experience any of the above symptoms repeatedly you need to visit a general practitioner. Based on the seriousness of the symptoms the general practitioner may refer you to a urologist or a nephrologist for evaluation.

The tests and procedures used to diagnose UTI include:

  • Urine test: Analyzing the urine sample in a lab
  • Urine culture: Growing urinary tract bacteria in a lab to find out what kind of bacteria are causing the infection
  • Ultrasound
  • CT scan
  • MRI
  • Cystoscopy

What are the complications of UTI?

Complications of Urinary tract infection (UTI) are not common but can be serious when they occur. This can include:

  • Prostatitis in men: inflammation/swelling of the prostate gland
  • Kidney infection is known as pyelonephritis, when bacteria travel from the bladder to the kidneys)
  • Kidney failure (when kidney stones block the urine flow)
  • Blood poisoning: It is when bacteria spread from the kidneys into the bloodstream and then cause the infection to spread to any part of the body including major organs

What is the treatment for UTI?

The treatment and length of treatment of Urinary tract infection (UTIs) depend on the type of microbe causing the UTI, the severity of your condition, and your overall health condition (for example, if you have other health conditions such as diabetes etc.).

The doctor can prescribe antibiotics and in cases of severe UTIs, the doctor can suggest hospitalization to administer intravenous antibiotics.


What is Chronic UTIs?

Most UTIs can go away after treatment. Chronic UTI either don’t go away even after treatment or keep recurring. Recurrent UTIs are more common among women.

Most cases of recurrent UTIs are from reinfection with the same type of bacteria. But, some recurrent cases don’t necessarily involve the same type of bacteria. Instead, an abnormality in the structure of the urinary tract increases the risk of UTIs.


Home remedies for a UTI

There are no proper home remedies that can cure a UTI completely, but there are some things that you can do to help your medication work better.

These home remedies for urinary track infection may help your body clear the infection faster.

Cranberry juice or cranberries

It can’t treat a UTI once it’s started. But, a chemical in cranberries can help prevent certain types of bacteria that can cause a bacterial UTI from attaching to the lining of your bladder. This is helpful in preventing future UTIs.


UTI prevention

You can take the following steps to help prevent UTIs:

  • Drink 6 to 8 glasses of water daily.
  • Don’t hold urine for a long time.
  • Discuss to your doctor about managing any urinary incontinence and difficulties fully emptying your bladder.

However, some steps may help prevent UTIs in women.

  • For postmenopausal women, using topical estrogen prescribed by your doctor can make a positive difference in preventing UTIs.
  • Taking daily cranberry supplements or using vaginal probiotics, like lactobacillus, can also help in the prevention of UTIs.
  • Certain studies suggest that using probiotic vaginal suppositories may decrease the occurrence and recurrence of UTIs, by changing the bacteria found in the vagina.

UTIs during pregnancy

Pregnant women having symptoms of a UTI should see their doctor right away. UTIs during pregnancy may cause high blood pressure and premature delivery. Urinary track infection during pregnancy is also more likely to spread to the kidneys.


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