Urinary tract infection: Causes, symptoms, and prevention

We include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a humble commission. hera ’ s our action. urinary tract infections are caused by microbes such as bacteria overcoming the body ’ sulfur defenses in the urinary tract. They can affect the kidneys, bladder, and the tubes that run between them.

They are one of the most common types of contagion and account for around 8.1 million visits to a sophisticate every year. The urinary tract can be divided into the upper berth urinary tract and the lower urinary tract. The upper urinary tract consists of the kidneys and the ureters, and the lower urinary tract consists of the bladder and the urethra .


Woman speaking to doctor about urinary tract infection share on PinterestMany people will experience UTIs in their lifetime. The huge majority of urinary nerve pathway infections ( UTIs ) are caused by the bacteria Escherichia coli ( E. coli ), normally found in the digestive system. Chlamydia and mycoplasma bacteria can infect the urethra but not the bladder. UTIs are given different names depending on where they occur. For case :

  • A bladder infection is called cystitis.
  • A urethra infection is called urethritis.
  • A kidney infection is called pyelonephritis.

The ureters are very rarely the locate of infection .

Risk factors

Over 50 percentage of all women will experience at least one UTI during their life, with 20 to 30 percentage experiencing perennial UTIs. meaning women are not more likely to develop a UTI than other women, but if one does occur, it is more likely to travel up to the kidney. This is because changes in the body during pregnancy that affect the urinary tract. As a UTI in pregnancy can prove dangerous for both maternal and baby health, most pregnant women are tested for the presence of bacteria in their urine, even if there are no symptoms, and treated with antibiotics to prevent gap. People of any age and sex can develop a UTI. however, some people are more at risk than others. The follow factors can increase the likelihood of developing a UTI :

  • sexual intercourse, especially if more frequent, intense, and with multiple or new partners
  • diabetes
  • poor personal hygiene
  • problems emptying the bladder completely
  • having a urinary catheter
  • bowel incontinence
  • blocked flow of urine
  • kidney stones
  • some forms of contraception
  • pregnancy
  • menopause
  • procedures involving the urinary tract
  • suppressed immune system
  • immobility for a long period
  • use of spermicides and tampons
  • heavy use of antibiotics, which can disrupt the natural flora of the bowel and urinary tract


The symptoms of a UTI can depend on old age, gender, the bearing of a catheter, and what depart of the urinary tract has been infected. Common symptoms of a UTI include:

  • strong and frequent urge to urinate
  • cloudy, bloody, or strong-smelling urine
  • pain or a burning sensation when urinating
  • nausea and vomiting
  • muscle aches and abdominal pains

People with catheters may only experience fever as a symptom, making diagnosis more difficult. Acute pyelonephritis Acute pyelonephritis is a sudden and severe kidney infection. If an person develop this stipulate they could besides experience upper bet on and side pain, high fever, shaking, chills, fatigue, and mental changes. It is considered an emergency and should be evaluated by a repair immediately if suspected. Cystitis If a person has a bladder infection, they could besides experience low fever, and imperativeness and cramp in the abdomen and lower second .


Most UTIs are not good, but some can lead to good problems, particularly with amphetamine UTIs. perennial or durable kidney infections can cause permanent damage, and some sudden kidney infections can be dangerous, particularly if bacteria enter the bloodstream in a condition known as blood poisoning. They can besides increase the gamble of women delivering infants that are premature or have a humble birth weight .


share on PinterestTaking showers instead of baths can help prevent UTIs. There are several measures that can be taken to reduce the risk of developing a UTI :

  • Drink lots of water and urinate frequently.
  • Avoid fluids such as alcohol and caffeine that can irritate the bladder.
  • Urinate shortly after sex.
  • Wipe from front to back after urinating and bowel movement.
  • Keep the genital area clean.
  • Showers are preferred to baths and avoid using oils.
  • Sanitary pads or menstrual cups are preferred to tampons. If you want to buy menstrual cups, then there is an excellent selection on Amazon with thousands of customer reviews.
  • Avoid using a diaphragm or spermicide for birth control.
  • Avoid using any perfumed products in the genital area.
  • Wear cotton underwear and loose-fitting clothing to keep the area around the urethra dry.

Individuals are advised to contact a sophisticate if they develop the symptoms of a UTI, particularly if they have developed the symptoms of a likely kidney infection.


Diagnosis will normally be made after asking about the symptoms and testing a urine sample to assess the presence of white rake cells, crimson blood cells, and bacteria. A method of collecting urine called “ clean catch ” is used. This requires that a person wash their genital area before providing a urine sample mid-flow. This helps to prevent bacteria from around the genital area getting caught in the sample.

If a person has recurrent UTIs, a doctor may request further diagnostic testing to determine if anatomic issues or functional issues are to blame. such tests may include :

  • Diagnostic imaging: This involves assessing the urinary tract using ultrasound, CT and MRI scanning, radiation tracking, or X-rays.
  • Urodynamics: This procedure determines how well the urinary tract is storing and releasing urine.
  • Cystoscopy: This diagnostic exam allows the doctor to see inside the bladder and urethra with a camera lens, which inserted through the urethra through a long thin tube.

In men

UTIs in men are rare. The incidence for men under the historic period of 50 years is between 5 and 8 men in every 10,000. The risk of infection increases with age. When men contract a UTI, it will infect the like organs and areas as a UTI would in a womanhood. For men, however, the prostate is besides at risk of infection. A serviceman with a circumcise penis is less likely to get a UTI that a serviceman who has not undergo circumcision. discussion methods would be exchangeable to those used to treat UTIs in women.


parcel on PinterestDrinking plenty of water helps flush out UTIs and lowers the risk of future infection. As UTIs are normally caused by bacteria, they are most normally treated with antibiotics or antimicrobials. The type of medication and length of treatment will depend on the symptoms and medical history of the individual. The full naturally of discussion should always be completed for UTIs to make sure that the infection is amply clear, and to reduce the risk of antibiotic electric resistance. UTI symptoms can disappear before the infection has completely gone. Drinking lots of fluids and frequently urinating are always recommended for people who have UTIs as this helps to flush out the bacteria. A kind of pain respite medications may be prescribed to alleviate pain. Applying a heating system launching pad to the back or abdomen can besides help. An uncomplicated UTI is one that occurs in an otherwise goodly person with a normal clear urinary tract. These can normally be cured with 2 to 3 days of treatment. A complicated UTI is one that occurs in a person who is weakened by another stipulate, such as pregnancy or heart transplant. Complicated UTIs tend to require longer periods of antibiotics, normally between 7 to 14 days. To cure a UTI that is caused by problems within the urinary organization, the implicit in return needs to be found and corrected. If left untreated, these infections can lead to kidney price. If the person is badly ill, they may need to be admitted to a hospital to ensure that they take in sufficient fluids and receive the right medicine. People may besides need to go to the hospital if they are one of the comply :

  • pregnant and are otherwise ill
  • older adults
  • people with cancer, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, or other medical problems
  • individuals with kidney stones or other changes in their urinary tract
  • recovering from recent urinary tract surgery

Recurrent infections in women

Women who have recurrent bladder infections may be advised to :

  • Take a single dose of an antibiotic after sexual contact
  • Take a single, daily dose of an antibiotic for at least 6 months
  • Take a 2-to-3-day course of an antibiotic if symptoms reappear
  • Undergo vaginal estrogen therapy if they have already had menopause

Home remedies

There are a total of hint remedies that people with a UTI can try at home. Drinking fluids and urinating frequently can help flush bacteria from the soundbox, and using a heat pad for short periods can help to relieve discomfort. It is besides much said that cranberries and their extracts could treat UTI. Cranberry extracts do not help treat existing UTIs but may help prevent their development. This is because cranberries contain compounds called proanthocyanidins that prevent E. coli from sticking to the walls of the digestive and urinary tracts. In a large meta-analysis, researchers found that women with perennial UTIs who took cranberry over 12 months had a 35 percentage reduction in infections. Another large clinical test found that 500 milligrams ( magnesium ) of cranberry extract taken daily for 6 months reduced the rate of UTI to the same extent as 100 milligram of trimethoprim, an antibiotic, without posing a hazard of antimicrobial immunity or super-infection in women with perennial UTIs. Cranberry extract tablets appear to be twice deoxyadenosine monophosphate effective as cranberry juice for preventing UTIs, which may be due in separate to the boodle message of cranberry juice. Cranberry extracts besides contain anthocyanins and salicylic acerb. This may have a painkilling and anti-inflammatory impression that can help alleviate UTI symptoms. The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada recommend cranberry products to prevent perennial UTIs, but not for consumption in active UTIs. Cranberry excerpt tablets are available to purchase on-line. Speaking to a doctor is recommended, to determine the suitability of these tablets. Changes in the bacterial libra of the genitourinary tract can increase the likelihood of colonization by organisms such as E. coli. regular use of probiotics may help reduce the gamble of UTIs, specially after a course of antibiotics. Probiotics are available on-line as food products, such as yogurts, and supplements.

In particular, Bifidobacterium longum has shown an ability to prevent undesirable bacteria sticking to the walls of the intestinal tract, in accession to enhancing production of natural antibacterial chemicals and organic acids, thereby reducing the likelihood of UTI. Read the article in spanish

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