One of the most important parts of the human body is the urinary tract. This section of the body is solely responsible for releasing urine from the body. There are different body parts such as the kidneys, bladder and ureters, that allow the urinary tract to do its job. The urinary tract not only gets rid of unwanted waste, but it also keeps the bones healthy, makes red blood cells and stabilizes the electrolyte levels. The amount of urine that a person produces depends on their age, chronic illness, food consumption and water intake. Most people have contracted a urine tract infection at least once in their lifetime. For the most part, UTI’s are not serious and can be taken care of easily. If you suspect you may have a UTI, do not hesitate to visit the doctor as there are different types of UTI. UTI’s can lead to serious health issues if not treated.
Symptoms And Risks
Most people who suffer from a urinary tract infection (UTI) become infected through bacteria. It should be stated that at least 50% of the female population have or have had a UTI. The common risk factors of a person with a UTI are:
- Family history
- Medical history
- Sexual intercourse
- Poor hygiene
- Chronic illness
- Sexual transmitted disease or infections (STD or STI)
- Urinary catheter
- Female anatomy
The most common signs or symptoms of a UTI are:
- Pain when urinating
- Strong smelling urine
- Muscle and abdominal pain
- Frequent need to urinate
- Feeling the need to urinate (on an empty bladder)
- Cloudy urine
- Burning sensation when urinating
Types of UTI
The three most common types of UTI are:
- Bladder infection: Acute pyelonephritis causes high fever, shaking and upper flank pain. A bladder infection or cystitis is the most common form of UTI. Bacteria that is trapped in the urethra can cause an infection. This type of infection can occur when parts of fecal matter has made its way through the urethra, causing a bacterial infection to grow. This is more common for women than men because the stool can travel from the anus to the female genital area more easily than to the male genital area.
- Kidney infection: For people who notice blood in their urine and pain during urination, they could be suffering from a kidney infection. When a normal UTI begins to travel to the bladder and work its way up the kidney(s), then this infection is formed. This form of infection can lead to kidney damage or failure if not treated properly.
- Urethra infection: Discharge and a burning sensation when urinating are the most common symptoms of urethritis. E. coli and other bacteria can make its way up the urethra and cause an infection. This type of UTI infection is commonly linked to sexually transmitted infections and diseases.
Diagnosis And Treatment
Most types of UTI can be diagnosed with a physical examination and a urine test. For those who constantly suffer from UTI’s, doctors may take a further look into your body’s health. There are test such as the ones below that can help confirm a UTI or other issues.
- Computerized tomography scan (CT)
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
Treatment for UTI’s are usually done via antibiotics. For a normal UTI, symptoms should clear up in a day or two with the proper medication. A normal UTI should be cured within 3-4 days with antibiotics. If a UTI is more complicated, symptoms and the infection should clear up within 2 weeks. Hospitalization may be necessary for those who have a kidney infection.
Many people, especially women, are prone to developing frequent UTI’s. Below are some tips to help prevent UTI’s from occurring or reoccurring.
- Drink lots of water
- Do not hold in your urine
- Wear cotton underwear
- Decrease the use of tampons
- Always clean the genital area
- Urinate after sexual intercourse
- Wipe from front to back, never back to front *especially after bowel movement*