Urinary Tract Infections (UTI)
An infection in any part of the urinary tract or system – kidneys, ureters, urinary bladder or urethra is termed as urinary tract infection. Urine is formed in the kidneys by filtering blood and it travels down the two ureters to the urinary bladder where urine is stored, until it is emptied by urinating through the urethra. Urinary tract infections occur when bacteria enters the urethra and infects the urinary tract. It can affect any part of the urinary system but the most common one is bladder infection or cystitis. Other types of urinary tract infections are pyelonephritis (kidney infection) and urethritis (infections in urethra).
Urinary tract infection is caused when bacteria, mostly E.coli bacteria enters the urinary tract. The possible ways are:
- Poor hygiene
- Sexual activity
- Menopause in women
- Structural problems
- Certain birth control measures
- Weak immune system
- Pain in lower abdomen and lower back
- Pain while urinating
- Frequent urination
- Losing bladder control and leaking urine
- Smelly and cloudy urine
- Blood in urine
- Fever and chills
- Nausea and vomiting
Diagnostic procedures for urinary tract infections include:
- Review of signs and symptoms
- Physical examination
- Urine analysis
- Imaging procedures
- CT – computerised tomography
- MRI – magnetic resonance imaging
- Stay hydrated (drink plenty of water)
- Urinate regularly
- Urinate after sexual activity
- Avoid use of sprays and powders in genital area
- Maintain good hygiene
- Do not hold in urine when you feel the urge.
- Antibiotics are the major treatment option for urinary tract infections. It depends on the type of bacteria that has entered your urinary tract, your health condition and the severity of infection.
- Pain relievers may be prescribed for reducing the pain.
- Complete course of antibiotics should be taken as prescribed by your doctor.
- Intravenous antibiotic treatment (injected into veins) may be recommended if the condition is severe.
- Hormone therapy such as vaginal estrogen therapy may be recommended for women after menopause.
- Home remedies to reduce pain and irritation include:
- Drink plenty of water
- Use heating pads or hot bags
- Clean genital areas with lukewarm water
- Avoid drinks that increases the discomfort
Urinary tract infections, if not treated earlier and properly, may spread to the bloodstream and can cause other serious conditions.
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