Urinary Tract Infections
What is urinary tract infection?
A urinary tract infection is the infection of the urinary system, which contain the kidneys, ureters, bladder, prostate (in men) and urethra. Urinary tract infections develop when bacteria develop in the urinary system. Lower urinary tract infection or cystitis is bacterial infection that is confined only to the bladder and urethra, while upper urinary tract infection or pyelonephritis is a bacterial infection of the kidneys. For women, the risk of having a UTI is greater than men. This is probably because of a shorter urethra, so it is easier for the bacteria to move up to bladder.
What causes urinary tract infection?
Normal urine includes no germs. Germs can get into the urine and the urinary tract from the skin around the rectum and genitals by travelling up the urethra into the bladder and finally to the kidneys through the ureters. Bacteria are more likely to get into the urinary tract following sexual intercourse, use of a diaphragm for birth control or after menopause.
What are the risk factors that could predispose you to UTI?
The following risk factors enlarge the likelihood of having a urinary tract infection:
•Having urinary tract abnormalities that block the flow of urine
•Surgical procedures involving urinary tract
What are the common symptoms of UTI?
If you have a cystitis or bladder infection, you may experience an extreme urge to pass urine, pain or burning sensation when urinating, and urine may look cloudy, bloody or have a foul smell. If you have pyelonephritis or kidney infection you may have fever with chills, flushed, reddened skin, pain in the back, nausea and vomiting.
How does your doctor diagnose UTI?
Your doctor will ask you about your indication and order the following tests if a UTI is suspected:
•Urine test: A sample of urine is collect and analyzed in the laboratory to determine if pus, red blood cells or bacteria are present.
•Ultrasound scan: An ultrasound scan is a non-invasive, painless scan performed to view abnormality in your urinary tract, such as obstruction of the ureters or bladder, bladder stone or kidney stone.
•Di-mercaptosuccinic acid (DMSA) scan: This is a scan that is utilize to assess the function of the kidney. During this procedure, DMSA is injected into your body and a series of pictures of your kidneys are taken with a gamma camera.
•Micturatingcystourethrogram (MCUG): This test is utilize to study the bladder and check for vesico-ureteral reflux. A contrast agent is injected into the bladder through a catheter and X-ray images will be taken as the contrast agent passes out of your bladder. If the X-ray film shows that the contrast agent is leaking back up the ureters to the kidneys from the bladder then vesico-ureteral reflux is diagnosed.Antibiotics are generally used to manage urinary tract infections. Depending on the type of infection present antibiotic therapy may be given either by mouth, IV or both. Your doctor may also prescribe medications to relieve burning pain and urge to urinate. Surgery may be required if anatomical abnormalities in the urinary tract are causing UTI.