Urinary tract infections are a serious problem that affect millions of people everyday but especially women. Even at their best they can ruin an entire day and leave you in pain and discomfort for hours. Here is some urinary tract infection information so you can know if you have one and how to treat it.
Urinary Tract infections (UTIs)
When a certain pathogen infects any part of the urinary system (kidneys, ureters, urinary bladder or urethra) it is called as urinary tract infection. It is mainly named according to the part of the urinary system being affected.
Types of UTIs
In case the kidney is invaded it is called acute pyelonephritis. If the notorious pathogen attacks urinary bladder is named as cystitis. If the site of infection is urethra is classified as urethritis. Urinary tract infection is basically a bacterial infection in which Escherichia coli takes the main lead. This pathogen enters through the urethra and replicates in the bladder. From here it takes its way to other parts of the urinary system.
This infection is common in sexually active females. In females as the urethra is close to the cervix (opening of the uterus) the sexually spreading diseases can also cause this infection. Women are more exposed to this infection after menopause (cessation of the menstrual cycle).
Use of catheters (a hollow tube used to manage urinary incontinence) and other prosthetic devices are more prone to this infection. Pathogens like Escherichia coli are the main cause. Moreover, poor hygienic measures also cause such infections.
The most prominent symptoms are pelvic pain, urine with a strong smell, burning micturition (urination) and dark colored urine. Pain associated with urination is the most common symptom of urinary tract infection. The patient has a strong urge to urinate again and again. Sometimes inflammation is seen on the urethra indicating the severity of the infection. Hematuria (blood in urine) is also a prominent manifestation of urinary tract infection. As it is bacterial infection it causes pyrexia (fever) and chills in most cases.
Diagnosis and treatment
Recurrence of infection is the main feature. The bacteria attack again and again to cause frequent episodes of infections. The diagnosis of urinary tract infection involves the urine culture test. In this process, the urine sample is given to find out which bacteria are responsible for the disease. In most of the cases, more than one pathogen is involved in causing the infection. Anti-biotics are generally prescribed after the diagnosis of the UTI however there are alternatives. As antibitoics wipe out all the bad and good bacteria, you loose a lot of your own defense for a few months, making you prone to a recurrent UTI soon after treatment.
D-mannose is an alternative to antibiotics that helps flush out the infection over 1-2 days. D-mannose is the active ingredient in cranberry and works great for early UTIs localized in the bladder and urinary tract.
Chronic urinary tract infections are mainly common in women with multiple pregnancies. Other risk factors are diabetes, kidney stones, and stroke.
Urinary tract infections can be prevented by taking certain hygienic measures. Therefore, they are listed as:
Drink lots of water
Urinate as soon as you get the urge to do so.
Avoid synthetic products like sprays or douches
Use sterilized products for birth control
Take a good care of hygiene of your genitalia
Try to keep the genitalia dry
According to American Urological Association, about 40-50 % women have Urinary tract infection once in their lives. Moreover, it is estimated that by 2050 this percentage will increase by 55 %. Awareness seminars and lectures should be conducted on every level in order to reduce this public level of infection. Moreover, if this infection is left untreated it may spread to both kidneys causing kidney failure. It can also prove fatal in some cases depending upon the growth of bacteria.