Urinary tract infection (UTI)

OTHER  NAMES: Acute cystitis or Bladder infection,

A urinary tract infection (UTI), is an infection that affects part of the urinary tract.(kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra.) Most infections involve the lower urinary tract — the bladder and the urethra.When it affects the lower urinary tract it is known as a simple cystitis (a bladder infection) and when it affects the upper urinary tract it is known as pyelonephritis (a kidney infection). …..CLICK & SEE… :Female urinary system .……. Male urinary system 

Women are at greater risk of developing a UTI than men are. Infection limited to your bladder can be painful and annoying. However, serious consequences can occur if a UTI spreads to kidneys.


Doctors typically treat urinary tract infections with antibiotics. But you can take steps to reduce your chances of getting a UTI in the first place.

Urinary tract infections don’t always cause signs and symptoms, but when they do they may include:

*A strong, persistent urge to urinate
*A burning sensation when urinating
*Passing frequent, small amounts of urine
*Urine that appears cloudy
*Urine that appears red, bright pink or cola-colored — a sign of blood in the urine
*Strong-smelling urine
*Pelvic pain, in women — especially in the center of the pelvis and around the area of the pubic bone

UTIs may be overlooked or mistaken for other conditions in older adults.

Types of urinary tract infection:

Each type of UTI may result in more-specific signs and symptoms, depending on which part of your urinary tract is infected.

These symptoms may vary from mild to severe and in healthy persons last an average of six days.

KIDNEYS (acute pyelonephritis):...CLICK & SEE
*Upper back and side (flank) pain
*High fever
*Shaking and chills

BLADDER (cystitis): ….CLICK & SEE
*Pelvic pressure
*Lower abdomen discomfort (Some pain above the pubic bone or in the lower back may be present.)
*Frequent, painful urination
*Blood in urine (Rarely the urine may appear bloody  or contain visible pus in the urine.)

URETHRA (urethritis): …….CLICK & SEE
:Burning with urination

In young children, the only symptom of a urinary tract infection (UTI) may be a fever. Because of the lack of more obvious symptoms, when females under the age of two or uncircumcised males less than a year exhibit a fever, a culture of the urine is recommended by many medical associations. Infants may feed poorly, vomit, sleep more, or show signs of jaundice. In older children, new onset urinary incontinence (loss of bladder control) may occur.

Urinary tract symptoms are frequently lacking in the elderly. The presentations may be vague with incontinence, a change in mental status, or fatigue as the only symptoms, while some present to a health care provider with sepsis, an infection of the blood, as the first symptoms. Diagnosis can be complicated by the fact that many elderly people have preexisting incontinence or dementia.

It is reasonable to obtain a urine culture in those with signs of systemic infection that may be unable to report urinary symptoms, such as when advanced dementia is present. Systemic signs of infection include a fever or increase in temperature of more than 1.1 °C (2.0 °F) from usual, chills, and an increase white blood cell count.

Urinary tract infections typically occur when bacteria enter the urinary tract through the urethra and begin to multiply in the bladder. Although the urinary system is designed to keep out such microscopic invaders, these defenses sometimes fail. When that happens, bacteria may take hold and grow into a full-blown infection in the urinary tract.

The most common UTIs occur mainly in women and affect the bladder and urethra.

E. coli is the cause of 80–85% of community-acquired urinary tract infections, with Staphylococcus saprophyticus being the cause in 5–10%. Rarely they may be due to viral or fungal infections. Healthcare-associated urinary tract infections (mostly related to urinary catheterization) involve a much broader range of pathogens including: E. coli (27%), Klebsiella (11%), Pseudomonas (11%), the fungal pathogen Candida albicans (9%), and Enterococcus (7%) among others. Urinary tract infections due to Staphylococcus aureus typically occur secondary to blood-borne infections. Chlamydia trachomatis and Mycoplasma genitalium can infect the urethra but not the bladder. These infections are usually classified as a urethritis rather than urinary tract infection

In young sexually active women, sexual activity is the cause of 75–90% of bladder infections, with the risk of infection related to the frequency of sex. The term “honeymoon cystitis” has been applied to this phenomenon of frequent UTIs during early marriage. In post-menopausal women, sexual activity does not affect the risk of developing a UTI. Spermicide use, independent of sexual frequency, increases the risk of UTIs. Diaphragm use is also associated. Condom use without spermicide or use of birth control pills does not increase the risk of uncomplicated urinary tract infection.

Women are more prone to UTIs than men because, in females, the urethra is much shorter and closer to the anus. As a woman’s estrogen levels decrease with menopause, her risk of urinary tract infections increases due to the loss of protective vaginal flora. Additionally, vaginal atrophy that can sometimes occur after menopause is associated with recurrent urinary tract infections.

Chronic prostatitis may cause recurrent urinary tract infections in males. Risk of infections increases as males age. While bacteria is commonly present in the urine of older males this does not appear to affect the risk of urinary tract infections.

Urinary catheters:
Urinary catheterization increases the risk for urinary tract infections. The risk of bacteriuria (bacteria in the urine) is between three to six percent per day and prophylactic antibiotics are not effective in decreasing symptomatic infections. The risk of an associated infection can be decreased by catheterizing only when necessary, using aseptic technique for insertion, and maintaining unobstructed closed drainage of the catheter.

Male scuba divers utilizing condom catheters or the female divers utilizing external catching device for their dry suits are also susceptible to urinary tract infections.

A predisposition for bladder infections may run in families. Other risk factors include diabetes, being uncircumcised, and having a large prostate. Complicating factors are rather vague and include predisposing anatomic, functional, or metabolic abnormalities. In children UTIs are associated with vesicoureteral reflux (an abnormal movement of urine from the bladder into ureters or kidneys) and constipation.

Persons with spinal cord injury are at increased risk for urinary tract infection in part because of chronic use of catheter, and in part because of voiding dysfunction. It is the most common cause of infection in this population, as well as the most common cause of hospitalization. Additionally, use of cranberry juice or cranberry supplement appears to be ineffective in prevention and treatment in this population.

The bacteria that cause urinary tract infections typically enter the bladder via the urethra. However, infection may also occur via the blood or lymph. It is believed that the bacteria are usually transmitted to the urethra from the bowel, with females at greater risk due to their anatomy. After gaining entry to the bladder, E. Coli are able to attach to the bladder wall and form a biofilm that resists the body’s immune response.

*Urinary tract abnormalities. Babies born with urinary tract abnormalities that don’t allow urine to leave the body normally or cause urine to back up in the urethra have an increased risk of UTIs.

*Blockages in the urinary tract. Kidney stones or an enlarged prostate can trap urine in the bladder and increase the risk of UTIs.
A suppressed immune system. Diabetes and other diseases that impair the immune system — the body’s defense against germs — can increase the risk of UTIs.

*Catheter use. People who can’t urinate on their own and use a tube (catheter) to urinate have an increased risk of UTIs. This may include people who are hospitalized, people with neurological problems that make it difficult to control their ability to urinate and people who are paralyzed.

*A recent urinary procedure. Urinary surgery or an exam of your urinary tract that involves medical instruments can both increase your risk of developing a urinary tract infection.
When treated promptly and properly, lower urinary tract infections rarely lead to complications. But left untreated, a urinary tract infection can have serious consequences.

Complications of a UTI are as follows::

*Recurrent infections, especially in women who experience three or more UTIs.
*Permanent kidney damage from an acute or chronic kidney infection (pyelonephritis) due to an untreated UTI.
*Increased risk in pregnant women of delivering low birth weight or premature infants.
*Urethral narrowing (stricture) in men from recurrent urethritis, previously seen with gonococcal urethritis.
*Sepsis, a potentially life-threatening complication of an infection, especially if the infection works its way up to urinary tract to the kidneys.

In straightforward cases, a diagnosis may be made and treatment given based on symptoms alone without further laboratory confirmation. In complicated or questionable cases, it may be useful to confirm the diagnosis via urinalysis, looking for the presence of urinary nitrites, white blood cells (leukocytes), or leukocyte esterase. Another test, urine microscopy, looks for the presence of red blood cells, white blood cells, or bacteria. Urine culture is deemed positive if it shows a bacterial colony count of greater than or equal to 103 colony-forming units per mL of a typical urinary tract organism. Antibiotic sensitivity can also be tested with these cultures, making them useful in the selection of antibiotic treatment. However, women with negative cultures may still improve with antibiotic treatment. As symptoms can be vague and without reliable tests for urinary tract infections, diagnosis can be difficult in the elderly.

A urinary tract infection may involve only the lower urinary tract, in which case it is known as a bladder infection. Alternatively, it may involve the upper urinary tract, in which case it is known as pyelonephritis. If the urine contains significant bacteria but there are no symptoms, the condition is known as asymptomatic bacteriuria. If a urinary tract infection involves the upper tract, and the person has diabetes mellitus, is pregnant, is male, or immunocompromised, it is considered complicated. Otherwise if a woman is healthy and premenopausal it is considered uncomplicated. In children when a urinary tract infection is associated with a fever, it is deemed to be an upper urinary tract infection.

To make the diagnosis of a urinary tract infection in children, a positive urinary culture is required. Contamination poses a frequent challenge depending on the method of collection used, thus a cutoff of 105 CFU/mL is used for a “clean-catch” mid stream sample, 104 CFU/mL is used for catheter-obtained specimens, and 102 CFU/mL is used for suprapubic aspirations (a sample drawn directly from the bladder with a needle). The use of “urine bags” to collect samples is discouraged by the World Health Organization due to the high rate of contamination when cultured, and catheterization is preferred in those not toilet trained. Some, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends renal ultrasound and voiding cystourethrogram (watching a person’s urethra and urinary bladder with real time x-rays while they urinate) in all children less than two years old who have had a urinary tract infection. However, because there is a lack of effective treatment if problems are found, others such as the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence only recommends routine imaging in those less than six months old or who have unusual findings.

Differential diagnosis:
In women with cervicitis (inflammation of the cervix) or vaginitis (inflammation of the vagina) and in young men with UTI symptoms, a Chlamydia trachomatis or Neisseria gonorrheae infection may be the cause. These infections are typically classified as a urethritis rather than a urinary tract infection. Vaginitis may also be due to a yeast infection. Interstitial cystitis (chronic pain in the bladder) may be considered for people who experience multiple episodes of UTI symptoms but urine cultures remain negative and not improved with antibiotics. Prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate) may also be considered in the differential diagnosis.

Hemorrhagic cystitis, characterized by blood in the urine, can occur secondary to a number of causes including: infections, radiation therapy, underlying cancer, medications and toxins. Medications that commonly cause this problem include the chemotherapeutic agent cyclophosphamide with rates of 2 to 40%. Eosinophilic cystitis is a rare condition where eosinophiles are present in the bladder wall. Signs and symptoms are similar to a bladder infection. Its cause is not entirely clear; however, it may be linked to food allergies, infections, and medications among others.

For those with recurrent infections, taking a short course of antibiotics when each infection occurs is associated with the lowest antibiotic use. A prolonged course of daily antibiotics is also effective. Medications frequently used include nitrofurantoin and trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole (TMP/SMX). Methenamine is another agent used for this purpose as in the bladder where the acidity is low it produces formaldehyde to which resistance does not develop. Some recommend against prolonged use due to concerns of antibiotic resistance.

In cases where infections are related to intercourse, taking antibiotics afterwards may be useful. In post-menopausal women, topical vaginal estrogen has been found to reduce recurrence. As opposed to topical creams, the use of vaginal estrogen from pessaries has not been as useful as low dose antibiotics. Antibiotics following short term urinary catheterization decreases the subsequent risk of a bladder infection. A number of vaccines are in development as of 2011.

The evidence that preventative antibiotics decrease urinary tract infections in children is poor. However recurrent UTIs are a rare cause of further kidney problems if there are no underlying abnormalities of the kidneys, resulting in less than a third of a percent (0.33%) of chronic kidney disease in adults. Whether routine circumcisions prevents UTIs has not been well studied as of 2011.

Alternative medicine:
Some research suggests that cranberry (juice or capsules) may decrease the number of UTIs in those with frequent infections. A Cochrane review concluded that the benefit, if it exists, is small. Long-term tolerance is also an issue with gastrointestinal upset occurring in more than 30%. Cranberry juice is thus not currently recommended for this indication. As of 2011, intravaginal probiotics require further study to determine if they are beneficial.

Lifestyle and home remedies:

Urinary tract infections can be painful, but you can take steps to ease your discomfort until antibiotics treat the infection.
The following tips should be followed:

*Drink plenty of water. Water helps to dilute your urine and flush out bacteria.

*Avoid drinks that may irritate the bladder. Avoid coffee, alcohol, and soft drinks containing citrus juices or caffeine until your infection has cleared. They can irritate the bladder and tend to aggravate frequent or urgent need to urinate.

*Use a heating pad. Apply a warm, but not hot, heating pad to your abdomen to minimize bladder pressure or discomfort.
The following steps can be taken to reduce the risk of urinary tract infections:

*Drink plenty of liquids, especially water. Drinking water helps dilute your urine and ensures that you’ll urinate more frequently — allowing bacteria to be flushed from your urinary tract before an infection can begin.

*Drink cranberry juice. Although studies are not conclusive that cranberry juice prevents UTIs, it is likely not harmful.

*Wash  or  Wipe properly   from front to back. Doing so after urinating and after a bowel movement helps prevent bacteria in the anal region from spreading to the vagina and urethra.

*Empty the bladder soon after intercourse. Also, drink a full glass of water to help flush bacteria.

*Avoid potentially irritating feminine products. Using deodorant sprays or other feminine products, such as douches and powders, in the genital area can irritate the urethra.

*Change the birth control method. Diaphragms, or unlubricated or spermicide-treated condoms, can all contribute to bacterial growth.

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.


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