Dr. Sohail Hashmi ( consultant urologist.) A urinary tract infection is an infection involving the kidneys, bladder, or urethra. These are the structures that urine passes through before being eliminated from the body. A urinary tract infection, or UTI, is an infection that can happen anywhere along the urinary tract. Urinary tract infections have different names, depending on what part of the urinary tract is infected.
What is a urinary tract infection?
Ans: Your urinary tract is the system that makes urine and carries it out of your body. It includes your bladder and kidneys and the tubes that connect them. When germs get into this system, they can cause an infection. Most urinary tract infections are bladder infections. A bladder infection usually is not serious if it is treated right away. If you do not take care of a bladder infection, it can spread to your kidneys. A kidney infection is serious and can cause permanent damage.
What causes urinary tract infections?
Ans: Usually, germs get into your system through your urethra, the tube that carries urine from your bladder to the outside of your body. The germs that usually cause these infections live in your large intestine and are found in your stool. If these germs get inside your urethra, they can travel up into your bladder and kidneys and cause an infection. You may be more likely to get an infection if you do not drink enough fluids, you have diabetes, or you are pregnant. The chance that you will get a bladder infection is higher if you have any problem that blocks the flow of urine from your bladder. Examples include having kidney stones or an enlarged prostate gland.
What are the symptoms?
Ans: You may have an infection if you have any of these symptoms:
- You feel pain or burning when you urinate.
- You feel like you have to urinate often, but not much urine comes out when you do.
- Your belly feels tender or heavy.
- Your urine is cloudy or smells bad.
- You have pain on one side of your back under your ribs. This is where your kidneys are
- You have nausea and vomiting.
How is UTI caused?
Urinary tract infections are caused by germs, usually bacteria that enter the urethra and then the bladder. This can lead to infection, most commonly in the bladder itself, which can spread to the kidneys. Most of the time, your body can get rid of these bacteria. However, certain conditions increase the risk of having UTIs.
How is urinary tract infections diagnosed?
Ans: Your doctor will ask for a sample of your urine. It is tested to see if it has germs that cause bladder infections.
How are they treated?
Ans: Antibiotics will usually cure a bladder infection. It may help to drink lots of water and other fluids and to urinate often, emptying your bladder each time.
Can urinary tract infections be prevented?
Ans: Yes they can be prevented by the following.
Why are woman more at risk of getting UTI?
Ans: Women tend to get more bladder infections than men. This is probably because women have shorter urethras, so it is easier for the germs to move up to their bladders. Menopause also increases the risk of a UTI. In Pakistan about 40% of women and 12% of men have a urinary tract infection at some time in their life. Prognosis A urinary tract infection is uncomfortable, but treatment is usually successful. Symptoms of a bladder infection usually disappear within 24 – 48 hours after treatment begins. If you have a kidney infection, it may take 1 week or longer for your symptoms to go away.