A Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) is a group of infections that occur anywhere in the urinary tract. It includes the kidneys, ureters (the tube that carries urine from the kidney to the bladder on either side), the bladder (which stores urine) and the urethra (through which urine from the bladder is excreted outside the body).
UTI is one of the most common infections that can occur in the body in both genders at all respect ages. They are usually caused by microbes, especially bacteria that enter the body via the urethra.
Signs and symptoms of UTI
Signs and symptoms of UTI include:
- Increased frequency in urination with little amounts being passed (FREQUENCY)
- Burning when passing urine (DYSURIA)
- Passing more urine at night (NOCTURIA)
- Blood in the urine (HEMATURIA)
- Cloudy urine
- Pain in the upper back and sides
- Feeling generally unwell and restless
Risk factors of UTI
You are at higher risk in case if you have the following conditions:
- Dementia (age-related)
- Stones or any growth in the urinary system or adjacent organs that obstructs or blocks your urinary tract.
- Low immunity, for instance, from chemotherapy for cancer/HIV cases.
- Usage of a urinary catheter – A tube inserted into your bladder to drain away the urine
- After menopause
- While you are pregnant
How to prevent getting a UTI?
The following are the ways to prevent yourself from UTI:
- Adequate hydration: Drinking 6-8 glasses of water daily
- Avoid trying to hold it or resist the urge to urinate
- Wear loose-fitting cotton underwear and avoid bright coloured ones
- Change pads frequently
- Avoid coffee, tea or sodas
- Women need to wipe from front to back after going to the toilet.
- Avoid lots of sugary foods, include lots of fruits, vegetables and high-fibre foods in your diet.
When should I visit a doctor?
When you have the following symptoms, it is recommended to consult a doctor.
- Shivering, chills and muscle pain
- Feel confused or are very drowsy
- Have not passed urine all-day
- Fever and vomiting
- Blood or cloudy appearance of urine
- Pain in your back or either side
- Previously existing symptoms worsen
Treatment for UTI
- You will be treated as an outpatient at a clinic or admitted depending upon the severity of your complaints.
- When you are very sick with fever and pain, broad-spectrum antibiotics will be started right away, and tests like urine examination for pus cells and culture will be done.
- Imaging like ultrasound and CT/MRI will be done if the pain in the back worsens or when there is no urine.
- Outpatient management will include urine alkalinisers, advice on hydration and supportive medications.
- Antibiotics as an outpatient are at your doctor’s discretion depending on the symptoms, but the majority will be offered a urine test.
- UTI due to organic causes like obstruction (partial or complete) in men after prostatic hypertrophy and in women following menopausal urethral stenosis or stones will be corrected either medically or surgically as per the clinical condition.
UTI, though it is common and needs aggressive treatment to prevent kidney failure, it is easily preventable by simple measures like adequate hydration, healthy eating habits, safe sexual practices and personal hygiene.