Urinary Tract Infection - Symptoms, Risk factors and Treatment

The urinary tract system consists of kidneys, urinary bladder, ureters, and urethra. The infection of any of these parts is known as urinary tract infection. Mostly, infections of the urinary tract occur due to bacterial growth. However, fungal growth can also cause urinary tract infections.


The urinary tract infection can occur in any part of the urinary system. It can cause inflammation of the bladder- a condition called cystitis, inflammation of kidneys- a condition called pyelonephritis and urethra- called urethritis. Urinary tract infections are common in women as compared to men because of the anatomy of their genitals.

 

Urine is a waste product that your kidneys produce to get rid of toxins. Under normal conditions, no contamination of urine occurs. While in some cases, it may get contaminated, eventually causing urinary tract infection. 

 

According to research, every 1 in 5 women gets urinary tract infections once in their lifetime. More often, they get it during pregnancy. 


Symptoms 


The symptoms of urinary tract infections are as follows. 

 

  • Urgency to urinate

  • Burning while passing urine and after it.

  • Fever

  • Palpitations 

  • A strong odor of urine

  • Change in color of urine to dark yellow or orange 

  • Pain in the pelvic region and back

  • Blood in urine 

  • Feeling of pressure in the lower abdomen 

  • Shaking and chills 


Risk Factors

 

The risk factors that can make you susceptible to urinary tract infections are:

 

  • Urinary tract abnormalities 

  • Kidney stones 

  • Diabetes

  • Long term immunosuppressants intake

  • Being a female

  • Reaching menopause

  • Being sexually active 

  • Drinking less than six glasses of water in a day

  • Using spermicidal or diaphragms for birth control as contraceptives  

 

Why Are Women More Prone to Urinary Tract Infections?


Anatomy

Women, as compared to men, are more prone to get urinary tract infections. The first reason for it is the anatomy of their genitals. The urethra is a tube that transports urine from the urinary bladder out of the body. In females, the urethra is shorter and close to the anus. Since stool contains E. coli, a bacteria that is healthy for the digestive system, therefore, from the anus, the bacteria can travel to the urethra and cause urinary tract infections. 


Menopause

Also, women who are reaching menopause are more prone to urinary tract infections because their estrogen levels drop, eventually causing thinning of vaginal tissues. Due to this, bacteria can enter the urinary tract through the urethra.

 

Pregnancy

Pregnancy also makes women prone to urinary tract infections because of hormonal alteration. Moreover, due to the pressure on their bladder due to the womb, they can not empty their bladder completely. Urine that is left in the bladder becomes a medium for bacterial growth, hence causing infection. 

 

Spermicide

Spermicide is a contraception method that kills the sperm a man ejaculates during intercourse. Women who use it as a contraception method are more prone to get urinary tract infections because it kills the healthy flora of your urinary tract system too, hence leading to infections. 

 

Conclusion


The most common symptoms of urinary tract infection are burning sensation after and while passing urine, lower abdominal pain, and pain. 


Urinary tract infections are the ones that occur in kidneys, urinary bladder, ureters, or urethra. You should not ignore the symptoms, as prolonging them can make them difficult to treat. Also, complete the antibiotic course as prescribed by your healthcare provider, because antibiotics, when not taken properly lead to resistance. Due to this, it becomes difficult to get rid of the infection. 

 

Furthermore, drink plenty of water if you are prone to urinary tract infections because doing that helps in flushing out toxins out from the urinary tract system. Maintaining good genital hygiene is also essential to prevent it. 

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