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What are urinary tract infections?

Urinary tract infection is a very common infection that occurs in any part of the urinary system which includes kidneys (Pyelonephritis), bladder (Cystitis), ureters, and urethra (Urethritis). UTI occurs more commonly in women.

What are the symptoms of UTI?

A UTI causes the urinary tract lining to become red and inflamed, which has the following symptoms.

  • A bladder infection may cause pelvic pain,
  • urge to urinate,
  • blood in urine and kidney infection causes back pain,
  • nausea,
  • vomiting and fever.

Other common symptoms-

  • pain in the flank,
  • pressure in the lower pelvis,
  • incontinence(leakage),
  • foul smell,
  • pain during sex, penis pain,
  • fatigue.

What causes UTI?

Urinary tract infections are usually caused by bacteria that enter the urethra and bladder causing inflammation and infection. The bacteria can also travel up the ureters and infect the kidneys. 90% of the bladder infection is caused by E. coli, it is a bacterium found in the intestines.

  • Women have a shorter urethra than men which makes it easier for the bacteria to get to their bladders.
  • Women with diabetes have a weak immune system and cannot fight infections.
  • Other reasons that cause UTI could be Hormone changes, multiple sclerosis, kidney stones, spinal cord injury.

What are the risk factors of UTI?

UTI infections can be treated easily with antibiotics. If it is not treated at the right time then it can lead to

  • serious kidney infection,
  • recurrent UTI,
  • Women may deliver low birth weight babies or premature babies
  • Urethral narrowing
  • Sepsis.

How are UTI infections diagnosed?

The urologist will use the following tests to diagnose a UTI.

Urinalysis- this test helps in finding the number of red blood cells and white blood cells and bacteria that indicate an infection.

Urine culture- helps in determining the type of bacteria in the urine.

Ultrasound- sound waves create an image of the internal organs; it is performed on top of the skin and is painless.

Cystoscopy- This test uses an instrument attached with a lens and light which helps to see inside the bladder from the urethra.

CT scan- this is an imaging test; it is more precise than typical X-rays.

What is chronic UTI and how is it treated?

The urologist will use the following tests to diagnose a UTI.

Chronic UTIs- some may have UTI infection repeatedly and in most cases, each infection has a different strain of bacteria. But some bacteria can invade body cells and multiply by creating antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Chronic UTI treatment- when you have repeated UTI, the doctor may recommend a treatment plan such as

  • Low dosage of antibiotics to prevent repeat infections.
  • Antibiotics for 1-2 days whenever symptoms appear.
  • A non-antibiotic prophylaxis treatment.

How to Prevent UTI?

  • Empty your bladder,
  • wipe from front to back after you use the restroom,
  • drink plenty of water,
  • avoid scented bath products,
  • wear loose cotton undergarments,
  • and avoid tight clothes as they can trap moisture that increases bacteria growth.

Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital

Address: Rao Saheb, Achutrao Patwardhan Marg, Four Bungalows, Andheri West, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400053

Phone: +91-98 88 66 22 00

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