- by Specialist Hospital
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- Feb 24 2017
Troubled with Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)
What is a urinary tract infection?
A UTI is a term for infection in the urinary tract. These infections are caused by microbes—microorganisms—including viruses, fungi and bacteria. Bacteria are the most usual cause of UTIs. Normally, bacteria that enter the urinary tract are rapidly rejected by the body before they cause any visible symptoms. However, in certain cases bacteria overcome the body’s immunity and cause infection. An infection in the urethra is called urethritis. A bladder infection is called cystitis. Bacteria may travel up the ureters to grow and affect the kidneys. If it is in the kidney it is called pyelonephritis.
What is the urinary tract?
The urinary tract can be described as the body's drainage system for removing wastes and extra water. The urinary tract comprises of two kidneys, two ureters, a bladder and a urethra. The kidneys, each about the size of a fist are located under the ribs, one on each side of the spine, toward the middle back. Every minute, a kidney filters about 3 ounces of blood, removing wastes and unrequired water. Such wastes and extra water makes uptoalmost 2 quarts of urine a person produces each day. The urine moves from the kidneys through narrow tubes called the ureters. It is then stored in a balloonlike organ called the bladder and finally ejected out of the body through the urethra, which is a tube at the bottom of the bladder.
When the bladder is emptied, a muscle called the sphincter relaxes and opens up and urine flows out of the body through the urethra. The opening of the urethra in males is at the end of the penis and in femalesit is in front of the vagina.
What causes UTIs?
Most UT infections are caused by bacteria that live in the bowel. The bacterium Escherichia coli, commonly known as E. coli, causes the majority of UTIs. Microbes named as MycoplasmaandChlamydia can infect the urethra and reproductive system but not the bladder. These microbial infections may be sexually transmitted and require treatment of each sexual partner.
The urinary tract has several inbuilt systems to prevent infection. The points where the ureters joins the bladder act like one-way valves to avoid urine from going back up toward the kidneys, and following urination washes microbes out of the body. In men, the prostate gland produces certain secretion that slows bacterial growth. In both sexes, immune systems also prevent infection. But despite these safeties, infections do still occur.
How commonly does UTIs affect in adults?
Around the world UT infections are the second most common type of infection in the body; accounting for around 8.1 million visits to doctors every year. Women are more prone to UTIs for anatomical reasons. One major factor is that a woman’s urethra is shorter in path, making it quicker for bacteria toaccess the bladder. Also, a woman’s urethral opening is located near sources of bacteria, from the anus and vagina. For women, the risk of having a UTI is more than 50 percent. While in men UTIs are not as common as in women, but can be serious when they do occur.
What are the symptoms of a UTI?
Symptoms of a UTI vary by gender,age and whether a catheter is present or not. Among younger women, UTI symptoms might just include a frequent/intense urge to urinate and a sort of burning feeling in the bladder or urethra during urination. While, the amount of urine may be very small. Older women and men are more likely to have symptoms likefeeling tired, shaky and weak and have muscle aches with possible abdominal pain. Urine may look unusually cloudy, dark or bloody or have a bad smell. In a person with a catheter, the only symptom that might occur may be fever that cannot be related to any other reason. Normally, the bladderUTIs do not cause any fever. A fever might signifythat the infection has reached the kidneys or the prostate. Other symptoms of a kidney infection can include some pain in the back or side around the ribs possibly with nausea and vomiting.
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