What do you mean by Urinary Tract Infection?
A urinary tract infection involves the organs which produce urine and transfer it out of the body. These structures include kidneys, bladder, ureters, and urethra. The doctors often divide urinary tract infection into two types of lower tract infection and upper tract infection.
Upper tract infections: These involve the kidneys and ureters. These infections are called kidney infections. Upper urinary tract infections occur because the bacteria can travel up from the bladder into your kidney. Sometimes, they occur when the bacteria travel from the other areas of the body via the bloodstream and get settle in the kidney.
Lower tract infections: Infection of the bladder is called cystitis. The bacteria normally found in the intestine are the main cause of the lower urinary tract infections. The bacteria spread from the anus to the urethra and the bladder, where they will grow and cause the infection.
Women are affected more often than men because women have short urethras which allow easy passage of the bacteria into the bladder. Sexual intercourse can also cause the bacteria to spread upward into the bladder. The use of contraceptive diaphragms and the spermicides can change the normal bacteria environment around the urethra which makes the infection more likely.
In pregnant women, there are temporary changes in the anatomy of the urinary tract which makes the expectant mothers a prime candidate for urinary tract infections. Kidney bladder infections can also pose a serious threat to pregnant women because it increases the risk of premature contractions and sometimes the death of the fetus.
Symptoms of urinary tract infections
Upper and lower tract infections will cause one of the following symptoms:
- Fever without chills
- Pain in the upper back
- Waking from sleep to pass urine
- Bedwetting is a person who has usually been dry at night
- Unusually frequent urination
- Urine looks cloudy or unusually strong
- Vomiting and nausea
- Pressure in the area
Diagnosis of urinary tract infections
The doctor will ask you about the symptoms and whether you had a urinary tract infection before. The doctor will also about your sexual history, which includes the history of sexually transmitted diseases, use of a condom, multiple partners, use of the spermicides. The doctor will also ask about other medical problems you are suffering from like diabetes, which will make you more likely to develop the infections.
The doctor will ask about your urine sample, which will get tested in a laboratory to see if it contains the bacteria or different signs of infection. The urine sample may be sent to the laboratory which will identify the specific type of the bacteria and the antibiotics which will eliminate the bacteria. If you have a fever or other symptoms of an upper tract infection, the doctor may order a blood test to determine your white blood cell count. A white cell count indicates infection. The blood can be tested for bacterial growth. This is known as blood culture.
The people who have symptoms of kidney infection or episodes of upper and lower urinary tract infections, some additional testing may be required such as:
- Ultrasound exam
- Cystoscopy, an examination in which the doctor will check the inside of the bladder via a thin, hollow telescope-like instrument.
- A CT scan of your kidneys and the urinary systems
With the proper treatment, the most complicated urinary tract infections can be cured in three days. It might take several days for the symptoms of the kidney infection to go out completely.
Prevention of urinary tract infection
To prevent urinary tract infections are the methods:
- Drink plenty of glasses of water: Fluids discourage the growth of the bacteria by flushing out the urinary tract. Drinking the cranberry juice may reduce bacterial growth by decreasing the ability of the bacteria to stick to the urethra.
- Decrease the speed of bacteria during sex: Urinate after sex which will flush out the bacteria from your urethra. If you keep getting infections, then you should consult a doctor about using the antibiotics after sex to lower the risk of developing the urinary tract infections.
- Wipe from front to the back: To prevent the spread of the intestinal bacteria from the rectum to the urinary tract, women should wipe toilet tissue from the front to the back after having a bowel movement.
Treatment of urinary tract infections
Doctors treat the upper and lower urinary tract infections with antibiotics. Laboratory testing can also determine the best antibiotic for the treatment. Most of the uncomplicated lower tract infections can be treated with the help of a three-day process but for women who are pregnant or suffering from diseases such as diabetes should take the antibiotics for longer.
People suffering from the upper tract infections are treated with a 14-day course of antibiotic therapy. Those having upper tract infections may require hospital treatment with the antibiotics which are given through the vein. This is true if there is an increase in vomiting and fever increase the risk of the dehydration and it prevents the person from taking the oral antibiotics.
Home remedies for urinary tract infection
There are no home remedies which can cure urinary tract infection but there are some things which you can do to help your medication better. The home remedies for the urinary tract infections may help your body to cleat the infection faster. By consuming cranberries it can cure the urinary tract infections because there is a chemical which is present in the cranberries which prevent the various types of bacteria from attaching to the lining of your bladder.
When to take the help of the professional
You should call your doctor if you have frequent urination, an intense urge to urinate or discomfort during the urination or other symptoms of the urinary tract infection. You should seek medical attention if you have symptoms of the kidney like nausea, vomiting, and pain in the lower back. If you are pregnant then you should call your doctor immediately.
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