Harish Jharia

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13 April 2013

Health - what is UTI, urinary tract infection in humans



© Harish Jharia

What is so unique in UTI, urinary tract infection?

UTI, urinary tract infection is a unique disease, because in this case the bacterium from one part of our body infects another part of our own body. The bacterium from the large intestine is released with the stool and subsequently travels from the anal area to the open exit tip of urine that in turn enters the urethra and eventually infects the urinary bladder.  It is clearly a case of negligence by the patients in maintaining their personal sanitary hygiene. 

What are advance alerts at the beginning of UTI?

Whenever UTI, urinary tract infection starts to affect, we will feel some symptoms, out of which we can suspect the attack of UTI. As soon as we suspect attack of UTI, we should immediately consult a doctor (general physician), rather than opting for self-medication. These advance alerts are as follows:
  1. We feel slight burning sensation and pain while urinating
  2. We do not feel free flow of urine while urinating. It appears that there is some obstruction in urinary flow. 
  3. We feel frequent pressure for urination but very little urine released when we urinate
What is urinary tract infection?
Our urinary tract is the passage through which urine passes out of our body. Urinary tract is a group of internal parts of our body that includes bladder, kidneys, the tubes that connect them and the tube that drains out urine out of our body, called urethra. Urinary tract infection is caused when germs get into this system, and infect any part of that.

Urinary tract infections, UTI occur when bacteria enter the urinary tract through the urethra (Urethra is the tube that carries urine out of the body by urination) and begin to multiply in the bladder (bladder is the bag in which urine is stored). Although the urinary system is specifically designed to keep out such microscopic germs, but these protective barriers sometimes fail. When this happens, the bacteria may invade urinary tract and grow into a full-blown infection in the urinary tract. If we do not treat UTI on time, then it would spread to our kidneys. The kidney infection is really serious that could even cause permanent damage to this vital organ. 

 What causes urinary tract infections?

Usually, germs get into our urinary system through our urethra, the tube that carries urine from our bladder and release out of our body by urination. The bacteria that cause these infections stay in our large intestine and move along with our stool. If these germs get into our urethra, they then travel upwards to our bladder and kidneys and eventually cause infection in these organs. 

Women are more vulnerable to UTI of bladder infections as compared to men, probably because women have shorter urethrae.  In addition to that, the UTI bacteria has an easy transition to the urethra due to the short distance from the anal region to the opening of urethra

We may be more vulnerable to UT infection if we do not drink plenty of fluids; we have diabetes and when any of us is pregnant. The chances of getting UTI of bladder infection are higher if you have blockage in the flow of urine from your bladder. The common reasons of urine blockage are kidney stones or enlarged prostate gland.

What are the symptoms of UTI?

Following are the symptoms / indications of UTI Urinary Tract infection:
  1. Pain or burning sensation at the time of urination
  2. Feelings of pressure for urination with pretty less passage of urine
  3. Belly feels tender or heavy
  4. Urine is cloudy or smelling bad
  5. Pain on one side of back under ribs in the region of kidneys
  6. Fever 101-102 F with chills.
  7. Vomiting sensation and vomiting
What should be done with suspected UTI?

We should consult the doctor the moment we suspect UTI for the first time; having fever, nausea and vomiting; pain at one side of the back under our ribs. The treatment is yet more urgent if we have diabetes, kidney problems, weak immune system; we are older than 65 years or any of us is pregnant.

How UTI, urinary tract infection is diagnosed and treated?

The doctor will get your urine tested for routine tests as well as for Urine Culture. It is tested to see if it has germs that cause bladder infections and what is the stage of their reproduction. If we get frequent UTI, then we may need extra testing to find out the reasons behind the repetitive infections.  

Antibiotics are prescribed by the doctor will usually cure a UTI urinary tract infection. In addition to medication, the patient will have to drink lots of water and other fluids in order to urinate frequently, draining out the entire urine from the bladder at each urination.
If the doctors prescribe antibiotics and the patient has to take the medicine strictly at the prescribed frequency of doses and complete the course of 5 or 15 days as advised by the doctor. Patient should not stop taking antibiotics just because they feel better. They need to finish the course of treatment so that they do not get an attack of UTI again.

How UTI, urinary tract infections be prevented?

You can help prevent these infections by following these guidelines:
  1. Drink lots of water throughout the day.
  2. Urinate often and do not try to hold it back.
  3. If you are a woman, urinate right after having sex.
  4. In case of recurrent UTIs, postmenopausal women should ask their doctors about using Vaginal Estrogens to prevent infection.
  5. Follow strict personal sanitary hygiene in order to stop bacteria released through our stool to reach the opening tip of our urinary discharge. That means we should stop the movement of bacteria from annul area to the open end of urethra by a hygienic barrier.  
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