Urinary Tract Infection: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

woman with a urinary tract infeciton

A urinary tract infection is one of the most common infections that affect the human body. 25% of all reported infections turn out to be urinary tract infections. Responsible for 8.1 million doctor visits each year, this infection affects around 50% to 60% of all women and 20% of all men.

Since there is such a high probability for the infection to occur, we believe that all adults must be aware of its symptoms, causes, and treatment options.

What is Urinary Tract Infection?

A urinary tract infection, also known as a UTI or a bladder infection, can occur in any part of the urinary system (a system that makes and produces urine in our bodies). This system includes kidneys, ureter, bladder, and urethra.

Most UTIs occur in the lower part of the system, in the bladder, and the urethra. Women have an almost 3 times greater chance of a urinary tract infection than men because they have a shorter urethra so the bacteria do not need to travel a lot to reach the bladder.

Types of UTIs

There are mainly 3 types of urinary tract infections:

1.Pyelonephritis: Pyelonephritis is a urinary tract infection that spreads up the tract into the kidneys. It is triggered as a result of an impediment in the urinary tract that causes the urine to flow back to the kidneys. Pyelonephritis can cause fevers, nausea, or pain in the upper side or back.

2.Urethritis: The tube that drains urine out of our bodies is called the urethra. Infection in that tube is called urethritis. It can cause a burning sensation and discharge when you pee.

  1. Cystitis: Cystitis is a bacterial infection in the bladder caused by bacteria that moves up the urethra. It can cause pain in the lower belly, can turn your urine bloody or cloudy, hurt when you pee, or make you feel like you need to pee a lot.

Symptoms and Causes of Urinary Tract Infection

Urinary tract infections are caused by microbes (bacteria) that enter the urinary system. The most common UTI-causing bacterium is Escherichia coli (E.coli) which is found in the digestive system.  In some rare cases, UTIs are also caused by fungi and viruses.

People who have diabetes or abnormalities in the urinary system, use diaphragms or condoms with spermicidal foam, have sexual intercourse very often, or are genetically predisposed are more susceptible to  a urinary tract infection.

Some common symptoms include:

Treating Urinary Tract Infections

Antibiotics are the most common of all treatment options for urinary tract infections. Painkillers and heating pads can also help alleviate pain. Cranberry juice is often recommended to treat UTIs since it contains tannin, an ingredient that can prevent E.coli bacteria from entering the urinary system. A doctor might also recommend a non-antibiotic prophylaxis treatment or vaccine if you are suffering from chronic UTIs.

When to See a Doctor

As soon as you start experiencing symptoms, schedule an appointment with a physician at Health One Family Medicine. Our experienced physicians can diagnose your infection and prescribe treatment options before the bacteria enter the bloodstream and cause a life-threatening illness.

To make an appointment with a physician at Health One Family Medicine, visit our website or call (469)262-5762.

Author
Health One Family Medicine

You Might Also Enjoy...

5 Benefits of Getting the COVID-19 Vaccine

The COVID-19 vaccination is a safe way to build protection against the coronavirus and prevent it from spreading from person to person. Let's learn about five essential COVID-19 vaccine benefits.