UTI or Urinary Tract Infection happens when bacteria enter our urinary tract through the urethra and begin to spread & multiply inside the bladder. When this happens, bacteria take hold of our body and then grow into a full-blown infection inside the urinary tract. UTI, most commonly occur among women.
UTI is of two types like:
Cystitis is usually caused by E. coli (Escherichia coli) bacteria which are commonly found in the GI (Gastro-Intestinal) tract. Although you don’t have to sexually active to develop this disease, many times sexual intercourse can be held responsible for this infection. In fact, all women are at risk of this condition, more because of their anatomy, whereby they have a short distance from the urethra to the anus.
Urethritis occurs when GI bacteria spread from the anus to the urethra. Sexually transmitted diseases like gonorrhea, herpes, chlamydia and mycoplasma also enhances the possibility of this disease.
The early symptoms of UTI are passing a frequent and small amount of urine, a strong urge to urinate, feeling a burning sensation while passing urine, cloudy appearance in the urine, muscle aches, abdominal pain, strong-smelling, pelvic pain in women especially in the center of the pelvis and around the pubic area.
The symptoms of UTI vary according to the type of infection. In the case of acute pyelonephritis, a patient may suffer from nausea, vomiting, flank pain, high fever and chills. In urethritis, discharge from the vagina, burning sensation while urinating, abdominal discomfort, pelvic pressure, blood traces in urine, along with frequent painful urination are experienced.
UTI is one of the most common infections in both males and females. However, women get more affected by UTI than men as their genital anatomy is quite intricate. Bacteria are the main cause of urinary tract infections and severely affect the kidney, bladder, and ureters in the body.
UTI is divided into upper and lower urinary tract infections. In the upper urinary tract, ureters and kidneys are present, whereas in the lower urinary tract bladder and urethra are located. E. Coli is the main bacterium for urinary tract infection and Chlamydia & mycoplasma bacteria can taint the urethra but not the urinary bladder.
Depending on the infected site, UTI is called in different names such as cystitis, urethritis, and pyelonephritis.
UTI in children requires immediate medical treatment to protect the kidneys from damage. If the infection is simple, oral medicines will be advised. Generally, children are given amoxicillin and clavulanic acid, cephalosporin, sulfamethoxazole-Trimethoprim, doxycycline (over 8 years), and Nitrofurantoin. Hospitalization and/or IV fluids will be administered if the UTI is severe.
Usually, men’s UTI is complicated. The treatment aims to prevent the infection spreading to the kidneys and the upper urinary tract. Normally, antibiotic drugs will be prescribed to kill bacteria along with pain killers to reduce bladder pain and other symptoms. The minimum antibiotic treatment plan is 7 days. The antibiotic course may be extended in some cases if required.
Female have high chances of getting frequent UTIs as they have shorter urethra and complicated genital anatomy. Females are treated with antibiotics for both uncomplicated and complicated UTIs and they are advised some do’s and don’ts to prevent recurrent UTI.
Antibiotics help in treating UTI infections by killing the bacteria causing infections. However, a patient should start the antibiotic cycle with a doctor’s prescription only. If the condition is left untreated, UTI can even damage kidneys.
The medicines are usually prescribed on the basis of the severity of the infection. A urine culture report can show the type of bacterium. Generally, best antibiotic for a treating uti includes Ciprofloxacin, Amoxicillin, Levofloxacin, Nitrofurantoin and Trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole are prescribed.
Fluoroquinolones, a group of antibiotic medicines such as Levofloxacin, ciprofloxacin, and others are not usually recommended for simple UTIs. The side effects of these medicines overshadow the benefits of treating uncomplicated UTIs. In case of complicated UTIs such as kidney infection, you may be prescribed a fluoroquinolone drug.
UTI can cause permanent kidney damage from pyelonephritis (chronic kidney infection) which occurs because of an untreated UTI. Pregnant women with UTI can give birth to premature infants, with low birth weight. Urethral stricture or narrowing can happen in men who suffer from recurrent urethritis. According to experts, women who have experienced three or more UTIs are susceptible to recurrent UTI infections. Sepsis can also happen when this infection is left untreated and can create life-threatening complications under such circumstances.
Home remedies for the treatment of UTI are :