Urinary tract infection is an infection that affects any part of the urinary system – the kidneys, ureters, bladder, the urethra. Most infections occur in the lower urinary tract – that is, the bladder and urethra.
Women are more likely to have a urinary tract infection than men because their urethra is shorter which makes it easier for bacteria to enter the bladder and cause inflammation in the urinary tract. A bladder infection can be painful and annoying. However, severe consequences can occur if the infection is transferred to the kidneys.
Symptoms and Signs
Urinary tract infections do not always cause signs and symptoms, but when they do occur, they may include the following:
- Persistent and strong urge to urinate
- A burning sensation when urinating
- Urinary incontinence
- Cloudy dark urine
- Light red or pink urine — a sign of blood in the urine
- Strong smelling urine
- Pelvic pain, especially in the middle of the pelvis and around the pubic bone region
- Back pain and pressure in the lower abdomen
- Fatigue and muscle aches
- Fever or chills – a sign of kidney infection
Moreover, the symptoms may vary depending on the part of the urinary tract affected by the infection.
- Cystitis (bladder): You may feel you need to urinate a lot, or it may hurt you when urinating. You may also have lower abdominal pain and cloudy or bloody urine.
- Pyelonephritis (kidney): This type can cause fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, and pain in the upper back or side.
- Urethritis (urethra): infection in this area can cause urinary incontinence and burning sensation when urinating.
Urinary tract infection is common in women, and many women are prone to infection more than once in their lifetime.
- Female anatomy. Women have a shorter urethra than men, making the distance that bacteria have to travel to reach the bladder shorter.
- Sexual activity. Sexually active women are more likely to develop a urinary tract infection than women who are not sexually active.
- Certain types of contraceptives. Women who use female condoms as a method of contraception may be more likely to become infected, as well as women who use spermicides.
- After menopause, low estrogen flow in the body leads to changes in the urinary tract that make women more susceptible to infection.
- Urinary obstruction. Kidney stones can trap urine in the bladder and increase the risk of urinary tract infection.
- Using a catheter. People who cannot urinate without help and use a tube (catheter) to urinate are more likely to develop a urinary tract infection.
- Undergoing a urinary tract surgery. surgeries in the urinary tract that involve the use of medical devices can increase the risk of developing a urinary tract infection.
- In the case of simple cystitis, antibiotics should be taken for 3-5 days
- If there is inflammation in the bladder during pregnancy or in women with diabetics, it is advised to take antibiotics for 7-14 days
- It is important to complete the antibiotics course of treatment even if you feel better because not completing the course will lead to the return of inflammation and is often stronger.
- It is important to inform the doctor if you do not feel better after 24 of using antibiotics, if you notice the presence of blood in the urine, or if you have fever or pain in the loin or back.
- If you are sick and you cannot take the antibiotic or drink plenty of fluids, it is best to go to the hospital to receive the antibiotics and fluids intravenously to prevent the spread of inflammation and prevent it from reaching the blood.
- If the inflammation recurs, it is best to take the treatment for the infection and then take a daily preventative dose for several weeks.