urinary tract infection (UTI) is a bacterial infection that affects
any part of the urinary tract. The main causative agent is Escherichia
coli. Although urine contains a variety of fluids, salts and waste
products, it usually does not have bacteria in it. When bacteria
get into the bladder or kidney and multiply in the urine, they cause
UTI. The most common type of UTI is a bladder infection.
urinary tract infection is an infection involving the kidneys, ureters,
bladder, or urethra. These are the structures that urine passes
through before being eliminated from the body.
An infection occurs when bacteria get into the urine and begin
to grow. The infection usually starts at the opening of the
urethra and moves upward into the urinary tract.
These bacteria can move from the area around the anus to the
opening of the urethra. The two most common causes of this are
poor hygiene and sexual intercourse.
Usually, the act of emptying the bladder (urinating) flushes
the bacteria out of the urethra. If there are too many bacteria,
urinating may not stop their spread.
If they reach the kidney, they can cause a kidney infection
, which can become a very serious condition if not treated promptly.
People with conditions that block the urinary tract, such as
People with medical conditions that cause incomplete bladder
People with suppressed immune systems: Examples of situations
in which the immune system is suppressed are AIDS and diabetes.
Sexual intercourse can introduce larger numbers of bacteria
into the bladder. Infection is more likely common in women who
have frequent intercourse.
Women who use a diaphragm for birth control.
Men with an enlarged prostate: Prostatitis or obstruction of
the urethra by an enlarged prostate can lead to incomplete bladder
emptying, thus increasing the risk of infection. This is most
common in older men.
Males are also less likely to develop UTIs because their urethra
(tube from the bladder) is longer. There is a drier environment
where a man's urethra meets the outside world and fluid produced
in the prostate can fight bacteria.
urinary tract infection (cystitis): The lining of the urethra
and bladder becomes inflamed and irritated.
Pain or burning during urination.
Frequency: more frequent urination (or waking up at night to
urinate); often with only a small amount of urine.
Urgency: the sensation of not being able to hold urine.
the sensation of not being able to urinate easily or completely
(or feeling that you have to urinate but only a few drops of
urine come out).
Cloudy, bad-smelling, or bloody urine.
Lower abdominal pain.
fever (less than 101o F), chills
and "just not feeling well" (malaise).
Upper urinary tract infection Symptoms develop rapidly and may
or may not include the symptoms for a lower urinary tract infection.
Fairly high fever (higher than 101o
newborns, infants, children and elderly people, the classic
symptoms of a urinary tract infection may not be present. Other
symptoms may indicate a urinary tract infection.
Newborns: fever or hypothermia (low temperature), poor feeding,
Infants: vomiting, diarrhea, fever, poor feeding, not thriving.
Children: irritability, eating poorly, unexplained fever that
doesn't go away, loss of bowel control, loose bowels, change
in urination pattern.
Elderly people: fever or hypothermia, poor appetite, lethargy,
change in mental status.
Pregnant women are at increased risk for an UTI. Typically,
pregnant women do not have unusual or unique symptoms. "If
you are pregnant, your urine should be checked during prenatal
visits because an unrecognized infection can cause pregnancy
complications or miscarriage".
for Preventing Urinary Tract Infections
most important tip to prevent urinary tract infections, bladder
infections and kidney infections is to practice good personal
hygiene. Always wipe from front to back after a bowel movement
or urination and wash the skin around and between the rectum
and vagina daily. Washing before and after sexual intercourse
also may decrease a woman's risk of UTI.
Drinking plenty of fluids (water) each day will help flush bacterium
out of the urinary system.
Emptying the bladder as soon as the urge to urinate occurs also
may help decrease the risk of bladder infection or UTI.
Urinating before and after sex can flush out any bacteria that
may enter the urethra during sexual intercourse.
Vitamin C makes the urine acidic and helps to reduce the number
of potentially harmful bacteria in the urinary tract system.
following special groups may be at increased risk of urinary tract
young infants: Bacteria gain entry to the urinary tract
via the bloodstream from other sites in the body.
Young children: Young children have trouble wiping
themselves and washing their hands well after a bowel movement.
Poor hygiene has been linked to an increased frequency of urinary
Children of all ages: Urinary tract infection in children
can be a sign of an abnormality in the urinary tract, usually
a partial blockage. An example is a condition in which urine
moves backward from the bladder up the ureters.
Hospitalized patients or nursing home residents: Many
of these individuals are catheterized for long periods and are
thus vulnerable to infection of the urinary tract. "Catheterization
means that a thin tube (catheter) is placed in the urethra to
drain urine from the bladder. This is done for people who have
problems urinating or cannot reach a toilet to urinate on their