A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection from microbes. These are organisms that are too small to be seen without a microscope. Most UTIs are caused by bacteria, but some are caused by fungi and in rare cases by viruses. UTIs are among the most common infections in humans.
A UTI can happen anywhere in your urinary tract. Your urinary tract is made up of your kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. Most UTIs only involve the urethra and bladder, in the lower tract. However, UTIs can involve the ureters and kidneys, in the upper tract. Although upper tract UTIs are rarer than lower tract UTIs, they’re also usually more severe.
UTIs are a key reason we’re often told to wipe from front to back after using the bathroom. That’s because the urethra — the tube that transports urine from the bladder to the outside of the body — is located close to the anus. Bacteria from the large intestine, such as E. coli, are in the perfect position to escape the anus and invade the urethra. From there, they can travel up to the bladder, and if the infection isn’t treated, continue on to infect the kidneys. Women may be especially prone to UTIs because they have shorter urethras, which allow bacteria quick access to the bladder. Having sex can introduce bacteria into the urinary tract, too.
There are also many factors that can put you at an increased risk of getting a UTI. These factors include:
- age — older adults are more likely to get UTIs
- reduced mobility after surgery or prolonged bed rest
- kidney stones
- a previous UTI
- urinary tract obstructions or blockages, such as an enlarged prostate, kidney stones, and certain forms of cancer
- prolonged use of urinary catheters, which may make it easier for bacteria to get into your bladder
- diabetes, especially if poorly controlled, which may make it more likely for you to get a UTI
- abnormally developed urinary structures from birth
- a weakened immune system
SYMPTOMS of UTIs
Common signs and symptoms are:-
- A burning feeling when you urinate
- A frequent or intense urge to urinate, even though little comes out when you do
- Pain or pressure in your back or lower abdomen
- Cloudy, dark, bloody, or strange-smelling urine
- Feeling tired or shaky
- Fever or chills (a sign the infection may have reached your kidneys
Symptoms of a UTI depend on what part of the urinary tract is infected.
a) Lower tract UTIs affect the urethra and bladder. Symptoms of a lower tract UTI include:
- burning with urination
- increased frequency of urination without passing much urine
- increased urgency of urination
- bloody urine
- cloudy urine
- urine that looks like cola or tea
- urine that has a strong odor
- pelvic pain in women
- rectal pain in men
b) Symptoms of an upper tract UTI include:
- pain and tenderness in the upper back and sides
Upper tract UTIs affect the kidneys. These can be potentially life-threatening if bacteria move from the infected kidney into the blood. This condition, called urosepsis, can cause dangerously low blood pressure, shock, and death.
UTI symptoms in men
Symptoms of an upper tract urinary infection in men are similar to those in women. Symptoms of a lower tract urinary infection in men sometimes include rectal pain in addition to the common symptoms shared by both men and women.
UTI symptoms in women
Women with a lower tract urinary infection may experience pelvic pain. This is in addition to the other common symptoms. Symptoms of upper tract infections among both men and women are similar.
Urine culture-The urine sample that you give your doctor needs to be a “clean-catch” sample. This means the urine sample is collected at the middle of your urinary stream, rather than at the beginning. This helps to avoid collecting the bacteria or yeast from your skin, which can contaminate the sample. Your doctor will explain to you how to get a clean catch.
When testing the sample, your doctor will look for a large number of white blood cells in your urine. This can indicate an infection. Your doctor will also do a urine culture to test for bacteria or fungi. The culture can help identify the cause of the infection. It can also help your doctor choose which treatment is right for you.
If a virus is suspected, special testing may need to be performed. Viruses are rare causes of UTIs but can be seen in people who have had organ transplants or who have other conditions that weaken their immune system.
Upper tract UTIs
If your doctor suspects that you have an upper tract UTI, they may also need to do a complete blood count (CBC) and blood cultures, in addition to the urine test. A blood culture can make certain that your infection hasn’t spread to your bloodstream.
If you have recurrent UTIs, your doctor may also want to check for any abnormalities or obstructions in your urinary tract. Some tests for this include:
- An ultrasound, in which a device called a transducer is passed over your abdomen. The transducer uses ultrasound waves to create an image of your urinary tract organs that are displayed on a monitor.
- An intravenous pyelogram (IVP), which involves injecting a dye into your body that travels through your urinary tract and taking an X-ray of your abdomen. The dye highlights your urinary tract on the X-ray image.
- A cystoscopy, which uses a small camera that’s inserted through your urethra and up into your bladder to see inside your bladder. During a cystoscopy, your doctor may remove a small piece of bladder tissue and test it to rule out bladder inflammation or cancer as a cause of your symptoms.
- A computerized tomography (CT) scan to get more detailed images of your urinary system.
severe burning and stinging pain in the urethra before, during, and after urination with a sensation of swelling in the urethra; violent urging to urinate but must strain to pass urine, and it comes out in only tiny amounts; abdomen sensitive to slightest touch; burning and stinging worse from heat and at night and better from cold.
pains during or after urination; cutting, or shooting pains from the bladder to the urethra or from the urethra to the pelvis, thighs, or back; pains worse from motion; pain in kidneys or ureters (tubes from kidneys to bladder) that worsen from pressure, motion, or jarring.
most commonly used remedy for UTIs; frequent strong need to urinate, with much burning during urination; urgent need to empty bladder, and may lose urine even while rushing to the toilet; urine passes in small amounts; may feel urging just after or even during urination; tremendous burning, cutting, or stabbing pains in urethra and bladder before, during, and after urination, or whenever the urge to urinate is felt; restless, frantic with severe pain; sexual desire may be increased.
burning, uncontrollable urge to urinate; dark urine passing in small amounts; burning pain worse when the patient is not urinating; burning may also be severe just before when beginning or at end of urination; worse at night.
burning or pressing pain in bladder during urination, pain in urethra before or during urination, sometimes with a strong urge to move bowels; needle-like pains in urethra extending toward bladder; may occur after excesses in eating, alcohol, coffee, or drugs.