The urinary tract removes body waste and extra fluid through urine. Urinary tract infection, or UTI, is an infection of any of the different parts of the urinary tract composed of the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra.
Women are at a higher risk of getting UTI. The female urethra is shorter than that of the male. This means that bacteria can reach the female bladder faster where they grow and cause an infection.
There are different medical terms used when talking about UTI depending on the infected body part.
Pyelonephritis is the inflammation of the kidneys, most commonly due to bacterial infection. It is treatable but can also threaten a person's life.
Cystitis is the inflammation of the bladder, usually because of bacterial infection. The bladder is the part that stores the urine.
Urethritis is the inflammation of the urethra, which is the tube that begins from the bladder and serves as a passageway for urine to get out of the body.
Keep in mind that infections on the upper parts of the urinary tract system are more serious.
Risk factors for UTI in women include the following:
sexual intercourse, especially with a new partner
presence of kidney stones that may block the urine
weakened immune system
the use of a catheter tube to urinate
Women need to be more observant and look for signs of UTI. Here are the usual symptoms:
There is a very strong urge to urinate right away and the frequency increases.
The colour of urine changes. Instead of it being clear or yellowish, the urine becomes pinkish or reddish. This is a possible indication that there is blood in the urine.
If there are kidney stones, the urine appears murky.
The stones may also block the passage so you will only be able to urinate in very small amounts.
The urine has a foul-smelling odour.
It becomes very painful to urinate.
There is a pain in the lower back and lower abdomen.
You have a fever or chills.
Once you notice the presence of urine infection symptoms, seek medical treatment right away. Normally, the infection is treatable within 3 days. However, a more serious infection may need longer medication.
Here are the usual steps when undergoing treatment:
The patient needs to get a urinalysis to help doctors confirm if there is an infection.
The doctor will prescribe an antibiotic depending on the type of bacteria present. The dose and length of medication depend on the patient's urinary tract condition.
After taking antibiotics, the patient needs to get a follow-up laboratory urine test to make sure that there are no bacteria.