ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT UTIs
Having a UTI is no joke! According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, UTIs accounts for about 8 million healthcare visits per year. A urinary tract infection (or UTI) occurs when bacteria enter the body through the urinary tract. Everyone will experience different symptoms of UTI, but some commonly reported issues include burning sensations while urinating, frequent visits to the bathroom, passing little urine, and blood in the urine. If you or someone you know has recurrent UTIs, multiple clinical trials are enrolling for urinary tract infections UTIs in Michigan.
What is the Cause of UTI?
Urine contains 95% water, 2% urea, 0.1% creatinine, 0.03% uric acid, and traces of ions and proteins. It doesn’t contain microorganisms naturally. The urinary tract prevents germs from entering the urinary system. Sometimes these natural defenses fail, and bacteria can enter the system. Upon reaching the bladder, it begins multiplying and causes infection and inflammation.
The most common type is bladder infection (cystitis), while a lesser prevalent but more serious is the infection of the kidneys (pyelonephritis).
Parts of the Urinary Tract
Your urinary tract comprises two kidneys, two ureters, a bladder, and a urethra. The parts that make up the urinary tract are as follows:
- Kidneys: They are usually present as a pair. Its primary role is to filter your blood, remove toxins, maintain electrolytes, remove drugs, produce urine, control red blood cell production, and produce an active form of vitamin D.
- Ureter: A tube-like structure that connects the kidney to the bladder. It carries urine.
- Bladder: It acts as a storage for urine. When enough urine is collected, it signals the brain and tells it is complete.
- Urethra: It is the tube that empties the bladder.
Classification of UTIs
UTIs can be divided into three types:
- Urethritis: It is the inflammation of the first part of the urinary tract i.e urethra. Sexual contact or poor hygiene can help the bacteria travel up the urethra resulting in inflammation.
- Cystitis: Cystitis is more prevalent in females. In cystitis, the bladder can get inflamed and infected.
- Pyelonephritis: Pyelonephritis is a severe form of UTI. The Kidneys become infected.
Important facts about UTI
- You may have a high fever with urinary tract infections, especially if the fever is above 101 degrees.
- People with UTIs may experience backaches because the high infection can cause soreness and stiffness in the body.
- The urethra of women is shorter, making them more likely to get infections than men. The urethra’s function is to connect the outside of your body to the bladder. Bacteria have a shorter distance to travel in shorter urethras, so chances of infection rise.
- The lifetime risk of having UTI is greater than 50% in women.
- Cranberry juice is not proven to help with UTIs. Despite the common belief that cranberry juice prevents infections, there is no scientific evidence to back it up. Drinking plenty of fluids is a good habit to stay free from UTIs. Large quantities of water make you urinate more, which can help flush out the infection.
- According to the National Kidney Foundation, diabetes can increase the chances of UTI. The immune system cannot defend the body against infections well, resulting in a higher likelihood of infections.
- UTIs can increase the likelihood of dementia in people older than 65-70 years.
- Catheterization increases the chances of urinary tract infection. As a catheter is a foreign object, prolonged insertion can cause a condition that may lead to hospitalization.
- A UTI may lead to serious complications if left untreated. Timely diagnosis and appropriate treatments are of the utmost importance. Failure results in complications like scarring to the kidney tissues, high blood pressure, and even kidney injuries.
Main Symptoms of UTI
A few of the main signs of UTIs are:
- Pain or burning sensation during urination,
- Bloody urine,
- Frequent urination,
- Pressure or cramps, and
- Urinary urgency even when the bladder is empty.
The symptoms of UTI become complex if the infection travels to the kidneys. These includes:
- Vomiting, and
- Lower back pain.
Risk Factors of UTI
As discussed earlier, a shorter urethra in female anatomy makes women more likely to develop UTI than men. Other risk factors are as follows:
- Sexual activity,
- Previous UTIs,
- Alteration in the vaginal flora due to the use of spermicides,
- Poor hygiene,
- Age (young children and older adults),
- Structural Abnormalities,
- Kidney stones,
- Multiple Sclerosis, and
- Spinal Cord Injury.
What are the Complications of UTIs?
Urinary tract infections are rarely complicated but, if left untreated, can be serious. A UTI can result in the following complications:
- Recurrent infections
- Kidney infection (pyelonephritis) due to an untreated UTI can cause permanent kidney damage by scarring
- Childbearing women may have complications like low birth weight pregnancies
- Urethral narrowing (stricture) in men who encounter frequent UTIs
- A potentially fatal infection (sepsis)
How is a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) Identified?
To accurately diagnose a UTI, doctors may prescribe the following tests:
- Urine culture
- CT scan
Ways to Prevent UTIs
UTIs can’t always be avoided but it’s possible to reduce the risk of getting one. You can take these steps to reduce your symptoms of UTI:
- Drink plenty of fluids.
- Wipe from front to back.
- Empty your bladder after sexual intercourse.
- Avoidance of irritating feminine products especially those that contain scent.
- Change your birth control method. Non-lubricated diaphragms or condoms can increase the growth of microbes like bacteria.
- Try not to hold back your urine.
- Take probiotics.
In conclusion, a Urinary Tract Infection is an unpleasant experience affecting day-to-day activities. When microorganisms travel up through the urethra, they cause infection in the urinary system. It can make you feel exhausted and ill. Additionally, it may also harm one’s social well-being. A relevant test by a healthcare provider may help with diagnosing the condition.
Revive Research Institute is conducting clinical trials on uncomplicated UTIs. If you have exhausted all other options and are looking for a new alternative, consider being part of our clinical research.