A COMPLETE GUIDE TO URINARY TRACT INFECTION (UTI)
UTI is actually an infection that occurs in the urinary tract that can interfere with the normal functioning of the system. There are many causes attributed to UTI such as those related to old age and a previous history of the condition.
In men, an enlarged prostate gland can cause blockages in the urinary tract that leads to the growth of infections in the bladder and the urethra. The presence of kidney stones, diabetes, and a weak immune system are other underlying causes of a urinary tract infection.
Urinary tract infections have many risk factors that can get complicated if proper treatment is not given at the earliest. For men, UTI can cause the prostate gland to become enlarged that can aggravate the infection and interferes with the normal functioning of other organs in the urinary tract such as the bladder and kidneys.
The risk factors are higher in women as they have a shorter urethra compared to men. The urethra is located close to the vagina and anus, which increases the probability of infections. Various other factors such as sexual intercourse and the use of contraceptives like spermicides also increase the chances of contracting UTI in women.
Urinary tract infections results in various symptoms that vary depending on the location of the infection on the urinary tract. An infection that affects the lower urinary tract comprising the urethra and bladder causes a range of symptoms such as:
- Burning sensation during urination
- Sense of incomplete bladder emptying
- Frequent urination
- Dark or cloudy urine
- Strong smelling urine
- Bloody urine
- Rectal pain in men
- Pelvic pain in women
The symptoms of an upper urinary tract infection include:
- Back pain
Diagnosis and Treatment
Diagnosing UTI involves consulting with specialists in the urology department of a health clinic when the above symptoms are found. The urologist will evaluate the symptoms and will confirm the infection by carrying out a urine test. In case of an upper tract infection, the urologist will order a complete blood count (CBC) along with a urine test to verify the infection.
Other forms of diagnosis like imaging are done for recurrent UTI such as ultrasound, cystoscopy, CT scan, and intravenous pyelogram (IVP). The treatment is mainly done using medications such as antibiotics to fully remove the infections from the urinary tract.