General Health

How and Where do people get Urinary Tract Infection

UTI (Urinary Tract Infection) is an infection from microbes in any part of the urinary system; kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra. These microbes are extremely small organisms that can’t be seen without a microscope. Mostly, the infection involves the lower urinary tract i.e. the bladder and the urethra. Whereas the upper urinary tract includes kidneys and ureters.

Women are always more at risk of contracting UTI as compared to men. Infection occurring in the bladder can be painful and annoying, but the infection spreading in the kidneys can have serious consequences. Doctors usually use antibiotics to treat UTI, however, there are various other treatments that can help you reduce your chances of getting UTI. 

UTI symptoms:

Urinary Tract Infections don’t have signs and symptoms but when they do, they might include:

  1. Upper tract urinary symptoms:
  • Burning sensation while urinating
  • A strong and persistent urge to urinate
  • Increased frequency of urination
  • Bloody urine
  • Cloudy urine 
  • Pelvic pain in females
  • Rectal pain in males
  • Strong smelling urine
  1. Lower tract urinary symptoms:
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting 
  • Pain and tenderness in the upper back and sides

Types of UTI

UTI can happen in various parts of your urinary tract. The names of each one is based on where they occur.

[1] Cystitis:

This typically happens in the bladder and might make you feel like peeing frequently. You might also experience lower stomach pain and also cloudy and bloody urine.

Signs and symptoms:

  • Pelvic pressure
  • Lower abdomen discomfort
  • Frequent, painful urination
  • Blood in urine

[2] Pyelonephritis: 

This happens in the kidneys that involve symptoms such as fever, chills, nausea, vomiting as well as pain in the upper back or side.

Signs and symptoms:

  • Back pain or side (flank) pain
  • High fever
  • Shaking and chills
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

[3] Urethritis:

As the name suggests, the condition occurs in the urethra and might cause discharge and burning sensations when you pee.

Signs and symptoms:

  • Burning with urination
  • Discharge

UTI- Causes

Urinary tract infections occur as the bacteria enters the urinary tract through the urethra and starts to multiply in the bladder. The defence mechanism of the urinary system sometimes might fail to keep all the harmful microorganisms at bay. When that happens, the bacteria might grow as a full-blown infection in the urinary tract. 

Most types of UTI occur mainly in women. It affects the bladder as well as the urethra. 

  • Infection of the bladder (Cystitis):

This type of infection is caused by E.coli (Escherichia coli) which is a type of bacteria that are commonly found in the GI (gastrointestinal) tract. However, there can be other bacteria too that are responsible for this infection. It’s true that sexual intercourse increases the risk of cystitis but just being sexually active is not the only reason. All the women are mostly at the risk of getting cystitis because of their anatomy i.e. the short distance from the urethra to the anus as well as the urethral opening to the bladder. 

  • Infection of the urethra (Urethritis):

This type of infection or UTI occurs when the GI bacteria spread from the anus to the urethra. The female urethra is closer to the vagina hence sexually transmitted infections such as herpes, gonorrhoea, chlamydia as well as mycoplasma can eventually result in urethritis. 

Risk Factors

Urinary Tract Infections are common in women, and such women experience more than one infection during their lifetimes. Some risk factors specific to women in UTI include:

  • Female Anatomy: A woman with a shorter urethra has a higher chance of getting a UTI as the distance between the urethra and the bladder is small. This helps the bacteria to travel and reach the bladder easily. 
  • Sexual activity: Sexually active women are always more at risk of contracting. Having a new sexual partner is also a factor that can develop a UTI. 
  • Birth controls: Women who use diaphragms for birth control are at higher risk than other women who use spermicidal agents.
  • Menopause: Post-menopause, there is a drastic decline in the circulating estrogen. This causes in the urinary tract which makes it more vulnerable to any UTI.

Other risk factors:

  • Urinary tract abnormalities: Babies that are born with such abnormalities don’t allow the urine to pass and back it up in the urethra. This increases the risk of UTIs. 
  • Blockages in the urinary tract: The development of kidney stones and even enlarged prostate just traps the urine and ultimately leads to an increased chance of contracting UTI.
  • Suppressed immune system: Diabetes and other diseases that affect the immune system can also increase the chances of UTI contraction. 
  • Catheter: People that have to use a tube or a catheter to urinate are always at the risk of having a UTI.

Related Read: Anhedonia: Is the chronic inability to feel joy affect you too?

KR4ALL: Hassle-free online doctor consultation

UTI can be extremely painful. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of UTI, you should not wait to get it worse, but consult a doctor in the first place. KR4ALL provides you with a 24-hour online doctor consultation platform, complete with easy doctor appointment bookings and quick response times. In addition, order your prescribed medicines directly from the KR4ALL app; with exclusive discounts and offers.

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