Urinary Tract Infections

Urinary Tract Infections test

Last Updated December 20th, 2021

Overview

Kidney disorders, renal dysfunctions, and associated urinary ailments give rise to numerous pathological complications within the human body. A common disease of this category that is more prevalent in women after a certain age is “Urinary Tract Infections”. Numerous cases of urinary tract infections are reported each year especially in the low and middle-income countries which lack proper hygiene conditions and healthy dietary habits. According to epidemiological findings by the National Kidney Foundation, nearly 20% of women having a history of urinary tract infection are likely to develop a recurrent infection in future. Urologists worldwide are concerned about the global health burden due to a steadily increasing rate of urinary tract infections cases.

 

What are urinary tract infections?

Urinary Tract InfectionsUrinary tract infections refer to the series of symptoms which are manifested due to mild to severe infections of the urinary tract (especially in females) and the reproductive system.

These are mediated mainly by bacteria, although fungal and viral pathogens might have some role as well.

In most cases, bacterial species that enter the urinary tract are immediately removed by the body.

But in people having a weak immune capacity, these bacteria continue residing and propagating within the urinary tract and cause infections of severe nature. According to survey reports by the American Urological Association, nearly 50-60% of adult women experience urinary tract infections at some point in time.

 

Causes of urinary tract infections

The main causative agent behind urinary tract infection is the Escherichia coli bacteria. But these infections are also caused by multiple physiological, environmental and other factors which are discussed below-

  • Bacterial infections in the inner lining of the urinary tract (caused by coli)
  • Microbial infections of the urethra and reproductive system (mediated by Chlamydia and Mycoplasma species)
  • Obstruction of urinary tract due to the accumulation of protein and calcium wastes, the presence of stones (in kidney), or enlarged prostate gland in men
  • Obstruction caused by Indwelling Urinary Catheter (IDC)
  • Unprotected sexual interaction with an infected partner
  • Sanitary napkins in young females and nappies in babies
  • Accumulation of excess urine in the bladder due to Neurogenic bladder retention
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Past occurrence of urinary tract infections
  • The structural defect of the urinary tract
  • Cysts or scars in kidney
  • Sickle cell diseases
  • Excess intake of sodium or purine in regular diet
  • Living in unhygienic conditions
  • Improper wiping or cleaning after a bowel movement (causes germs to invade the urethra)
  • Excessive and improper use of birth control pills, diaphragm or spermicides
  • Hormonal changes during pregnancy and menopause (fluctuation of estrogen level)
  • Presence of bladder or kidney tumors ( observed in people above 40)
  • Glomerular diseases or Polycystic kidney diseases
  • Malignancy of any kind especially within the urinary tract
  • Excessive intake of tobacco, alcohol, caffeine, and narcotics
  • Surgeries in the past
  • Menstrual cycle
  • Heredity of urinary tract infections
  • Dehydration due to an insufficient fluid intake

 

Symptoms of urinary tract infections

Urinary Tract Infections feverHalf of the urinary tract infections become chronic due to negligence and inadequate knowledge of the symptoms in the early stages. The following symptoms should be identified and diagnosed-

  • Frequent need for urination, especially at night
  • Passing a very weak stream of urine despite an excessive urge to urinate
  • Painful burning sensation in the bladder and urethra after passing urine
  • Feeling of a fullness of bladder even after passing urine
  • Persistent pain and feeling of pressure in the lower abdomen, pelvic region, and lower back
  • Brownish or reddish discoloration of urine (due to the presence of blood)
  • The frothy appearance of urine due to the presence of bubbles (Proteinuria)
  • Obnoxious odor and cloudy appearance of urine
  • Pain in the lower abdomen which may radiate to the pelvic region and lower extremities
  • Swollen legs, hands, feet, and face
  • Fever, nausea, and vomiting
  • Muscle cramps, body pain, and general weakness
  • Dehydrated feeling

 

Types of urinary tract infections

A broad classification of urinary tract infections is done based on the location of the infection. This is discussed below-

  • Asymptomatic urinary tract infection: It is characterized by the presence of huge amounts of bacteria in urine (greater than 1,00,000 / mL of urine). Severe and specific symptoms of urinary tract infection might not be present.
  • Symptomatic urinary tract infection: The symptoms are more severe in this case. It is further subdivided into the following types –
  • Acute cystitis: It is characterized by extreme bacterial infection (bacteriuria) wherein damage to the mucosal lining of the urinary bladder occurs. Few major symptoms of cystitis are dysuria (painful urination), nocturia (frequent urination at night), hematuria (blood in urine) and suprapubic pain.
  • Pyelonephritis: It is characterized by more than 1,00,000 bacteria in a standard sample of urine. The common complications are – inflammation of renal parenchyma, calyces, and pelvis due to systemic illnesses and failures. Pain in the flanks, pyrexia, intermittent chills, nausea and vomiting take place in this condition.

A very general classification of urinary tract infections is done based on complexity and origin of the disease-

  • Lower Urinary Tract Infection: It includes cystitis, urethritis (infection of the urethra) and prostatitis (inflammation of prostate gland).
  • Upper Urinary Tract Infection: It includes pyelonephritis, intra-renal abscess, and perinephric abscess.
  • Uncomplicated Urinary Tract infections: Minor localized cystitis may be observed which lasts for a very short duration (1-5 days).
  • Complicated Urinary Tract Infections: Infections due to structural and functional anomalies of the urinary tract. Few examples are – the presence of renal calculi and intrusion of indwelling catheters.

Few associated urinary tract infections are also observed, which are elaborated below-

  • Papillary necrosis: It is common in Diabetes patients and is marked by infection of renal pyramids. The common symptoms in this condition are- hematuria, flank pains, body chills, pyrexia and acute renal failure.
  • Perinephric and renal abscess: It arises from existing bacterial pyelonephritis and is observed in immunodeficient people. It causes partial blockage of urine flow.

 

Vulnerable groups

Urinary Tract Infections testUrinary infections usually occur after a certain age and are more common in females. But there are other vulnerable groups as well which are listed below-

  • Patients of spinal cord injuries and nerve damages around the bladder (since they experience difficulty emptying their bladders completely)
  • People having kidney stones or renal tumors
  • Males having enlarged prostate gland (reduced gland secretion leads to increased bacterial growth)
  • Patients with bladder cancer, kidney dysfunctions or any other form of malignancy
  • Patients who have undergone kidney transplants
  • Type 2 Diabetes patients
  • Immunodeficient people

 

Diagnosis

Accurate diagnosis and thorough analysis of urinary tract infections are necessary to determine the underlying causes. The following diagnostic techniques are recommended-

  • Ultrasonography (to examine abnormalities in the functioning of bladder and kidney)
  • Voiding cystourethrogram (to detect abnormalities in urethra and bladder)
  • Computerized Tomography (CT) scan
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
  • Radionuclide scan (to obtain information about the kidney functions)
  • Urodynamics ( testing kidney function)
  • Cystoscopy (to detect swelling, inflammation or other signs of infection)

 

Treatment and prevention

Treatment 

  • Simple UTIs are treated with a course of antibiotics that need to be administered for 3-5 days.
  • Pain relievers are given with the antibiotics to ease the burning sensation while urinating.
  • In case the UTI is at a severe level and may have affected the kidney, a heavier dosage of antibiotics will be prescribed.
  • In case of frequent UTIs, doctors may prescribe a low-dose long-term antibiotic treatment.
  • Antibiotics post sexual intercourse will be administered in case the UTI is caused due to sexual intercourse.
  • In cases of postmenopausal UTIs vaginal estrogen therapy will be recommended.

Prevention 

  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Discuss the side effects of birth control pills with your doctor before starting the course.
  • Do not use scented feminine hygiene products.
  • Wipe from front to back when using a toilet paper.
  • Consume 1 glass of cranberry juice per day and cranberry supplements.
  • Do not hold back the urge to urinate.
  • Drink water before sexual intercourse.
  • Go to the washroom after sexual intercourse.

 

Dos and Don'ts

Dos
  • Consume a lot of water, this helps in flushing out any infections or bacteria that may be present in the body.
  • Go to the washroom when you have the feeling to urinate, holding it in can increase the chances of getting an infection.
  • Consume probiotics; they help in fighting off infections.
Don'ts
  • Indulge in sexual contact, if you have been diagnosed with a UTI; it can make the symptoms worse.
  • Consume alcohol, it can irritate the bladder.
  • Consume caffeine, as it irritates the bladder worsens the infection.

 

 

 

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blood ketone test
Blood Ketone (D3HB) Test The Blood Ketone Test measures and monitors the levels of ketone in the blood which is usually performed…
Goji berry: A traditional Chinese berry that packs the best of antioxidants Goji berry is an ancient berry that is considered to be power-packed with nutrients and antioxidants. Which means…
social media adddiction
Your health in the age of Social Media: Why is digital detox a necessity? Did you know that more than 400 million people are dangerously addicted to social media? Are you one…
blood elements analysis
Vitamin Profile Your doctor will recommend you undergo the vitamin profile test if you are showing signs of either vitamin…
Splenda
Splenda Splenda is an artificial sweetener derived from Stevia plant extracts. It is low in calories and a popular…
Surgery or home-remedy; what is the right way to treat a burn The treatment of a burn injury depends on its severity. You can save a life by offering the…
6 arguments in favour of glucosamine and where can you find it Studies have shown that glucosamine works by preventing the breakdown of cartilage of the joints. This is usually…
Diabetes blood test
Diabetic Profile The diabetic profile is a set of tests used for testing and monitoring the various kinds of Diabetes…
Shilajit: A miracle Himalayan herb for an active and happy life The Himalayas contain more wonders than you thought. Shilajit is a miracle herb that is widely used in…
top 10 deadliest diseases
What are the top 10 deadliest diseases and what is causing them? What are the largest killers of human lives across the globe? Which diseases are the most fatal ones?…
CEA_test
Carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) test CEA or carcinoembryonic test detects the presence of CEA antigen in your blood mainly & determines the effectiveness…
Piaget stages: Do they accurately describe the way the human brain develops?  A common assumption was that children are less competent thinkers as compared to adults, but this was refuted…
blood elements analysis
Blood Element Analysis Test A blood element analysis is a blood test performed to measure the level of toxic elements such as…
anti-chlamydia antibody tets
Anti-Chlamydia Antibody -IgG Test Anti-Chlamydia Antibody - IgG test is performed by collection of urine or genital fluids as sample for testing…
gout diet purines
Gout Diet : Get relief from painful joints by eating these foods Are you a victim of this painful condition? Are medications providing only short relief? Find a list of…
The science behind daith piercing: Can it really cure migraine? Since the ear has several pressure points, it is believed that daith piercing activates the vagus nerve and…
Jack in the box fast food
Jack In the Box : The perils of surging fast food culture in the USA Jack in the Box - How a culture of fast-food can clog your arteries, weaken your heart, fatten…
angiography
Angiography Angiography is a diagnostic tool used to determine the narrowing or blockage in the arteries and veins supplying…
Ultrasound
Abdominal Ultrasound An abdominal ultrasound is used to visualize the organs inside your abdominal cavity including the liver, spleen, gall…
Bromelain: 11 reasons why you should start adding pineapple to your pizza! If you didn't love pineapples already, here are some of the top health benefits that bromelain can bring…
Vitamin b12
Vitamin B12 Test Vitamin b12 is an essential nutrient required for healthy functioning of the nervous system and also development of…
Chlorella: Therapeutic powers of the billion-year-old algae now within your reach Chlorella - A billion year old nutrient-rich algae that can potentially ward off cancers and high cholesterol; the…
leptospira Igm test
Leptospira-IgM Test A Leptospira-IgM test is a blood test which is carried out to detect anti-Leptospira IgM antibody. Leptospirosis is…
Astaxanthin: Why experts believe it could be 550x more potent than vitamin E! What is astaxanthin and why is this new supplement on the block touted as the most powerful antioxidant…
Inhale oxygen, exhale worries: The top breathing exercises and how to perform them Performing the breathing exercise is like becoming mindful of how you breathe.  Here is a list of breathing…
sleep deprivation
Don’t let your sleep deficit grow into memory loss or heart attack Why is sleep important for us? How could sleep deprivation harm you? We bet you didn't know about…
Rheumatoid Arthritis xray
Arthritis Profile Arthritis profile is a panel of primarily blood tests used to detect the presence of arthritis or check…
Vaginoplasty - Post-op care
Vaginoplasty Know more about vaginoplasty, the procedure, post-operative care, best options for treatment, cost, and possible risks. %%sitename%% %
Sputum test Sputum test is a commonly used diagnostic tool that is used to examine the presence of pathogens in…
ureteroscopy
Ureteroscopy Ureteroscopy is the diagnostic procedure which is used for the detection of the kidney stones in addition to…
Juice Plus: Can you really replace actual fruits with pills?  Juice Plus supplements intend to fill nutritional gaps present in our daily diet. But how successful have they…
cystoscopy
Cystoscopy Cystoscopy is a procedure to check the health of the urethra and the bladder. The procedure is also…
improve digestion weight loss
Power up your gut: 8 proven steps on how to improve your digestion Did you know you have a colony of bacteria in your gut that help you in digesting food?…
APL IgM Test
Antiphospholipid Antibody(APL)-IgM test The antiphospholipid antibodies are specific protein in the body directed against the phospholipids. It is used to detect…
lipoprotein A
Lipoprotein (A) Test Lipoprotein (A) test is used to measure and monitor the levels of LDL(Low-Density Lipoprotein) in the bloodstream in…
stain blood
Blood in your stool Know the reason for blood in your stool, toilet bowl or tissue and the important steps to take…
What is the right way to take a pregnancy test? A pregnancy test is undertaken to determine if you have conceived. A home pregnancy test is the most…
Is bronchitis contagious? And how to prevent this infection? It is acute bronchitis that is contagious which means you can contract it from another person or you…
fitness routine fun
10 fantastic ways to make your fitness routine more fun! Are you too bored to exercise? Do you avoid gym cause it's too monotonous? Looking for fun and…
green poop causes
Green poop : What are the reasons and how can you correct it Ever sneak a peek down the toilet only to shockingly find green poop? Why does our poop turn…
cystatin C
Cystatin C Test Cystatin C is a specific single-chain protein that is found in body fluids and is a biomarker for…
hYdroxycut pills
Hydroxycut: How safe are these so-called weight loss supplements? Hydroxycut is a blend of several different ingredients formulated to promote weight loss; powered by a key weight…
lose weight fast
12 easy and instant steps to successful weight loss Do you want to lose weight without losing your mind? Does weight loss always mean saying goodbye to…
Anti-Inflammatory foods: 18 foods to a disease-free you Anti-inflammatory foods are the foods which are known to reduce the inflammation as well as the pain from…
Pelvic_ultrasound
Pelvic Ultrasound Pelvic ultrasound is a process where sound waves are used to create image of your pelvic region organs…
Carb Cycling: Weighing the pros vs the cons of this diet routine Completely discarding carbs from your life will do you more harm than good. Read more about carb cycling,…

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