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.

Facts

  • 1 in 5 women will have a urinary tract infection at least once in her life. 80% of them will have recurrent UTIs.
  • Women tend to have a higher chance of getting UTIs than men. Since their urethra is shorter it is easier for the bacteria to enter the bladder.

Facts

  • Pregnant women who have UTI have a higher chance of giving birth to premature babies or babies that are underweight at birth.
  • Wearing pantyhose or tight trousers tend to increase the chances of developing UTI. This is because they may irritate skin, trap heat, and may contribute to bacterial growth.

Facts

  • If UTIs are treated early and properly, it reduces the chances of kidney diseases and infections.
  • The risk of UTIs is higher in diabetics and in men with enlarged prostate.

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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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25-Hydroxy Vitamin D test 25-hydroxy Vitamin D test is a blood test used to measure the level of vitamin D in the…
anoscopy
Anoscopy Anoscopy is an invasive diagnostic procedure where a small device known as anoscope will be inserted in the…
ureteroscopy
Ureteroscopy Ureteroscopy is the diagnostic procedure which is used for the detection of the kidney stones in addition to…
carrageenan seaweed
Carrageenan: How a simple seaweed extract could better your gut health & immunity Eat more ice cream to prevent cold and flu? –With carrageenan you get one simple seaweed extract that…
sugar toxic health
Sugar: 7 new shocking truths revealed about the sweet poison Can drinking soda bring you closer to death? Is sugar slowly poisoning you and your family? You would…
L-theanine attention
L-Theanine: Better sleep, higher focus, and many other benefits Did you know that L-theanine found in green tea can make you sleep better and be focused at…
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?…
Plexus Slim: Is this pink slimming drink the ultimate one-stop fat burner? How effective is Plexus Slim in helping people lose weight? What are its ingredients? Can it be safely…
liver cleanse detox
14 go-to foods that are best for a complete natural liver detox Liver cleanse can be achieved by just choosing or avoiding certain types of food. Liver itself is a detoxifying…
Balneotherapy jacuzzi
5 things you didn’t know about balneotherapy and how you can do it at home Sauna baths have been popular since a long time. But how much more beneficial can balneotherapy be as…
EEG
Electroencephalogram – EEG EEG or electroencephalogram is a diagnostic tool used to access the functioning of neurons and brain activity to…
LFT-test
Liver Function Test – LFT LFT or Liver Function Test is a blood test used to determine the levels of hepatic enzymes which…
HSV-1_IGG
Herpes Simplex Virus I (HSV)-IgG Test Herpes simplex virus I(HSV)-IgG is an Immunoglobulin protein that acts as an antibody & stays in the blood…
apolipoprotein a1 test
Apolipoprotein -A1 (APO-A1) Test Apolipoprotein A-I (Apo-A1) constitutes 70% of protein content in high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and helps in lipid metabolism.
Squid-ink-spaghetti
Squid Ink: A unique food coloring and flavoring agent Want to add a unique black color to your pasta, noodles and ice-creams? How can you use squid…
Squid-ink-spaghetti
Squid Ink: A unique food coloring and flavoring agent Want to add a unique black color to your pasta, noodles and ice-creams? How can you use squid…
Squid-ink-spaghetti
Squid Ink: A unique food coloring and flavoring agent Want to add a unique black color to your pasta, noodles and ice-creams? How can you use squid…
Hepatitis A virus infected liver
Hepatitis A Virus (HAV) Total Blood test to look for IgM antibodies to know if you are infected with Hepatitis A virus (HAV),…
alcohol toxic
7 startling facts that will make you quit alcohol today Does drinking really make you friendly and happy? How many calories does a can of cold beer add…
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…
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…
nutritional yeast bread
Nutritional Yeast : How can a fungi culture be good for your body? Nutritional yeast: How a simple culture of fungi can transform your skin, digestion, immunity , and much more.…
avocado benefits
Avocado: 15 reasons why this fruit should be a staple in your diet Did you know that the word avocado literally means "testicles". Don't get grossed out as this power-packed fruit…
Cottage cheese: What can you find in this healthy chunk of fresh milk cheese? Love cheese but scared of putting on extra pounds? With cottage cheese, you can get the best of…
General adaptation syndrome: Understanding stress, one step at a time The struggle of the body to produce hormones during a stressful situation is the main theme of general…
Inversion Therapy: The anti-gravity way of healing chronic back pain Inversion therapy involves suspending a person upside dow using different types of equipment. This works by taking the…
The Cabbage Soup Diet: The healthiest way to instant weight loss Cabbage soup diet rapid weight loss diet for those who want to shed those extra pounds in less…
How to scrub away stress and fatigue with an Epsom salt bath? Epsom salt is a popular home remedy for many skin ailments. Though there is a lack of scientific…
reflexology massage
Top reasons why you should go for a reflexology massage today Reflexology involves the application of pressure to your feet and hands to encourage self-healing. Could this be beneficial…
phenytoin test
Phenytoin test Phenytoin is a drug that is administered mainly to epilepsy patients. The phenytoin blood test measures the level…
Rubella IgM test
Rubella IgM Test The Rubella IgM test is a blood test that is performed to diagnose the presence of the rubella…
Thyroid disorders
Thyroid Profile Thyroid profile is a panel of blood tests performed to check if an individual is suffering from any…
Unbelievable health benefits of gooseberries (and a few tasty recipes) Gooseberries are antioxidant-rich tasty fruits that can be easily added in daily diet to improve overall health and…
piles fissure fistula
Allopathy vs homeopathy vs ayurveda treatment for piles, fissures, and fistula Read to know the best form of treatment among allopathy, homeopathy,or ayurveda for piles, fissures, and fistula
Optavia diet
The features of an Optavia diet The Optavia diet endorses pre-packaged meals and snacks called "fuelings" that are tasty, low in calorie, and incorporates…
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…
aspartame or sugar
Aspartame – Hidden truths about this storm in a teacup Aspartame, the artificial sweetener, has gone under the scanner on several occasions for allegedly doing more harm than…
High Fiber Diet – Fire up your fiber intake for these health benefits! Regular bowels, healthy detox, higher immunity, and guaranteed weight loss - a high fiber diet can bring all…