UTI stands for urinary tract infection, one of the common types of infections that particularly affects women. An UTI is usually a bacterial infection that can occur in any part of the urinary tract, but it commonly appears in the bladder.
Acute urinary tract infections or UTI are particularly common in sexually active women, in people who have sickle-cell disease, diabetes and anatomical abnormalities in the urinary tract. The bacteria are not normally present in the urine and they can enter through the urethra, migrating from the vagina or due to poor toilet hygiene. Pregnancy and enlarged prostate are also factors that increase the risk of UTI in women and men respectively.
UTI can occur anywhere in the urinary tract, which consists of bladder, kidneys, urethers and urethra.
Causes of UTI
The microorganisms commonly found to be responsible for an UTI include E. coli, staphylococci, etrococci, proteus, candida and klebsiella. There are certain predisposing causes that should also be taken in consideration, like enlarged prostate, neuropathic bladder, kidney stones, polycystic kidney disease, diabetes, catheterization and vesico-ureteric reflux. These are all in regards of acute urinary tract infection.
As for the chronic UTI, causes and risk factors include untreated or inadequately treated acute UTI, enlarged prostate, stones, stricture, stasis in bladder and several more.
Symptoms of acute UTI
One of the most prominent symptoms of an acute UTI includes frequent urge to urinate with little or no urine, nocturia or the urge to urinate during the night, pain, discomfort or burning sensation while urinating, blood or pus in urine, foul smell of urine and mild fever. However, it is worth remembering that an UTI can be asymptomatic, meaning it does not necessarily have to cause any symptoms.
Treatment of acute UTI
In order to treat an acute urinary tract infection it is recommended to first perform diagnostic tests that will determine the type of microorganism that is causing the infection. This is important because different organisms are treated with different medications. Candida cannot be treated with antibiotics and bacteria cannot be treated with anti-fungal medications. Sometimes more than one medication is required in order to successfully treat the infection.
However, in mild cases the treatment can be done at home, using home remedies combined with bed rest and consumption of large amounts of fluids.
As for the prevention, it is important to maintain good personal hygiene, to wipe from the front towards the back, to always empty the bladder completely and to get tested for STDs. Taking plenty of fluids, especially water, and maintaining the alkalinity of the urine are also important factors in prevention of UTI.