Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)- An Overview


A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection that affects any part of the urinary system, which includes the kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra . The urinary system is responsible for producing, storing and eliminating urine from the body. UTIs are very common and can cause discomfort, pain and serious health problems if left untreated .

UTIs can be classified into two types: uncomplicated and complicated. Uncomplicated UTIs are infections that occur in healthy individuals with normal urinary tract anatomy and function. They usually affect the lower urinary tract (the bladder and the urethra) and are also known as cystitis or bladder infections. Uncomplicated UTIs rarely lead to severe complications and can be treated with antibiotics .

Complicated UTIs are infections that are associated with factors that compromise the urinary tract or the host defense, such as urinary obstruction, retention, foreign bodies, surgery, kidney stones, diabetes, pregnancy, menopause, immunosuppression or anatomical abnormalities. They may affect the upper urinary tract (the kidneys and the ureters) and are also known as pyelonephritis or kidney infections. Complicated UTIs are more difficult to treat and may result in permanent kidney damage, sepsis or death .

The most common cause of UTIs is bacteria that enter the urinary tract through the urethra from the skin or the rectum. The most common type of bacteria is Escherichia coli (E. coli), which normally lives in the gastrointestinal tract. Other bacteria that can cause UTIs include Klebsiella pneumoniae, Staphylococcus saprophyticus, Enterococcus faecalis, Proteus mirabilis, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Candida spp .

The symptoms of UTIs vary depending on the part of the urinary tract that is infected and the severity of the infection. Some common symptoms include a strong urge to urinate, a burning sensation when urinating, frequent or small amounts of urine, cloudy or bloody urine, strong-smelling urine, pelvic pain or pressure, lower back pain or fever .

UTIs can be diagnosed by a health care provider based on the symptoms and medical history of the patient. Urine tests may be performed to check for the presence and type of bacteria causing the infection. Other tests such as cystoscopy, CT scan or MRI may be done to look for any abnormalities in the urinary tract .

UTIs can be treated with antibiotics prescribed by a health care provider. The type, dose and duration of antibiotics depend on the type and severity of the infection and the patient`s medical condition. It is important to complete the prescribed course of antibiotics to prevent recurrence or resistance of the infection. Drinking plenty of water, urinating frequently, practicing good hygiene and avoiding irritants can help prevent or relieve UTIs .