Infection of the urinary tract which consists of the bladder, ureters, urethra and a couple of kidneys, is called the urinary tract infection. In course of urinary tract infection, any of the organs comprising urinary system responsible for storing and eliminating urine may be affected. Urinary tract infection is mainly caused by bacteria.

Causes of Urinary Tract Infection

  • A bacterium by the name of Escherichia coli is responsible for causing urinary tract infection.
  • Besides E coli, Staphylococcus saprophyticus also leads to urinary infection in about five to ten percentage of cases.
  • Having made its way into the urinary tract, it keeps multiplying in number causing infection.
  • With urethra being close to bladder in women, females susceptibility to urinary tract infection is relatively more.
  • Young women leading an active sexual life, sex contributes to urinary tract infection or (UTI).
  • Use of catheter may also cause urinary tract infection.
  • Use of diaphragm as a means of birth control also makes one more susceptible to urinary infection.
  • Increase in the size of the prostate gland may also contribute to the infection.
  • Diabetes also makes one more prone to urinary tract infection.
  • Contracting UTI especially that related to lower urinary tract may well be a hereditary strain.

Types of Urinary Tract Infection

  • While cystitis refers to the infection of the bladder. It is a common infection affecting the lower urinary tract.
  • Pyelonephrytis affects the upper urinary tract. It is rare but being an infection of the blood borne type, the consequences are more serious.

Symptoms of Urinary Tract Infection

  • Dysuria or burning sensation on urination is the most common symptom of this infection.
  • Frequent urge to pass urine may be another associated symptom, particularly if the infection has affected both the urethra and bladder.
  • Infection affecting the lower urinary tract may also involve urination with streaks of blood in it.
  • Urine cloudy in appearance together with foul smell is some of the associated symptoms of urinary tract infection.
  • Low temperature, abdominal pain may also accompany urinary tract infection affecting the urethra.
  • Inertia, lethargy and irritability are some of the secondary symptoms of urinary tract infection affecting adults.
  • Children affected by the mentioned infection may develop jaundice and drop in the body temperature giving way to 'hypothermia'.
  • Inability to control urination may also be one of the symptoms of urinary tract infection.
  • Quite contrarily, some of the affected individuals may be unable to pass urine despite the requisite urge.

Diagnoses of Urinary Tract Infection

  • Mostly diagnosis is made on the basis of symptoms.
  • Urine analysis can also point out the presence of bacteria by testifying to the presence of 'nitrites', 'leukocytes' or 'leukocyte esterase'
  • Microscopic study of urine may point to the presence of bacteria, R.B.C and W.B.C.
  • Urine culture which points out the extent of infection is also helpful in determining the choice of antibiotics.
  • In case the urine culture presents a negative result, persistence of symptoms may point to the presence of other infections including prostaitis and interstitial cystitis.

Treatment for Urinary Tract Infection

  • In cases involving no complication, administration of antibiotics usually proves to be effective.
  • Usually 'fluroquinolone', 'cephalosporin' and 'nitrofurantoin' are prescribed as part of the treatment regimen.
  • To go by the latest treatment regimen, a formula based on 'sulfamethaxazole' is prescribed along with 'trimethoprim' for maximum effectiveness.
  • Usually the mentioned antibiotics are prescribed for a period of three days. The same regimen is prescribed for children.
  • Overuse of these antibiotics may result in allergic reaction.
  • For the treatment of 'pylonephritis' the same combination of the two drugs is prescribed; but for better affectivity they are administered by intravenous means.
  • Besides two of the mentioned drugs, 'gentamicin', 'ceftriaxone' are also prescribed to cure the conditions of 'pylonephritis'.

Self Care and Preventive Measures for Urinary Tract Infection

  • Usually recurrent attacks of urinary tract infection are often treated with the patient being subject to extended dosage of antibiotics.
  • Patients undergoing treatment are advised to complete the prescribed course of medication, even if the symptoms subside.
  • While undergoing treatment, one should avoid smoking and consuming alcoholic and caffeinated beverages which cause irritation to the bladder.
  • Spicy food should be avoided for similar reasons.
  • One is also advised to consume plenty of water and healthy juices.
  • Juice extracted from cranberries is medicinally effective in curing the conditions of urinary tract infection.
  • Care should be taken to maintain proper hygiene.