A urinary tract infection (UTI) affects the urinary tract (comprising of bladder, kidneys and connecting tubes that generates urine and expels it from the body). Infection of the lower urinary tract or simple cystitis is associated with frequent or painful urination. Infection of the upper urinary tract or kidney infection are associated with fever and flank pain in addition to symptoms of lower UTI. Urinary infections are more common in women.
The main cause for both types of urinary tract infections are E.coli however other bacteria, viruses or fungi may be responsible. Urinary catheters also increase the risk of infection.
You may be infected in case you experience any of the following:
- Pain / burning sensation while urinating
- Pain above the pubic bone or lower back pain
- Flank pain
- Nausea or vomiting
- Blood or pus in urine (in rare cases)
Urinary tract infection can be diagnosed with the symptoms along with urine analysis for confirmation. Urine microscopy or urine culture may also be recommended by your physician.
Your doctor may prescribe Antibiotics to cure the infection. Drinking enough fluids and emptying the bladder frequently may also help reduce the infection.
Risks of urinary tract infection can be reduced by following the simple tips
- Adequate fluid intake
- Urinating often rather than holding it
- In case of women, urinate right after sex
- In case of women who have reached post menopause, talk to your doctor about vaginal estrogen to prevent recurrences of UTI.