Prevent Having Urinary Tract Infection or Uti

Edited by Shalom, Anonymous, Graeme, Lynn and 2 others

Are you having a hard time urinating? Do you feel pain every time you urinate? Maybe you have a urinary tract infection, also known as a UTI. Urinary tract infection can take the forms of cystitis (bladder infection) or pyelonephritis (kidney infection). It is a kind of bacterial infection, usually caused by Escherichia coli (E. coli) that is found in the human feces.

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The Urinary System

The urinary system is responsible for producing, storing and excreting or eliminating urine. It consists of several parts, namely:

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    Kidneys – There are two kidneys.
    These are bean-like organs that are made up of small units called "nephrons" responsible for the ultrafiltration of the blood. Ultrafiltration means the finest wastes are picked up by the nephrons so that the returning blood to circulatory is clean while the waste is transformed into urine for excretion.
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    Ureters – There are also two of these, with each kidney having one.
    The ureter conveys the urine from the kidneys to the organ for storage, the bladder.
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    Bladder – This is a sac or bag-like structure that stores urine before it is voided out during the process of urination.
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    Urethra – This is small tube that transmits the urine from the bladder.
    In males, the urethra is a common passage way for both urine and semen. In case of females, the urethra is short. Improper or unhygienic practices can introduce fecal matter from the anus to the proximately located urethra and cause an infection. In males, the urethra runs the length of the penis. It is not as short as the female urethra; this morphology makes them less prone to UTI.
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    Sphincter muscles – These muscles – an internal and an external sphincter - control the voiding of urine.
    These function in preventing the back flow of the urine. Back flow of urine, as well as incomplete voiding of urine, can also trigger UTI. Urination is fundamentally involuntary among babies, but control is developed as the child grows older.
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Types of Urinary Tract Infection

Cystitis

This refers to the infection of the bladder or the lower urinary tract. It is the most common type of UTI.

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    Its symptoms include:
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    1. Severe infection that can come with high temperature or fever
    2. Pain when urinating, particularly above the pubic bone, in the lower back or in the abdomen
    3. Frequent urge and need to urinate
    4. Traces of blood may be found in the excreted urine
    5. The color of the urine is dark and/or cloudy
    6. The urine has a strong smell
    7. The bladder is incompletely voided so that little urine is passed each time
    8. Burning sensation when urinating
    9. Feeling of weakness and higher body temperature may be experienced by older women, but none of the other signs and symptoms
    10. Children may show these symptoms, plus weakness and vomiting
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    There are several types and causes of cystitis:
     
    1. Traumatic cystitis is, in all probability, the most commonly experienced form of cystitis among women. It is primarily triggered by the bruising of the bladder, which is typically caused by sexual contact. If the bruise is exposed to feces, then infection follows.
    2. Interstitial cystitis (IC) is the irritation of the bladder with an unknown origin. There is no bacterial infection and some think that it can be a case of an autoimmune problem where the immune system is attacking the bladder.
    3. Eosinophilic cystitis is an uncommon form of cystitis. It can only be diagnosed through biopsy. Its cause is also not very clear, but it has been observed to have higher incidence in kids who have been exposed to certain types of medicines. This type of cystitis causes a lot of eosinophils to infiltrate the walls of the bladder.
    4. Radiation cystitis, as the name suggests, is the type developed by those who are undergoing radiation therapy to treat malignant growths and full blown cancer.
    5. Hemorrhagic cystitis is the type that can develop when one is subjected to cyclophosphamide therapy.
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Pyelonephritis

This is a common renal disease or infection, caused by bacteria that affects the upper urinary tract or the kidneys. It mainly infects the interstitial area, as well as the renal pelvis and the renal tubules of the kidney.

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It can be chronic or acute. Persistent kidney inflammation characterizes the chronic type and that can scar the kidneys. This is serious, as it can lead to renal failure. This is the usual outcome for patients who are predisposed to persistent acute pyelonephritis triggered by urinary obstructions (vesicoureteral reflux).

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    Symptoms of pyelonephritis
     
    1. Acute infections manifest rapid development of symptoms:  
      1. Fever develops first
      2. Then the color of the urine changes
      3. Pain and soreness in the flank follows
      4. There is also loss of appetite and headache
    2. Chronic pyelonephritis may start without any symptoms or symptoms so mild they are unnoticed. By the time symptoms start manifesting, it may have already caused irreversible damage in the kidney.  
      1. Hypertension or high blood pressure
      2. Anemia
    3. Other Symptoms:  
      1. Shaking chills with high fever
      2. Pain in the joints, flank and muscles
      3. Seizure in children, or confusion
      4. Irritative-voiding symptoms or the burning sensation as urine is passed out
      5. Frequent and urgent feel to urinate
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    Causes of Pyelonephritis
     
    1. Bacterial infection. Pyelonephritis is always caused by bacteria. The only question is the origin of the bacteria. They may come from an infection somewhere else in the body. If the bacteria find their way into the bloodstream, it can travel to the kidney. The most common source is the feces which can infect the urethra with improper hygiene. This leads to the so called "ascending infection."
    2. Reflux or backflow of urine. There can be a backward flow of urine or reflux when there is an anatomical defect that is causing an obstruction along the urethra. Defects in the structure are hard to correct which is why the infection can become chronic or recurrent. Among older men, obstruction can be related to prostate problems. Among younger men, it can be a result of an STD. For women the obstruction can be triggered by a scar or stricture due to an infection IN the urethra.
    3. Reflux triggered by insertion of catheters. Inserting a catheter or instrument (cytoscopes) through the urethra can also trigger infection. Such are usually harder to treat causing the formation of scars and such that can cause back flow of urine.
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Prevention

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    Maintain good hygiene.
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    This is important especially important for women after sexual intercourse. It also helps to use neutral or unscented washes. Urinating immediately after intercourse helps flush the bacteria.
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    Wear the right type of underwear.
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    Avoid wearing tight underclothing. Cotton underwear is preferable because, being cooler, it does not trap heat. It will less likely cause irritation.
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    Practice proper hygiene, especially after urinating or defecating.
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    When wiping, do it from front to back and not the other way around. This is less likely to introduce fecal matters into the opening of your urethra.
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    Usage of spermicide or a diaphragm is advised.
    The chemicals in these birth control contraceptives can also kill the entering bacteria.
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    Whenever you want to go, do it immediately.
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    Do not delay because it can increase the risk of developing cystitis. When urinating, make sure to completely empty your bladder.
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    If your doctor prescribes the insertion of a catheter while you are confined in a hospital, ask the nurse to be careful so as not to irritate your urethra.
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    Use of daily antibiotics.
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    This will ensure that infection will not recur, but you should not be on antibiotics too long or you may develop a resistance to them.
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    Drink cranberry juice.
    It has many healthy benefits.
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    Avoid drinking too much beer and liquor.
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    Intake of water is very important.
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    This will keep you urinating and flushing those bacteria entering your excretory or urinary system.
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    Limit yourself when eating salty foods and carbonated drinks.
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Categories : Health & Wellness

Recent edits by: Nerissa Avisado, Lynn, Graeme

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