Urinary Tract Infection: symptoms, diagnosis and treatment

May 03, 2021

A Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) is an infection caused by microbes. Most UTIs are caused by bacteria, however, some are caused by fungi and in rare cases can also be a result of viruses. These are one of the most common infections found in humans. A UTI can occur anywhere in the urinary tract: kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra.

UTI symptoms

According to the best urology hospital in India, the symptoms vary depending upon which part of the tract is infected. Lower tract UTIs affect the urethra and bladder. These symptoms range from:

  • burning while urinating
  • increase in the frequency to urinate but inability to pass much urine
  • increase in the urge to urinate
  • blood in the urine
  • cloudy urine
  • urine of a different colour (looks like cola or tea)
  • urine having a strong odour
  • pelvic pain in women
  • rectal pain in men
  • The upper tract UTIs, however, affect your kidneys. Please keep in mind that these can pose a serious threat to life if the bacteria move from the infected kidney into your bloodstream. The condition is known as urosepsis and can cause dangerously low blood pressure, shock, and even death. Symptoms include:

  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • pain and tenderness in the upper back and sides
  • chills
  • fever
  • UTI diagnosis

    If you notice any of these symptoms, get in touch with your doctor. The doctor will examine your symptoms and then do a physical examination. This includes testing your urine for microbes. The urine sample you submit should be what is called a ‘clean catch’. This means you should collect your sample at the middle of your urinary stream, rather than the start. This will avoid the collection of bacteria or yeast from the skin, thus avoiding contamination of the sample.

    Diagnosis involves looking for large amounts of white blood cells, which is a clear sign of infection. A urine culture will also be done to test for bacteria or fungi, which will help in figuring out the cause. This will also help in determining the right method of treatment. However, if your doctor suspects a virus, special tests will be needed. Viruses are rare but they might appear in people who’ve undergone organ transplants or whose immune system is low due to certain conditions. 

    UTI Treatment

    UTIs are of two types: simple and complicated. Simple UTIs occur in people with normal urinary tracts, whereas complicated UTIs occur in people with abnormal urinary tracts or when they can’t be treated by many antibiotics. Women mainly have simple UTIs. Men and children mainly exhibit complicated UTIs. 

    Simple UTI

    Most of the simple UTIs can be treated with a 3-day course of antibiotics. But there might be some cases which might take longer. The main symptoms will start subsiding after just a few doses, but it’s crucial that you complete the full course. Because if the UTI is not fully treated, it can return. Also, make sure you drink plenty of fluids and foods rich in water content, especially when you’re suffering from a UTI. 

    Complicated UTI

    In case of complicated UTIs, a longer course of antibiotics will be required. At times, the antibiotics might be delivered intravenously in the hospital. Kidney infections are usually treated as complicated UTI.

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