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Urinary Tract Infection in Women


What is Urinary Tract Infection in Women?


A urinary tract infection is an infection that affects the organs responsible for producing and excreting urine. The kidneys, ureters (long, narrow tubes linking the kidneys to the bladder), bladder, and urethra are among these structures. When looking at urinary tract infections, medical professionals generally categorize them into two different types: lower tract infections and upper tract infections.



Infections of the lower tract — Cystitis is an infection of the bladder (bladder infection). Bacteria found in the intestine are the most common cause of lower urinary tract infections. Bacteria spread from the anus to the urethra and then to the bladder, they grow and cause infection.

Upper urinary tract infections affect the ureters and kidneys. These kidney infections are referred to as pyelonephritis. Upper urinary tract infections are often caused by germs travelling up the urinary system from the bladder into the kidney. They can happen when bacteria travel via the bloodstream from other parts of the body and settle in the kidney.

Women are significantly more likely than males to be affected because their urethras are shorter, allowing germs to enter the bladder more easily. Bacteria can move upward into the bladder during sexual intercourse. Additionally, the use of contraceptive diaphragms and spermicides may alter the natural bacterial environment around the urethra, increasing the risk of infection.

Pregnant women are at an increased risk of cystitis and pyelonephritis because of temporary changes in the physiology and anatomy of the urinary system. Kidney and bladder infections can be extremely dangerous for pregnant women and their unborn children since they raise the chance of preterm labour or delivery, as well as the death of the fetus or newborn infant.



Symptoms

Infections of the lower and upper gastrointestinal system can cause one or more of the following symptoms:

Urination that is unusually frequent.

Urge to urinate strongly.

During urinating, you may experience pain, discomfort, or a burning sensation.

In the region of the bladder, there is pain, pressure, or soreness (midline, above or near the pubic area).

Urine that is cloudy, smells foul or has an exceptionally strong smell.

Fever (chills).

Vomiting and nausea.

Mid-to-upper or side back pain

Getting out of bed to pass urine

Bedwetting



Diagnosis


Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and whether you have ever experienced a urinary tract infection. He or she will also inquire about your sexual history, including any sexually transmitted illness (STI) history for you and your partner, condom usage, numerous partners, diaphragm and/or spermicide use, and whether you are pregnant. Your doctor will also inquire about any other medical issues you may have, such as diabetes, which might make you more prone to infections.

You'll be asked to provide a urine sample, which will be examined at a laboratory for bacteria and other signs of infection. Your urine sample may also be submitted to a laboratory to determine the type of bacteria present and the antibiotics that can be used to treat it. Your doctor may prescribe a blood test to determine your white blood cell count if you have a fever or other signs of an upper tract infection. Infection is indicated by a high white cell count. Bacterial growth can also be detected in the blood. This is referred to as a blood culture.

Additional testing may be required in people who have symptoms of a severe kidney infection or who have frequent episodes of lower or upper urinary tract infections, such as:

A scan of your kidneys and urinary system using computed tomography (CT).

An ultrasound examination.

Cystoscopy is a procedure in which your doctor uses narrow, hollow telescope-like equipment to examine the inside of your bladder.


Recovery timeframe


It takes two to three days to heal most simple urinary tract infections if they are treated properly The symptoms of a kidney infection may take many days to go completely.

Prevention

To help avoid urinary tract infections, do the following:

Each day, drink several glasses of water. Fluids help prevent germs from growing in your urinary system by flushing them away. Cranberry juice may deter bacterial growth by reducing bacteria's ability to adhere to the urethra.

Cranberry juice may deter bacterial growth by reducing bacteria's ability to adhere to the urethra.

Women are advised to wipe from front to back to prevent intestinal bacteria from travelling from the rectum to the urinary system.

Decrease the spread of bacteria during sexual activity. To cleanse germs from your urethra, urinate after sexual activity. If you continue to have infections, speak with your doctor about taking antibiotics after sex to reduce your chance of developing urinary tract infections.

Read more: CAN URINARY TRACT INFECTIONS BE PREVENTED?

Treatment

Antibiotics are used to treat infections of the lower and upper urinary tract. The best antibiotic for therapy can be determined by laboratory tests. Most simple lower tract infections are treated with a three-day course of antibiotics, however, women who are pregnant or who have diseases that weaken the immune system, such as diabetes, may require prolonged treatment.

Antibiotic treatment is generally given to those with upper tract infections for 10 to 14 days. Severe upper-respiratory infections may necessitate hospitalization and antibiotics administered through a vein (intravenously). This is especially true if nausea, vomiting, and fever put the individual in danger of dehydration and make it impossible for them to take oral antibiotics.

When should you see a Doctor?

If you have frequent urination, a strong need to pee, discomfort when urinating, or other signs of a urinary tract infection, see your doctor immediately. If you experience signs of a kidney infection, such as fever, nausea, vomiting, or discomfort in your side or back, you should visit a doctor. Any pregnant woman experiencing signs of an upper or lower urinary tract infection should see her doctor right away.


Prognosis


After a woman has been healed of cystitis, she has a 20% probability of re-infection. She has a 30% chance of contracting a third infection after the second. If a woman has three or more episodes of cystitis in a year and her urinary tract structure and anatomy are normal, her doctor may recommend antibiotic treatment to reduce the risk of recurrent infections.

Disclaimer:

No content on this site, regardless of date, should be used to replace direct medical advice from your doctor or another trained practitioner.

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