Urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection caused by microbes. Microbes are organisms that are too small to be seen with the naked eyes. They can only be seen with the aid of a microscope. These microbes include bacteria, but some are caused by fungi and in rare cases by viruses.

Urinary tract infection happens in the urinary tract which is made up of the kidneys, ureters, urethra, and bladder but most times in urethra and bladder. UTIs are a leading cause of morbidity and healthcare expenditure in persons of all ages.

Risk Factors of UTI

Male and females including children are of risk of UTI, but women are at more risk because of the structure of the female genital organ. In other words, they have a shorter urethra and the urethra itself is much closer to the rectal opening which is the most common source of bacteria.

According to World health Organisation, an estimated 50% of women have UTI at some point in their lives. Other risk factors include;

  1. Suppressed immune system: Disease conditions like Diabetes mellitus that impair the immune system making the body susceptible to germs, increases the risk of UTI.
  2. Urinary tract blockage: When there is blockage in the urinary tract as can be seen in kidney stone, the risk of UTI is increased.
  3. Abnormalities in the urinary tract: Newborn babies born Urinary tract abnormalities which leads to urine retention are also at risk of UTIs.
  4. Pregnancy
  5. Frequent sexual intercourse
  6. Menopause.

Symptoms

Some of the symptoms include painful urination, bloody and cloudy urine, increased urgency of urination, foul smelling urine, rectal pain in men, pelvic pain in women, pain and tenderness in the upper back and sides, chills, fever, nausea and vomiting.

Prevention

  1. Maintain good hygiene especially after using the convenience and while bathing.
  2. Avoid wearing tight-fitting undergarments made of non breathing materials because this leads to accumulation of moisture.
  3. Drink more water.
  4. Empty your bladder regularly.

Treatment

Treatment of UTI starts from right laboratory diagnosis after signs and symptoms must have presented. Self medication is not advisable as the various laboratory analysis especially microbial sensitivity will reveal the exact antibiotics for the organism detected.

Antibiotics used for treatment of UTI kill the organism that causes the infection. It is important to take them as prescribed by your doctor because a minor UTI can turn into a serious kidney or blood infection if drugs are not taken strictly as prescribed.

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