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Urinary tract infections (UTIs)
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are infections that occur in any part along the urinary tract, such as the bladder, kidneys, ureters or urethra.1
UTIs are mainly caused by bacteria which enter the urinary tract through the urethra. Bacteria may cause infections in the bladder or even the kidneys.1
The most common causative agents are Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella, enterococci bacteria, etc. Chlamydia and Mycoplasma may also cause infection and may be sexually transmitted.2
|The urinary tract is structured to prevent infections. The one-way valves in the ureters prevent urine from flowing back to the kidney. The prostate glands of men produce secretions which inhibit bacterial growth.2|
Certain factors and conditions may increase the risk of developing UTIs. These include:1,2,3
How common is it?
In the United States, UTIs are the second most common type of infection in the body, accounting for approximately 8.1 million visits to healthcare providers each year.2 Women are especially prone to UTIs as their urethra is shorter, allowing bacteria to have quicker access to the bladder. In addition, a woman’s urethral opening is near potential sources of bacteria such as the anus and vagina. For women, the lifetime risk of having a UTI is greater than 50%. UTIs in men are less common but can be serious when they occur.2
When UTIs are treated promptly and properly they rarely lead to complications. However, if left untreated, a UTI may result in acute or chronic kidney infections with potentially permanent damage to your kidneys. Individuals at high risk of complicated UTIs include the elderly, young children and pregnant women.3
Common symptoms of bladder infections include:1
In case of kidney infections, the patient may present additional symptoms:1
Antibiotic treatment is the mainstay for managing UTIs. The choice of medication and length of treatment depend on severity of the disease, patient’s condition, types of UTIs and type of bacteria causing the infection.2
In uncomplicated UTI, which occurs in a healthy person with a normal, unobstructed urinary tract, treatment with antibiotics for 2–3 days may be sufficient. However, in complicated cases (eg, pregnant women, transplant patients, structural or functional abnormalities of the urinary tract), longer treatment may be required.2 Commonly used antibiotics include sulfonamides, β-lactams, tetracyclines and fluoroquinolones.3
For chronic UTI (UTI which keeps coming back), longer antibiotic therapy or stronger antibiotics may be required.3
Tips to recovery:2,3
Some lifestyle modifications may lower the chance of having UTIs.1,2,3
1. Urinary tract infections - adults. Medline Plus Web Site. Available at: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000521.htm . Accessed 5 June 2012.
2. Urinary tract infections in adults. National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NKUDIC) Web Site. Available at: http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/kudiseases/pubs/utiadult/. Accessed 5 June 2012.
3. Urinary tract infection. Mayo Clinic Web Site. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/urinary-tract-infection/DS00286. Accessed 5 June 2012.
The above information is provided for your reference only.
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