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The urinary tract consists of the kidneys, ureters, urinary bladder and the urethra. Any infection of this tract is called as urinary tract infection (UTI). The urinary bladder is commonly involved in a UTI and the infection is generally non-serious when treated right away. However, if the treatment is delayed, the pathogens may ascend to the kidneys and infect them. An infection of the kidneys is a serious condition and may lead to permanent damage.
Unlike other infections, urinary tract infections tend to recur. A person is said to be suffering from a recurrent UTI if he has two episodes of UTI within 6 months or three episodes within a year.
- 80 percent of all UTIs are caused by Escherichia coli
- 10 to 15 percent of the cases are caused by Staphylococcus saprophyticus.
- Enterococcus, Klebsiella, Enterobacter, and Proteus species are also implicated in certain cases.
Common symptoms of UTI
Common symptoms of UTI include pain and burning during micturition (urination), strong and frequent urge to urinate, passing small amount of urine, heaviness in lower abdomen, change in the color or odor of urine, blood in the urine, pain in the side of the back under the ribs, nausea and vomiting, and fever associated with chills.
People more prone to develop UTIs
Although anybody can suffer from UTI, people suffering from any sort of spinal cord injury or damage to nerves innervating the urinary bladder, are more prone to develop UTIs. This is because of the stasis of urine in the bladder for a long time allowing bacteria to multiply. Similarly any obstruction in the normal passage of the urine caused by kidney or ureteric stone, enlarged prostate gland or any other growth, can lead to the development of UTI.
People suffering from diabetes or any other condition which lowers the body’s natural defense mechanism are more likely to suffer from UTI.
The presence of catheters or any other tubes in the urethra or the bladder interfere with the body’s innate ability to flush out microbes. In certain cases, catheters may themselves be a source of infection. That is why the Infectious Diseases Society of America advocates the use of catheters for the smallest duration of time possible.
Recurrent UTI in men usually occurs because the bacteria hide deep inside the prostate tissue and multiply there. However, women are far more prone to develop recurrent UTIs.