Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) happens when either the bladder, kidneys, urethra and ureter becomes infected by bacteria. The most common sites of urinary tract infection occur at the urethra and bladder.
Women most commonly suffer from UTIs mainly because of the urethra's shorter length. Also, the close distance between the vaginal and anal openings increases the risk for urinary tract infections in women. There are fewer incidences of urinary infections occurring at the kidneys or the ureter. This kind of infection is inconvenient because it is painful, as well as irritating. It is always best to diagnose and treat a urinary tract infection before it worsens and leads to a potentially severe medical condition.
Symptoms of a Urinary Tract Infection
There are some mild urinary tract infections that do not show any symptoms to alert the sufferer. Then there are those that exhibit the usual symptoms of this kind of infection.
These common symptoms include:
- frequent strong urges to urinate (despite having urinated just minutes before)
- pain and a burning sensation when urinating
- having bloody or cloudy urine
- frequent urination in small amounts
Other symptoms may be exhibited, depending on where the infection occurs.
For instance, an infection in the kidneys will bring pain in the upper back accompanied by fever and chills, vomiting, nausea and shaking.
An infection in the bladder will bring low fever, added pressure in the area of the pelvis, and discomfort in the area of the lower abdomen.
Infection in the urethra normally brings a burning feeling while urinating.
Possible Risks with a Urinary Tract Infection
As commonly observed, most urinary tract infections occur at the urethra and the bladder. In this case, the infection can only be considered as very inconvenient and painful, but is not a significant health risk to the sufferer.
However, if the infection reaches one or both kidneys, that can lead to serious health risks that can even lead to death.
Treatment for a Urinary Tract Infection
Treatment of UTIs commonly involves antibiotics taken over a short period of time. The most common antibiotics used are ciprofloxacin or amoxicillin. Generally, the symptoms will be alleviated after just a few days of taking medication; however, it is always advised to complete the full course given by the doctor to prevent recurrence of the infection.
For recurrent UTI, a longer period of antibiotic medication is normally prescribed by the physician. In some cases, stronger types of antibiotics may also be ordered.