Urinary Tract Infection (UTI): Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis

urinary tract infection

Overview

A Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) is a common infection of the urinary system. The urinary system is the body’s drainage system. Removing nitrogenous waste and excess water. It includes the kidneys, two ureters, a bladder, and a urethra. The bladder collects and store urine while the urethra carries urine from your bladder out of the body. A Urinary tract infection (UTI) is the second most common type of infection in the body. UTIs effect both women and men of all age groups.

Symptoms

Depending on the level of the bacteria in the urinary system, you may not experience any symptoms. When the bacterial levels do become high, the infection will spread throughout the upper and lower urinary tract. Common symptoms include:

  • An urge to urinate often
  • Pressure in your lower belly
  • Fever, tiredness, or shakiness
  • Pain or burning when you urinate
  • Pain in your back or side below the ribs
  • Urine that smells bad, looks cloudy, or reddish 

Causes

A Urinary tract infections (UTI), is caused by the transfer of bacteria from the rectum to the urethra. Most urinary tract infections are caused by the Escherichia Coli (E. Coli). Other bacteria, like chlamydia or mycoplasma bacteria can infect the urethra but not the bladder. UTIs are given different names depending on where they occur. A bladder infection is called cystitis, urethra infection is called urethritis, and a kidney infection is called pyelonephritis.

The following factors encourage the growth of bacteria:

  • Not drinking enough fluids.
  • Purposely holding in urine for long periods of time.
  • Spinal cord injuries or other nerve damage that makes the bladder difficult to empty regularly and completely.
  • Conditions or situations that block the flow of urine. Such as a tumor, kidney stone, enlarged prostate, or sexual intercourse.
  • Diabetes and other conditions that reduce the ability of the body’s immune system to fight off infection.
  • Catheters (tubes placed in the urethra and bladder to drain urine).

Diagnosis

Tests and procedures used to diagnose urinary tract infections include.

  • Analyzing a urine sample for secondary signs of infections.  Analysis will look for white blood cells, red blood cells or bacteria.
  • Growing UTI bacteria in a lab. Lab analysis of the a urine culture. This test tells your doctor what bacteria may be causing your infection and which medications will be most effective. This method only identifies a very small subset of the bacteria that can causing the infection. It is not a comprehensive infection test.
  • Electronic imaging of your urinary tract. If you are having frequent infections that your doctor thinks may be caused by an abnormality in your urinary tract, you may have an ultrasound, a Computerized Tomography (CT) scan or Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).
  • Using a scope to see inside your bladder. If you have recurrent UTIs, your doctor may perform a cystoscopy, using a long, thin tube with a lens (cystoscope) to see inside your urethra and bladder.

Do I need to be Tested?

The current method of testing  for UTI’s are out dated. Leading to more chronic infections in other parts of the urinary tract . When it comes to diagnosing the cause of a reoccurring a urinary tract infection, what happens in the biome of your urinary system may be complicated. In cases such as these, Xplore-PATHO urine collection kit can be of use. This collection kit can be used to determine if any known sequenced pathogen is within the sample.