Urinary Tract Infection



A common medical condition that affects one or more structures of the urinary system. Urinary system is composed of the two kidneys, ureters (tubes), bladder and urethra. The kidneys are the ones that remove excess liquid and wastes from the blood in the form of urine. Kidneys are also responsible in maintaining salts balance and other substances in the blood. Ureters are  narrow tubes that carry urine from the kidneys into the bladder, a sack-like organ found in the lower part of abdomen. The bladder is where the urine is being stored , then emptied through the urethra, a small opening found in sex organs.

Urinary tract infection is most common among women than are of men for unknown reasons. It may be asymptomatic but is usually manifested by burning sensation during urinating, urgency and painful when voiding.


The most common parts of urinary system  that get infected first are the bladder (cystitis) and ureters (urethritis). On women, the most common bacteria that causes urinary tract infection is usually caused by  Escherichia coli (E. coli), a species of bacteria commonly found in the  colon. Another cause of urinary tract infections is sexual intercourse that usually leads to cystitis. This is common to those people who are sexually active.

Another cause of urinary tract infection are the microorganisms called Chlamydia and Mycoplasma, transmitted through sexual intercourse, which may affect both men and women. For some reason, women are most commonly affected because of the anatomical position where in their urethra is close proximity to their anus. 

Signs and Symptoms

Urgency- A persistent urge to void which are commonly unavoidable
Frequent urination associated with burning sensation 
Hematuria - blood -tinged urine
Cloudy urine
Strong smell urine 
Flank pain - pain located in lumbar area
Lower abdominal discomfort 


Urine Analysis - A "clean catch midstream" urine is being collected and sent in the laboratory for examination. In this test, the specimen is analyzed for some presence of bacteria, red blood cells (evidence for blood in urine), urine appearance, and other substances.

Oftentimes when a urinary tract infection is actively developing and spreading, a urine culture is followed wherein the urine sample allows the grow of bacteria in the laboratory.  The test is used to determine what specific bacteria that causes the infection and what appropriate medication is use for the management.

Another test used for determining the cause of urinary tract infection is intravenous pyelogram. This is a more comprehensive diagnostic test, commonly applicable if the above tests are not clear enough. Intravenous pyelogram visualizes the bladder, kidneys, and ureters by using an opaque dye that is injected on a visible x-ray. 

A cytoscope is also use for recurrent urinary tract infections. Cystoscope is an imaging device - long, thin tube with a lens -  used to visualize the inside of urethra and bladder.  

Treatments and Management

Drugs use to treat urinary tract infections depend on the type of urinary tract infection and its severity. The doctors will prescribe medications with instructions about the time, frequency and duration of the treatment.  

The following antibiotics are proven effective to treat urinary tract infections. 

ciprofloxacin (Ciprobay or Ciprobay XR, Cipro, Laitun) 
levofloxacin (Levaquin) 
sulfamethoxazole-trimethoprim (Bactrim, Septra)
nitrofurantoin (Furadantin, Macrodantin) 
amoxicillin (Larotid, Moxatag)
Ampicillin (Omnipen, Polycillin, Principen, Totacillin) 
trimethoprim (Trimpex)
nitrofurantoin (Macrodantin, Furadantin)

There are some medical treatments appropriate for urinary tract infections especially those cases which are persistent or recurring UTIs. Oftentimes, a person with urinary tract infection is rushed to the hospital for rehabilitation because of symptoms that are difficult to manage with simple medications. 

For hospitalized patients, physicians always monitor the condition of the kidneys to prevent any complications or spreading of the disease on the upper part of urinary system. Pyelonephritis is the most common complication of urinary tract infection when left untreated. This is a dangerous kidney problem because it could damage the kidneys permanently.

For pregnant women who developed urinary tract infection, an immediate treatment should be made in order to prevent immature delivery. There are also cases that an existing urinary  tract infection among pregnant women is the cause of high blood pressure, a condition called preeclampsia. A careful treatment and prescription of medication must be provided because some of the medications used to treat urinary tract infections are teratogenic, potentially dangerous to fetus.


Urinary tract infection can be prevented if you take these following guidelines.

More fluid intake regularly. This is the most important in preventing urinary tract infection because it cleanses your urinary system. More salts are also diluted to prevent fluid retention in the bladder.  

Eat less salty foods. Salty foods may not be the actual cause of urinary tract infection, but keeping your urinary system free from salts may reduce the risk of UTI.
Regularly empty the bladder. Never delay urinating as soon as you feel the urge to urinate to keep your bladder empty and free from bacteria. A residual of urine in the bladder is one of the causes of crystallization of urine into salts which are more dangerous than a simple urinary tract infection.

For women, wipe your private area starts from front to back. You have to follow this manner because of the close proximity of your urethra to anus.

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