What is a urinary tract infection?
A urinary tract infection can be serious and may need to be treated with antibiotics.
The urinary system of your body includes two kidneys, two tubes (ureters), a urine sac (bladder) and an opening to expel the urine from the body (urethra).
An infection of this system due to germs is called a urinary tract infection (UTI).
Most urinary infections affect the lower urinary tract and spare the kidneys. These UTIs are easily treatable. In a few cases, the kidneys may be affected, and this is a serious condition. Women are more likely than men to experience UTIs, especially recurrently.
What are the causes of urinary tract infection or urinary infection?
An infection occurs when there is contamination of the urinary area due to bacteria from the gut. The most common germ is E. coli (80%). Other causative bacteria include Staphylococcus saprophyticus (10% to 15%), Enterococcus, Klebsiella, Enterobacter and Proteus.
Some habits or conditions may also increase your risk of urinary tract infection (UTI). These include
- Not drinking enough water
- Holding urine for long periods
- Spinal cord injuries or nerve damage that may cause difficulties in emptying bladder regularly and completely
- Tumors, kidney stones and an enlarged prostate (in men) that may block the flow of urine
- Conditions such as diabetes that may reduce the ability of the body’s immune system to fight off an infection, especially in an older person
- A catheter (a tube placed in the urethra and bladder to drain urine) in a bed-ridden person
- Women get infected more commonly because a woman’s urethra is shorter than a man’s, which allows easy access to the bladder
- Unhygienic patterns of wiping the genital area, especially in women
- Sexual activity that may move the infection to the urethra
- Birth control methods such as spermicides, diaphragms and unlubricated condoms that may allow bacterial growth
- Hormonal changes in pregnant women and women who are in menopause