Muljibhai Patel Urological Hospital
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Lower Urinary Tract Infection

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Lower Urinary Tract Infection

What Is It ?

Women are especially prone to invasion of their urinary tract by bacteria due to their shorter urinary tract; these bacteria may invade the urinary tract and multiply, resulting in an infection known as a urinary tract infection, or UTI.

Although most UTIs are not serious, they can be a painful nuisance. Approximately 50 percent of all women will have at least one UTI in her lifetime with many women having several infections throughout their lifetime. Fortunately, these infections are easily treated with antibiotics. Some women are more prone to recurrent UTIs than others and for them it can be a frustrating battle.

Symptoms

Symptoms of UTI or bladder infection include a strong urge to urinate that cannot be delayed, which is followed by a sharp pain or burning sensation in the urethra when the urine is released. Most often very little amount of urine is passed.

The urge to urinate recurs quickly and soreness may occur in the lower abdomen, back or sides. This cycle may repeat itself frequently during the day or night--most people urinate about six times a day, when the need to urinate occurs more often a bladder infection should be suspected.

Signs and Tests

The number of bacteria and white blood cells in a urine sample is the basis for diagnosing urinary tract infections. Urine is examined under a microscope and cultured in a substance that promotes the growth of bacteria and sensitivity of antibiotics is done.

Causes

The most common cause of UTIs is bacteria from the bowel that live on the skin near the rectum or in the vagina, which can spread and enter the urinary tract through the urethra. Once these bacteria enter the urethra, they travel upward, causing infection in the bladder and sometimes other parts of the urinary tract.

Another cause of bladder infections or UTI is waiting too long to urinate. The bladder is a muscle that stretches to hold urine and contracts when the urine is released. Waiting too long past the time you first feel the need to urinate can cause the bladder to stretch beyond its capacity. Over time, this can weaken the bladder muscle. When the bladder is weakened, it may not empty completely and some urine is left in the bladder. This may increase the risk of urinary tract infections or bladder infections.

Other factors which may increase a woman's risk of developing UTI include pregnancy, history of urinary tract infections or bladder infections as a child, menopause and diabetes.