Everything You Need to Know About Uncomplicated UTIs!

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Urinary surgery

What is a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)? 

A urinary traction infection (UTI) is one of the most common bacterial infections of the urinary tract. It is estimated that up to 40% of women will experience a UTI at some point in their lives. A UTI, also known as a bladder infection or cystitis, occurs when bacteria enter the bladder and multiply, usually through the urethra (urine tube). 

UTIs primarily affect the lower urinary tract, specifically the bladder and urethra. It is considered a major health risk. Usual symptoms include frequent urination, pain while urinating, and pain in your side or lower back.  

Most UTIs are treatable with antibiotics. But it is believed that untreated UTIs can spread to the kidneys and cause a more serious infection, so prompt diagnosis and treatment are critical. UTIs may be more common in sexually active women, pregnant women, and older women. 

Many Pharmaceuticals and CROs are conducting Uncomplicated UTIs Clinical Trials in Michigan, USA to understand this debilitating condition and find a cure for it. 

What makes Women more Susceptible to UTIs? 

UTIs are more common in women than men. In fact, women are eight times more likely than men to develop UTIs. This is due to the fact that women’s urethras are much shorter, and they are located very close to the vagina and anus. Bacteria can easily travel due to the close proximity of the urethra and anus. If bacteria enter the urethra, they quickly enter the bladder and cause UTI flareups. 

Some women have recurring UTIs. A recurring UTI occurs when a woman becomes infected thrice a year or every six months. Because UTIs can reoccur, it’s essential to practice good hygiene, make some lifestyle changes, and seek treatment whenever you notice signs or symptoms. 

What are the Risk Factors for UTIs? 

UTI risk factors specific to women include: 

  • The female anatomy:  A woman’s urethra is shorter than men’s, reducing the distance bacteria must travel to reach the bladder.
  • Sexual behavior: UTIs are more common in sexually active women than in non-sexually active women. Having a new sexual partner puts you at greater risk.
  • Certain birth control methods: Women who use diaphragms for birth control, as well as those who use spermicidal agents, may be at greater risk.
  • Menopause: A decrease in circulating estrogen after menopause causes changes in the urinary tract that make you more susceptible to infection.
  • Urinary tract abnormalities: Babies born with urinary tract abnormalities that prevent urine from leaving the body normally or cause urine to back up in the urethra are more likely to develop UTIs.
  • Urinary tract obstructions: Kidney stones or an enlarged prostate can cause urine to become trapped in the bladder, increasing the risk of UTIs.
  • Immune system suppression: Diabetes and other diseases that weaken the immune system, the body’s defense against germs, can raise the risk of UTIs.
  • Catheter placement: People who can’t urinate on their own and urinate through a tube (catheter) are at a higher risk of UTIs. People who are hospitalized, people with neurological problems that make it difficult to control their urination, and people who are paralyzed may fall into this category.
  • Urinary procedure: Urinary surgery or a urinary tract exam with medical instruments can both increase your chances of getting a urinary tract infection.

How are UTIs diagnosed? 

For the diagnosis of a urinary tract infection, your doctor will ask for the following tests: 

  • Urinalysis: This test will look for red blood cells, white blood cells, and bacteria in the urine. The presence of white and red blood cells in your urine can indicate an infection. 
  • Urine Culture: A urine culture is used to identify the type of bacteria in your urine. This is an important test because it aids in determining the best treatment.
  • Ultrasound: Sound waves create an image of the internal organs in this test. This test is performed on top of your skin, is painless, and usually does not require any preparation.
  • Cystoscopy: This test uses a special instrument (cystoscope) with a lens and a light source to look inside the bladder through the urethra.
  • CT scan: A CT scan is another type of imaging test that takes cross-sections of the body (like slices). This test is more accurate than the standard X-rays.

What are the Complications of UTIs? 

Lower urinary tract infections rarely cause complications when treated promptly and correctly. On the other hand, UTIs can have serious consequences if left untreated. 

A UTI may cause the following complications: 

  • Recurrent infections particularly in women i.e., two or more UTIs in six months or four or more in a year. 
  • Acute or chronic kidney infection (pyelonephritis) due to an untreated UTI can cause permanent kidney damage. 
  • Pregnant women are more likely to have low birth weight or premature babies. 
  • Men with recurrent urethritis have a urethral narrowing (stricture), which was previously seen with gonococcal urethritis. 
  • Sepsis is a potentially fatal infection complication, especially if the infection spreads up your urinary tract to your kidneys. 

How UTIs can be Treated? 

A UTI must be treated as early as possible. Antibiotics are used to treat this bacterial infection. Typically, your doctor will select a medication that targets the specific bacteria that is causing your infection. Antibiotics that are commonly used include: 

  • Nitrofurantoin 
  • Sulfonamides (sulfa drugs) 
  • Amoxicillin 
  • Cephalosporins etc. 

It is critical that you follow the medication instructions provided by your healthcare provider. Do not discontinue the antibiotic simply because your symptoms have subsided and you are feeling better. (comp.utm.my) The infection may reoccur if it is not completely treated with the full course of antibiotics. 

If you have a history of UTI, you may be given antibiotics to take as soon as you notice symptoms. Other patients may be given antibiotics to take every day, every other day, or after sexual intercourse to prevent infection. If you have a history of UTIs, talk to your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. 

What is the Prognosis of a Urinary Tract Infection? 

Treatment for urinary tract infections (UTIs) is usually very effective. A UTI can be unpleasant before treatment, but once your healthcare provider determines the type of bacteria and prescribes the appropriate antibiotic, your symptoms should improve quickly. It is critical to take your medication for the entire time period prescribed by your healthcare provider. If you have frequent UTIs or if your symptoms aren’t improving, your doctor may order a test to see if you have an antibiotic-resistant infection. These are more difficult infections to treat and may necessitate intravenous antibiotics (via an IV) or alternative therapies. 

How can we Prevent UTIs? 

You can reduce your risk of UTIs by doing the following: 

  • Drink plenty of fluids, particularly water. Drinking water dilutes your urine and encourages you to urinate more frequently, which allows bacteria to be flushed from your urinary tract before an infection develops.
  • After urinating and having a bowel movement, wipe from the front to the back. This helps to keep bacteria in the anal region from spreading to the vagina and urethra.
  • After intercourse, as soon as possible, empty your bladder. Drinking a full glass of water can help help flush bacteria.
  • Avoid using potentially irritating feminine hygiene products. Using deodorant sprays or other feminine products in the genital area, such as douches and powders, can irritate the urethra.
  • Change your method of birth control. Diaphragms, as well as unlubricated or spermicide-treated condoms, can all aid bacterial growth.

Takeaway 

A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection of the urinary tract, which includes the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. The bladder and urethra are the most commonly infected parts of the urinary tract. Women are believed to be at heigher risk than men to develop a UTI. 

Treatment for urinary tract infections (UTIs) is usually very effective. A UTI can be unpleasant before treatment, but once your healthcare provider determines the type of bacteria and prescribes the appropriate antibiotic, your symptoms should improve quickly.  

Many Clinical Research Organizations in Michigan are conducting research studies near you to better understand and treat this condition. This could benefit you and countless others who are suffering from this disease. Maintaining your treatment plan, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and avoiding triggers can all help you manage this condition. 

 

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