Kidneys, urethra and bladder constitute the urinary system. Infection to any part of the system is known as urinary tract infection. Women are more prone to UTI infection than men. If the infection is limited to bladder alone, it can be painful and annoying. If the infection spreads to kidneys the consequences can be serious. Normally doctors treat UTI infection with antibiotics. But there are other methods which one can help one to avoid urinary tract infections throughout one’s life.
Usually urinary tract infections do not show any symptoms. But if any symptoms are shown, they may include the following:
- Strong urge to urinate
- Burning sensation during urination
- Intermittent urination
- Pain in the pelvic area
- Red colored or pink colored urine
- Strong smell for urine
- Cloudy appearance in urine
Causes: When bacteria enter in UT through urethra and other areas in the urinary tract, urinary tract infection occurs.
Infection of the bladder: Escherichia is a type of bacteria found in the gastrointestinal tract responsible for urinary tract infection found in the bladder. Sexual intercourse can also lead to the development of the cystitis bacteria. Women anatomy makes them susceptible to this type of bacteria. The reason for this is the short distance between urethra and the anus and the urethral opening and the bladder.
Infection to the urethra: When GI bacteria spread from anus to urethra the infection so caused pertains to urethra only and this infection is known as infection to urethra. As female urethra is close to vagina sexually transmitted infections like gonorrhea, chlamydia, mucoplasam etc. causes infection to the urethra.
- As woman has shorter urethra, the bacteria need to travel short distance only to reach bladder. So women are more prone to urinary tract infections.
- Sexual activity: Sexual activity in women has more chances of UT infection than in men.
- Birth control: Diaphragms used by women for birth control can lead to UT infection.
- Menopause: After menopause the quantity of circulating estrogen is reduced and it can make such women more vulnerable to UT infection.
If properly treated, urinary tract infections will not causes any serious problems. If left unchecked, it can pave way for serious complications. Some of them are discussed below:
Recurrent infections: Recurrent infections are common among women.
Kidney damage: Urinary tract infection can lead to permanent kidney infections known as pyelonephritis.
Pregnant women may give birth to premature infants and infants with low birth weight.
Urethral strictures: Recurrent urinary tract infection can create permanent urethral strictures in men.If the infection works up to kidneys it can lead to sepsis, which is a life threatening condition.