A urinary tract infection, or UTI, is an infectionin any part of the urinary system â€” the kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra. An infection of the urethra, or urethritis,may cause burning sensation when urinating and cloudy discharge. A bladder infection, or cystitis, may resultin pelvic pain, frequent, painful urination, and blood in urine. A kidney infection, or acute pyelonephritis,may cause back pain (possibly only on one side), high fever, chills and nausea.
UTIs typically occur when bacteria enter theurinary tract through the urethra and multiply in the bladder. Most commonly, these bacteria come from thedigestive tract through fecal matter. UTIs are more common in women because of theiranatomy. Specifically, the short distance from theA to the opening of the urethra and bladder makes it easier for the bacteria from thedigestive tract to reach the urinary system. This is why the most common UTIs occur mainlyin women and affect the bladder and urethra. Other bacteria may be brought over with Scontact.
Women who use certain types of birth controlsuch as diaphragms or spermicidal agents are more at risk. Hormonal deficiency during menopause alsomakes women more vulnerable to infection. Infection limited to the bladder can be easilytreated with antibiotics. However, if left untreated, a lower urinarytract infection may spread up to the kidneys where it becomes more dangerous. A kidney infection may result in permanentkidney damage. In rare cases, an infection may also spreadto the bloodstream and can be life threatening.
Urinary tract infections can be preventedfollowing these steps: Drink plenty of fluids â€“ to flush outbacteria more frequently. Wipe from front to back after a bowel movement this helps prevent bacteria in stools from spreading to the urethra. Empty the bladder soon after I to flushbacteria. Avoid feminine products such as douchesand powders, which could irritate the urethra. Avoid diaphragms and spermicides as birthcontrol methods.