What Is A Urinary Tract Infection?
A Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) is an infection that can affect any part of the urinary system such as the kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra.
What Causes A UTI?
A UTI is caused by bacteria entering through the urethra, traveling to the bladder or even the kidneys, and causing an infection. The most common causative bacteria are E. coli, Enterococcus, Pseudomonas, Klebsiella, and Proteus.
Other causes of UTI may be due to presence of calculi of the urinary tract, blocked urine flow due to underlying anatomical abnormality or dysfunctional emptying of the bladder.
What Are the Symptoms of UTI?
The symptoms of a UTI can vary between patients as the symptoms can be vague and non-specific. However, common symptoms of a UTI include:
- Strong urge to urinate
- Foul-smelling urine
- Burning sensation or even pain during urination
How Is UTI Diagnosed?
- Clinical examination
- Urine culture & sensitivity
- Diagnostic imaging – to ascertain the cause of UTI
- CT scan
- If the UTI recurs, the doctor may conduct:
- Urodynamics – Assesses how the bladder and urethra are performing their job of storing and releasing urine and most importantly bladder pressure.
- Cystoscopy – A hollow tube (cystoscope) equipped with a lens inserted into the urethra to examine the lining of the bladder and urethra to enable a biopsy if need be.
UTI In Children
All children under the age of five with a UTI must be thoroughly investigated. There is a high chance that children with a UTI have an underlying anatomical abnormality with their urinary tract. Therefore, UTI in children requires precise diagnosis and appropriate treatment. Corrective surgery is sometimes needed.
What Is the Treatment For UTI?
Due to the infection being caused by bacteria, doctors commonly treat UTI’s with antibiotics. Treatment will vary depending on the symptoms of the afflicted individual. Patients are advised to undergo the full course of treatment to ensure that the infection is fully clear as UTI symptoms can disappear before the infection is eradicated.