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Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

A urinary tract infection (UTI) occurs when bacteria enter the urethra, multiply in the urinary tract and cause an infection. The urinary tract is made up of the kidneys, ureters, bladder and the urethra. The infection is characterized by the affected part of the urinary tract. A lower urinary tract infection involves the urethra and bladder, and an upper urinary tract affects the ureters and kidneys. Cystitis is the term for an infection of the bladder. Urethritis is an infection of the urethra, and Pyelonephritis is an infection of the kidneys.

SYMPTOMS:

The symptoms of urinary tract infection depend upon which type of infection and which portion of the urinary tract is infected.

Lower urinary tract infection symptoms are:

  • Back pain
  • Blood in urine
  • Cloudy urine
  • Inability to urinate
  • Fever
  • Frequent urination
  • Painful urination
  • General discomfort 

Upper urinary tract infection symptoms are:

  • Chills
  • High fever
  • Nausea
  • Pain below the ribs
  • Vomiting 

RISK FACTORS:

  • Menopause
  • Pregnancy
  • Previous urinary tract infection's
  • Uncircumcised penis
  • Sexual activity
  • Dehydration
  • Medical conditions such as diabetes

EVALUATION & DIAGNOSIS:

Once symptoms occur the following diagnostic tests may be performed: 

  • Urine culture: a urine sample is tested for signs of bacterial infection
  • Urinalysis: a urine sample is tested to discover whether or not blood is present in the urine

TREATMENT:

The treatment of urinary tract infections is antibiotics. The type of antibiotic is usually determined by the urine culture.