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Urinary Tract Infection – Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment & Prevention

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Around half of the women are vulnerable to develop UTI or urinary tract infection, sometime in their life. It usually occurs when the system is infected by the germs, causing urine to flow out of the body from where bladder, kidneys and tubes are connected. Bladder infections are widespread and they are not serious with proper treatment. It can be severe once infection spreads on the kidneys.


Bladder Infection

In most cases, a bladder infection is a common cause. And the symptoms are –

  • Urge to urinate frequently
  • Burning or pain on urination
  • Urine which is foul-smelling or cloudy
  • Pain in lower abs
  • Sometimes it may not cause any symptom

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Kidney Infection

If left untreated, bladder infection can spread to your kidneys with some signs like –

  • Chills or fever
  • Pain on either part of lower back
  • Vomiting and nausea

What to Do Next?

If you are experiencing some of these symptoms, you need to see the doctor immediately. Generally, a bladder infection is not the major issue. But some people who may develop complications are elderly, pregnant women, men with kidney problems, diabetes or weak immune system.

Is it Really UTI?

Burning sensation during urination is the common sign of UTI. But it is also the sign of sexually transmitted diseases like gonorrhea, trichomoniasis, and Chlamydia, or vaginal yeast infection. Simple lab tests are also available to check whether it is STD or UTI. Urinary tract infection shares most of its symptoms with interstitial cystitis. It is common for both women and men and it is likely to start after UTI. A thin tube, cystoscopy, and camera are inserted into the bladder in order to diagnose it.

Stealth UTI

UTIs occasionally occur without causing classic symptoms. A person may not develop any symptoms. But the bacteria can be found in the urine test. It is called asymptomatic bacteriuria. It doesn’t require any treatment in most cases. But some children, pregnant women and people with kidney transplants must be cured to prevent kidney infection.

Honeymoon Cystitis

As the name suggests, honeymoon cystitis is the condition when bacteria is pushed into the urethra during sexual activity. The problem is obviously not limited to honeymoon itself. Some women may develop bladder infection when they make physical relations. Women using the diaphragm to control birth are more vulnerable.


The main complication related to this untreated problem is that infection can spread from the bladder to the kidneys. When kidneys are infected, they may permanently stop functioning due to damage. It can increase the chances of kidney failure in people with kidney issues. Infection is likely to spread to various organs by entering the bloodstream.

UTIs in Elderly

UTIs are one of the common infections that are caused in the elderly. But the symptoms are not here to follow the classic pattern. Delirium, agitation, and other behavioral changes may be the symptom of UTI in elderly women and men. This age group is more vulnerable to develop serious problems due to UTIs.

UTIs in Babies

Babies may often develop UTIs. But it is more difficult because they can never tell you about their feeling. So be sure to watch for these symptoms –

  • Fussy behavior
  • Vomiting or poor appetite
  • Weird-smelling urine
  • Unexplained fever

UTIs in Children

Around 3% of girls and 1% of boys below 11 years may develop UTIs. It may include some of the children who constantly delay visiting the bathroom. Their muscles may not be relaxed enough to empty the bladder completely and remove any bacteria. So, drinking a lot of water and going to the bathroom may be helpful. Some children may also have structural issues responsible for obstructing the flow of urine or urine may flow back to the kidneys from the bladder. It may cause chronic kidney problems and even kidney damage.

Causes of UTI

Genital area and intestines are the breeding ground for several types of bacteria. But urine is sterile. But when E. coli or any errant bacteria make way to the urinary system accidently, it can cause UTI. Bacteria go ahead from the urethra to the bladder and infection takes hold. Women are more vulnerable to UTI than men, especially due to the shorter urethra.

What Increases the Risk in Women?

UTIs occur mostly in sexually active women and some other factors that may improve the risk are –

  • Taking baths frequently
  • Not drinking proper fluids
  • Kidney stones and
  • Holding urine for too long in the bladder

UTI Risks in Men

Men are a lot less likely to develop UTIs than women. It is related to some underlying conditions like enlarged prostate or kidney stone.


Urinary Tract Infection

In order to diagnose UTI, the first step is definitely urinalysis, a urine test. It checks out for an unusual amount of red and white blood cells as well as bacteria. A dipstick test is conducted to get quick results. Your urine is sent to the lab to find out the type of bacteria. You can also detect UTIs with home test kits but results are not 100% accurate.


Prescription antibiotics may be helpful to cure UTI. Your doctor will recommend to drink a lot of fluids and to empty the bladder consistently to remove the bacteria. Oral antibiotics can also be helpful to treat kidney infections. But you need to go through hospital stay to treat severe kidney infections.

Some women are also likely to develop this problem again and again. If you develop it more than three times a year, you should see the doctor to reduce and prevent these infections. You may be recommended to –

  • Take low dose for long term
  • Take a single antibiotic dose after intimate activity
  • Take antibiotics as self-treatment when symptoms occur.

Phenazopyridine is a store-bought drug that can ease your burning, pain, and irritation. It can also control your urge to pee urgently and frequently. But it works only on symptoms, instead of treating your infection. You still have to visit the doctor to ensure that you can fight UTI-causing bacteria with your treatment.


Here are the tips to reduce risk of developing UTIs

  • Go to the washroom before and after having intimate activity
  • Drink a lot of water
  • Front to back wiping
  • Take showers, not baths
  • Don’t use feminine hygiene sprays