AIM Group is here to explain what causes a bladder infection or UTI.
The Role Of The Urinary Tract
The urinary tract plays a vital role in the production and storage of urine, which is a waste product of the body. This process involves several organs and structures. Let’s explore it further:
- The kidneys, located in the back, are a pair of fist-sized organs responsible for filtering waste products from the blood and converting them into urine. They also help regulate the levels of various chemicals in the body, such as sodium, potassium, calcium, and phosphorous. Additionally, the kidneys play a role in maintaining the body’s acid-base balance. They produce certain hormones that contribute to controlling blood pressure, stimulating red blood cell production, and promoting healthy bone formation.
- After urine is formed in the kidneys, it travels through the ureters, which are thin tubes, to reach the bladder. The bladder serves as a reservoir for urine storage until it is eliminated from the body. When the bladder is full, the urine is expelled through the urethra. In males, the urethra extends through the penis, while in females, it is located above the vaginal opening.
- Under normal circumstances, urine is sterile, meaning it does not contain any bacteria. The one-way flow of urine through the urinary tract helps prevent infections. However, bacteria can sometimes enter the urinary tract through the urethra and migrate up to the bladder, leading to infections.
What Is A Urinary Tract Infection?
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are a common and often uncomfortable condition that affects millions of individuals each year. While UTIs can be bothersome, it’s crucial to understand their symptoms, causes, and the significance of seeking proper care to prevent complications. In this blog, we will explore the world of UTIs, shedding light on the importance of early detection and appropriate treatment.
A UTI is an infection that occurs when bacteria enter the urinary tract, which includes the urethra, bladder, ureters, and kidneys. Symptoms of a UTI include:
- Pain or a burning sensation during urination
- Frequent urge to urinate
- Passing small amounts of urine
- Cloudy or strong-smelling urine
- Blood in the urine
- Pelvic pain or pressure
- Fatigue or general malaise
The most common type of UTI is an infection of the lower urinary tract, known as cystitis. In more severe cases, the infection can progress to the upper urinary tract, leading to a kidney infection (pyelonephritis).
What Is A Bladder Infection?
A bladder infection, also known as cystitis, is a type of urinary tract infection (UTI) that specifically affects the bladder. It occurs when bacteria enter the bladder and multiply, leading to an infection. Bladder infections are more common in women than men, primarily due to the shorter length of the female urethra, which makes it easier for bacteria to reach the bladder.
What Causes A Urinary Tract Infection?
Similar to how some individuals are more susceptible to catching colds, certain people have a higher likelihood of developing urinary tract infections (UTIs). Women, in particular, are more prone to UTIs compared to men due to their shorter urethras. The shorter distance bacteria need to travel to reach the bladder increases the vulnerability of women to UTIs.
For women who have undergone menopause, changes occur in the vaginal lining, leading to a loss of the protective effects provided by estrogen against UTIs. Additionally, some women have a genetic predisposition to UTIs, as their urinary tracts are more prone to bacterial adherence. Sexual intercourse can also impact the frequency of UTIs, as it can introduce bacteria into the urinary tract.
Furthermore, individuals with diabetes, characterized by high blood sugar levels, face an elevated risk of UTIs. The compromised ability of the body to combat germs contributes to this heightened vulnerability.
It is important to be aware of these factors and take necessary precautions to reduce the risk of UTIs. Practicing good hygiene, maintaining proper hydration, and promptly seeking medical attention when experiencing symptoms can help prevent and manage UTIs effectively.
How A UTI Can Become A Kidney Infection
Kidney infections are often considered the most severe form of UTI by medical professionals. Typically, a kidney infection occurs when bacteria from a bladder or urethra infection multiply and travel upward towards the kidneys.
Kidney infections can be extremely serious and painful, sometimes necessitating hospitalization for intravenous antibiotics. If left untreated, kidney infections resulting from UTIs can lead to bloodstream infections, posing a life-threatening risk.
Treatment approaches for UTIs vary depending on the severity of the infection, with doctors categorizing them as “simple” or “complicated” infections.
Bladder infections usually fall into the “simple” category, which doctors can typically treat with a course of antibiotics lasting three to five days. Commonly prescribed antibiotics for bladder infections include trimethoprim, ciprofloxacin, and amoxicillin-clavulanate potassium.
If you have an infection, it is crucial to complete the full course of antibiotics, even if you start feeling better. This ensures that the infection is fully eradicated and reduces the risk of recurrence.
On the other hand, complicated UTIs are more challenging to treat, with kidney infections often falling into this category. If you have a complicated UTI, you may require intravenous antibiotics and a longer duration of oral antibiotics, typically lasting a week or more.
AIM Group Offers Primary Care & House Calls In East Hills, NY
At Advanced Internal Medical Group in East Hills, NY we have 40 years of experience minimizing pain with over 20 services in primary care, house call appointments, and other services related to arthritis. To learn more about any of our services, call 516-352-8100 to speak with one of our team members.