UTI, or urinary tract infection, is a bacterial infection. It is caused by bacteria that get into the bladder and kidney. It eventually shows in the urine. Some think that urine causes UTI, but it is not true, since urine in itself is free from bacteria, until it gets exposed to the environment. An infection in the bladder is a simple case of UTI known as cystitis. Kidney infection is a more serious condition, and is called pyelonephritis.
Treatment for UTI can be through oral antibiotics, and a good dose of fluids to avoid further infection. The following are symptoms of a UTI, particularly bladder infection:
- You urinate more frequently than usual, and when you do, you pass only a little urine.
- You need to urinate during the night, when you normally don't.
- You feel pain and discomfort, usually a burning sensation, in your urethra.
- There is pus in the urine.
- There is blood in the urine.
- You experience mild fever.
- The urine smells unusually foul.
For a kidney infection, all the signs listed above are present, plus the following more severe indications:
- You experience vomiting.
- You feel pain in the groin, or on the side and back of the hips.
- You experience abdominal pain.
- You have very high fever and chills.
- You are in extreme fatigue.
- You experience sweating at night.
Elderly people with UTIs also experience confusion and often fall or have difficulty balancing themselves. For some people, they do not show any symptoms at all, which is more dangerous, since the UTI might be left untreated for a long time and develop into a more serious condition of the bladder or kidneys.
If you experience a UTI after it should have been treated, then you should consider having your urinary tract checked for other causes. You can undergo an ultrasound scan of the kidneys and bladder. An intravenous urography can also be done, where an X-ray is done after a special fluid is injected intravenously, to see if there is something wrong with the urinary tract.
There are several cures for UTI aside from medicine and antibiotics. Natural remedies such as drinking coconut water or cranberry juice are very healthy options. Taking in more water is also very advisable, especially after taking vitamin and mineral supplements, since these pills can contribute to the development of kidney stones if not digested and absorbed by the body thoroughly.
To avoid a UTI, try not to control passing urine and just go straight to the bathroom as necessary. It is also necessary to wash the genitals often with proper soap, especially for women. This should also be done after sexual intercourse to prevent bacteria from growing and entering the body.
For infants, it is necessary to change diapers at least after 4-5 hours regardless if it is full or not. Wash the baby's nappy area as soon as it is soiled. For baby girls, make sure you wipe the nappy area from front to back. Urinary tract infection in babies and children should be treated at once since they are more fragile.