Urinary Tract Infection
Urine contains waste products of the body filtered by the kidneys and conducted into the bladder by two tubes, called ureters, on each side of the abdomen. The urethra is the tube through which urine flows when the bladder empties. So urine can be found in the kidneys, the ureters, bladder and urethra.
Under normal circumstances there are a few bacteria in the urine but these do not cause infection. The multiplication of bacteria and the release of toxins by these bacteria in the urine constitute a urine infection.
- High swinging temperature
- Sudden strong urge to pass urine
- Blood in the urine
- Passing urine frequently
- Cloudy urine
- Back pain usually localized to one side
Diabetics and those on steroids have to exercise caution. They are prone to UTI, but may not manifest symptoms.
Urinary Tract Infections can fall into two groups:
- Urine infection in an otherwise normal urinary system – This usually occurs in women. One in five women will have an episode of urine infection in their lifetime, some of them more than once. The opening of the urethra in women is located in the moist vagina, making it easier for bacteria to gain access to the bladder. More aggressive bacteria have the ability to stick to the wall of the bladder, allowing them to persist in the bladder despite bladder emptying.
- Urine infection due to an abnormality in the urinary system – Almost all abnormalities in the urinary system can result in urine infection. The common denominator here is stagnant urine and persistence of bacteria. For example, bacteria may persist in stones—antibiotic therapy may not remove the bacteria completely as the stone offers them some form of protection. Similarly, if the bladder is obstructed the resultant stagnant urine in the bladder is a potential source of urine infection.
Urinary Tract Infection Treatment
The treatment of urine infection is based on appropriate antibiotic therapy. We would perform further investigation to rule out an abnormality in your urinary system that may predispose you to urine infection. The use of appropriate antibiotic therapy requires an understanding of the common bacteria that cause urine infection and obtaining proper urine samples for culture. Sometimes in women with no abnormality in their urinary system, repeated urine infection may require low-dose, long-term antibiotics (over a period of six months to one year).
Your doctor will decide if you need X‐rays of your urinary system to rule out any abnormality. If you have repeated urine infections, infections affecting the kidneys, and infections by uncommon bacteria you could have an abnormality. If an abnormality is detected it will have to be treated on its own merit.