The main reason behind the urinary tract infection is the presence of pathogenic organisms. The pathogenic organisms include bacteria, fungi, and parasites. The urinary tract consists of kidney, urethra, and gall bladder. The presence of the microorganisms in any of the urinary organs can lead to urinary tract infection. The urinary tract infection may cause a burning sensation during urination and even an organ failure. This disease, if diagnosed in earlier stage is not fatal, but in some cases, it even causes death. Urinary tract infection also poses a threat to kidney. Kidney performs several important function like regulation of body fluid. It also helps in the production of red blood cells.
For a long time this has been argued among researchers about how the transmission of urinary tract infection takes place. Some researchers who believe that this disease is not transmittable while there are others believe this disease can be transmitted. They even recommend avoiding sex until the issue is sorted out. The discussions are still doing the rounds that sexual intercourse can cause the transfer of the disease. During the sexual intercourse, the bacteria are introduced into the urinary tract. Let us read further about this disease.
Causes of Urinary Tract Infection
The main causes of urinary tract infection are as follows:
- The most common reason of urinary tract infection is the E-coli bacterial strain that usually inhibits the colon
- Klebsiella, Pseudomonas, Enterobacter is a few bacteria’s that causes urinary infection occasionally
- Parasites like Trichomonas and Schistosoma may also lead to urinary tract infection
- Fungi like Candida and Cryptococcus are also responsible for causing urinary tract infection
Females are at higher risk of having a urinary tract infection because of their anatomy. The urinary infection occurs in them due to infection of the bladder and the urethra. After menopause, patients who undergo urinary surgery also are at higher risk of having a urinary tract infection. Men who have enlarged prostates also have a high chance of getting urinary tract infection. Those who have a lower immune system due to diabetes also reduce the defense of the body against the germs that causes urinary tract infection. Those who use a tube for urinating also have a high risk of catching urinary infection. Those who have urinary abnormalities since childhood because of which they cannot urinate completely also have a threat of getting this disease.
The symptoms of urinary tract infection may vary from one individual to another. The main factors on which the symptoms depend are sex, age, and location of the infection in the urinary tract. Some individuals show only mild symptoms and the disease are cured in a short period. Some of the common symptoms of the disease are as follows:
- Urge to urinate frequently followed by a burning sensation
- Change in the color of urine due to the presence of blood in the urine
- Urine may develop a bad odor
- Passing of only little amount of urine while the urge was to urinate more
- Pain in the rectum and pubic area of men and women respectively
In women the following symptoms can be observed:
- Women may experience discomfort in their lower abdomen, they may feel bloated and might feel as if their bladder is full.
- Women may also complain of vaginal discharge
In men, the following symptoms can be observed:
- Complain of increase in the urge to urinate.
- Pain in rectal, testis and in the abdomen.
- There might be pus like discharge from the penis.
In children, the symptoms of urinary infection are as follows:
- They may have high fever.
- May have abdominal pain followed by vomiting.
Unfortunately, only mild symptoms are observed in elderly people. The main symptoms in them start to occur only when they become weak. It has also been observed that women who have sex with partners using condoms with spermicidal foam are at higher risk of getting urinary tract infection. Men, in their older age, may face the issue of urinary tract infection. This is due to the enlarged prostates because of which the bladder is not completely emptied. The urinary tract infection risks are high in those having issues like kidney stones and enlarged prostates.
There are several home tests that are available to help one find whether he/she is having an infection or not.
Treatment of Urinary Tract Infection
Usually antibiotics are advised to those who have a urinary tract infection. The duration of medicine and the dosage depends on the condition of the patient. For mild infections, drug like Ampicillin is advised. Sometime patients require taking only a short duration of the medication. If patients have a history of urinary tract infection it is advisable for them to continue taking medicines for a long time. Those who suffer from severe infection are given intravenous antibiotics.
Various home remedies are available for the treatment of urinary tract infection. Some of them are:
- 1. Water – It is the simplest method available for curing the infection. By drinking more water, the frequency of urination increases.Thus it helps in flushing out the bacteria. Usually it is advisable to drink more than 1.5 liters of water per day.
- 2. Hygiene – Keeping oneself clean is very necessary. Usually women should clean the area around the vagina, anus and urethra with mild antibacterial soap after peeing. In case of babies, their diapers should be regularly changed to prevent bacterial multiplication.
- 3. Garlic extract – Garlic contains sulfur compounds like diallyl thiousulfinate, sallylcysteine, ajoene, etc. When garlic is cut it secretes an enzyme called allicin, which is an antibacterial agent. One can drink the juice prepared from garlic paste mixed with warm water. It kills the harmful bacteria present in urinary tract. It also contains anti-oxidants that can improve the immune system of the body.
- 4. Yogurt – Proper nutrition is very necessary at the time of urinary tract infection. One should avoid spicy food. Yogurt contains enough probiotic bacteria, the Lactobacillus acidophilus, which keep out the infectious bacteria.
- 5. Baking Soda – Baking soda is very helpful to treat the infection. One can add about 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water and drink about 2-3 times daily. As baking soda is a base, it neutralizes the acidic secretions of bacteria. Bacteria do not thrive in basic medium.
- 6. Juices – Drinking plenty of fruit juices helps. Fruit juices contain lot of vitamins, which prevent bacterial growth. One can also take more of coconut water during the infection. It contains a lot of minerals which increases the immune system of the body and helps in bacterial destruction. Blue berry juice or cranberry juice prevents the multiplication of bacteria in the urinary tract.
- 7. Clothes – Synthetic cloths do not absorb sweat. Hence one should prefer wearing undergarments made of cotton, which absorbs sweat and prevents further multiplication of bacteria.
Urinary tract infection can be well managed with home remedies but one should remain very careful and take precaution to prevent further aggravation.
As we understood urinary tract, infection is caused by the presence of pathogens like bacteria in any organ that comprises of the urinary tract. One can try to take the following steps to prevent the occurrence of this disease.
- One should have plenty of fluids. It ensures that one will need to urinate more frequently and this would lead to the flushing of the pathogens from urinary tract of the system
- Wiping after urination and bowel movement helps in ensuring that the bacteria in the anal region are not spread to the vagina
- One should try to empty the bladder as soon as they have sexual intercourse and should try to have a glass of water to flush the bacteria from the system
- Irritating products should be avoided. There are certain products like using deodorant sprays or feminine products as it can irritate the urethra
An alternate approach to drugs is to have cranberry juice. It is observed that cranberry juice has urinary infection fighting capabilities. It helps in preventing this disease. The best effect of prevention by intake of cranberry has been observed in older women.