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Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs): Symptoms & Causes

As the name suggests, a urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection in the urinary system. It affects the urethra, bladder, and kidneys. The urethra is a tube that allows the passing of urine from your body, the bladder is a sac that stores urine, and the kidneys are a pair of organs that excrete urine. Urinary tract infections are treatable using antibiotic medicines.

Symptoms

Though UTIs are common in females, men can get them too. In some patients, the infection can be painful. Whereas, others may not even experience any symptoms. The following problems in the urinary system may indicate an infection.

Common Symptoms

●     A strong urge to urinate

●     Frequent urination

●     Passing a small amount of urine

●     Cloudy urine

●     Pain in the pelvic area (in women)

●     Strong-smelling urine

●     A burning sensation during urination

●     Feeling tired

●     Pain in the lower abdomen

●     Abnormal urine color

●     Blood in the urine

Rare Symptoms

●     Pressure in the back

●     ***** pain (in men)

●     Fever with chills

●     Pain in the side

●     Fatigue

●     Nausea and vomiting

●     Rectal pain

●     Confusion or agitation

Identifying different types of UTIs

There are mainly 3 types of urinary tract infections depending upon the affected part of the urinary system.

Type of UTIPart of the urinary system affectedEarly signs
Acute pyelonephritisKidneys●     Nausea and vomiting●     Back pain●     Side pain●     Shaking●     Fever and chills
CystitisBladder●     Pelvic pain and pressure●     Low abdomen pain●     Painful urination●     Frequent urination●     Blood in urine
UrethritisUrethra●     Vaginal discharge●     Burning sensation during urination

Causes & Risk Factors

Bacteria cause different types of urinary tract infections. They enter your urinary tract through the urethra. Although the urinary system is designed to fight off such microorganisms, the defense system sometimes fails. Mostly, the infection doesn’t spread beyond the bladder.

Since women have a shorter urethra (that is also much closer to the anus), they tend to develop such infections often. Plus, a number of factors increase the chance of developing a UTI. You must consider the following points to know what increases the chance of getting a urinary tract infection.

●     Age: Most cases of UTIs occur in individuals of greater age. This is probably due to a higher vulnerability to infections.

●     Menopause: With the loss of estrogen, your body becomes prone to developing urinary tract infections a few weeks before or during menopause.

●     Diabetes: A high blood sugar level is linked to certain urinary system conditions. Since kidneys get mostly affected by diabetes, you are more likely to get an infection of the bladder.

●     Kidney stones: It is an abnormality associated with your urinary system in which hard deposits of salts and minerals get deposited in your kidneys. Kidney stones significantly increase your chance of being infected.

●     Sexual intercourse: During unprotected sexual intercourse, there might be an exchange of microorganisms through the genitals.

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