Urinary tract infections are characterized by the infection of any part of the urinary tract. The urinary tract is classified into the upper and lower urinary tract. Kidneys and upper part of the ureters made up the upper urinary tract. The lower part of the ureters, bladder, and urethra made up the lower urinary tract. Inflammation of the kidney is called pyelonephritis. Inflammation of the ureter is known as ureteritis. Inflammation of the bladder is called cystitis, while inflamed urethra is known as urethritis. Every normal human being will have two kidneys that are connected to one bladder by two tubes known as the ureter. Bladder output will exit the body by a single channel known as the urethra. Most of the time, inflammation of the urinary tract is due to infection. An active infection will progress to inflammation. Causes of urinary tract infection are also included in this article.
Bacteria are the most common organism that causes urinary tract infection. Bacteria will enter and invade the body via the urethra and then the bladder. From the bladder, bacteria may ascend higher to cause infection and inflammation of the ureters and kidneys. The urinary tract infection is also known as ascending infection because most of the time bacteria will start infecting the lower urinary tract before infecting the upper urinary tract. Not all lower urinary tract infection will spread to the upper urinary tract. Sometimes the bacteria will only get up till the bladder and confined there. Although ascending infection is the most common form of disease progression, urinary tract infection can start from the kidneys.
The infection might start from the top (kidneys) if the patients are having an active infection within the blood. Active infection in the blood is known as bacteremia. Blood is supposed to be sterile. However, due to many reasons, bacteria might invade the human bloodstream. For treatment purposes, medical doctors classified urinary tract infection into acute simple cystitis and acute complicated urinary tract infection. Acute simple cystitis is when the infection is confined to the bladder and no signs and symptoms are suggesting upper urinary tract infection. Acute complicated urinary tract infection is when there is ongoing acute urinary tract infection with the following features:
- Flank pain
- Costovertebral angle pain
- Pelvic or perineal pain
In other words, if the infection involves the kidney, it is already considered as acute complicated urinary tract infection. As we already know that bacteria is the main cause for urinary tract infection, the following are the bacteria that cause this health issue:
- Escherichia coli
- Klebsiella species
- Proteus species
- Staphylococcus aureus
Escherichia coli is the main bacteria that cause urinary tract infection. Up to 70% of urinary tract infection cases are due to Escherichia coli. Healthy women often infected by Candida species and develop urinary tract infections. Those who are on certain medical instruments are more likely to be infected by pseudomonas. Risk factors for urinary tract infection are:
- Health care exposures
- Travel and stay in countries where superbugs are common
- Recent use of antibiotics
Untreated urinary tract infection may cause kidney failure and multiorgan failure. The best thing to cure a urinary tract infection is by consuming the antibiotics given by the doctor. Antibiotics are the main treatment in urinary tract infection. It is effective and safe. You will be given specific types of antibiotics depending on the organism that causes the infection.