A urinary tract infection, also known as UTI, is a type of infection that affects any portion of your urinary system, which includes the kidneys, urethra, bladder, or ureters. Infections in the lower urinary tract – the urethra and the bladder, are the most common.
Infection in your bladder may cause pain and discomfort. However, severe consequences may appear if the UTI spreads to your kidneys.
Some of the urinary tract infections can be asymptomatic, and others cause typical UTI symptoms and signs, including:
- Pain in the pelvis, in women — particularly in the center of the pelvis and around the region of the pubic bone;
- Urge to urinate that is intense and persistent;
- Passing frequent, small urine amounts;
- Urine with a strong smell;
- Cloudy urine;
- Burning sensations while urinating;
- A sign of blood in the urine: bright-pink, red, or cola-colored urine.
Urinary tract infection types
- Kidneys infection (acute pyelonephritis) causes high fever, shaking and chills, back pain or flank (side) pain, nausea, and vomiting.
- Bladder infection (cystitis) can lead to such UTI symptoms as discomfort in the lower abdominal region, pelvic pressure, frequent and painful urination, and bloody urine.
- Urethra infection (urethritis) may cause discharge and burning sensations during urination.
The most common UTI cause is bacteria entering the urinary tract through the urethra and starting to multiply in the bladder. The urinary system is organized in such a way to protect organs of the UTI tract from microscopic invaders. However, these defenses sometimes fail in keeping out these microscopic invaders. When this happens, bacteria have time to grow into a full-blown urinary tract infection.
Although urinary tract infection typically occurs in the urethra and bladder (lower urinary tract), it can also spread up and infect kidneys.
The most common UTI occurs in women and affects the bladder and urethra.
- Cystitis (bladder infection). Approximately 90% of bladder infection (cystitis) cases are caused by E. coli, a bacterium normally found in the gastrointestinal tract. However, other bacteria also can cause UTIs. In addition, cystitis can result from sexual intercourse, but you do not have to be sexually active to get it. Women are at risk of bladder infection due to their anatomy — particularly due to the short distance from the urethra to the anus and from the opening of the urethra to the bladder.
- Urethritis (urethra infection). Urethritis can develop when gastrointestinal bacteria spread from the anus to the urethra. Moreover, since the female urethra is close to the vagina, infections transmitted via sexual contact, such as chlamydia, gonorrhea and mycoplasma, may also cause urethritis.
The first-line UTI treatment is typically antibiotics. Your physician will prescribe you medications depending on the type of bacteria found in your urine and your health condition.
Simple urinary tract infection treatment
Medications typically used to treat UTIs include:
- Nitrofurantoin (Macrodantin, Macrobid)
- Cephalexin (Keflex)
- Fosfomycin (Monurol)
- Trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole (Bactrim, Septra, others)
Usually, UTI symptoms disappear within a few days after starting treatment. After that, however, you need to take the entire prescribed course of antibiotics (for a week or more).
A doctor may prescribe an antibiotic for one to three days if the UTI is uncomplicated and you are otherwise healthy. However, whether the short course of antibiotic treatment is enough to cure your infection depends on your symptoms and medical history.
In addition, pain medications (analgesics) may be prescribed to relieve burning during urination. However, the pain is typically relieved shortly after the antibiotic course starts.
Frequent urinary tract infection treatment
If you frequently get urinary tract infections, your physician may recommend the following treatment methods:
- Antibiotics administered at low doses for six months, sometimes longer;
- If you stay in contact with your doctor, you can self-diagnose and treat;
- If your UTIs are related to sexual activity, a single dose of antibiotic after sexual intercourse can be beneficial;
- If you are postmenopausal, consider vaginal estrogen therapy;
Severe urinary tract infections treatment
In the case of serious UTIs, treatment with intravenous antibiotics in the hospital may be required.
In some cases of complicated urinary tract infections, especially with kidneys infection, your physician may prescribe you fluoroquinolone medicine if other treatment methods do not help. Fluoroquinolones are a group of antibiotic medications that include ciprofloxacin (Cipro), levofloxacin, and others. This group of antibiotics is not commonly prescribed for simple cases of UTIs because these medicines have more risks than benefits for treating uncomplicated UTIs.
You can also try the Khavinson peptide supplement called Chitomur. It is a supplement on the basis of natural peptides isolated from the bladder wall of healthy, young animals. As bladder peptides act selectively on its cells, they can activate protein synthesis, regulate metabolic processes, and improve the tone of the detrusors and sphincters.
The purpose of Chitomur is to treat or prevent diseases of the genitourinary system in both men and women. Regardless of the cause of the dysfunction, this peptide supplement facilitates the healing and normalization of bladder tissues.
Click here to read more about Chitomur.