November 01, 2019

Urinary Tract Infection | Causes | Symptoms | Diagnosis |Treatment |

Urinary tract infection is an infection that affects any part of the urinary system which includes the: bladder, kidney, urethra, ureter.

They are caused by the invasion of bacteria, fungi and sometimes viruses. These microbes overcomes the body defence in the urinary tract thereby leading to infection.

The urinary tract is further divided into two part; Which are namely The upper urinary tract and Lower urinary tract.

The upper urinary tract consists mainly of the kidneys and the ureters, while that of the lower urinary tract consists of the bladder and the urethra.

Quick Facts About Urinary Tract Infection 

Cranberries extracts do not cure UTI's but can help in reducing the chances of re-occuring infection. 

Women are likely more prone to getting a UTI compared to the males that's because the urethra of the female is too short unlike that of the males which is quite longer.

Studies have shown that 50% of women are at a high chance of developing a UTI.

Common symptoms of UTI include a strong frequent urge to urinate followed by a painful, burning sensation while urinating.

Get more details about this article as you continue reading.

Causes Of Urinary tract infection 

The first and foremost cause of UTI is caused by a bacterium called Escherichia coli ( E. coli), usually found in the digestive system.

Followed by another bacteria called Chlamydia and mycoplasma which can infect the urethra but in exception of the bladder this means that UTI has various location of occurrence.

One major reason why women are advised by the doctor to clean or wipe from front to back after using the toilet is that the urethra which is a tube that takes urine from the bladder and goes out of the body is close to the anus and bacteria such as E. Coli can travel from your anus to your urethra and can lead to infection. If the infection isn't treated it can infect the kidney.

Types of urinary tract infection 

Infection can occur in different parts of the urinary tract and each type has a different name, based on where it is located.

For example:

😆 A kidney infection is called pyelonephritis.

😆 A bladder infection is called cystitis.

😆 A urethra infection is called urethritis.

😆 The ureters have a rare site of infection.

1. Acute pyelonephritis ( infection of the kidneys): 

This is a sudden and severe type of kidney infection. One could experience symptoms such as upper back and side pain, high fever, shaking, chills, fatigue , and mental changes.

2. Cytisis (infection of the bladder): 

This type of UTI is usually caused by Escherichia coli (E. coli, this is a type of bacteria commonly found in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. However, sometimes other bacteria can also be responsible.

Sexual intercourse can make you prone to having cystitis, however you don't have to be sexually active to develop it.

A symptom of cystitis includes the following: feeling of pressure around your pelvic region, Lower abdomen discomfort, Frequent/painful urination and also Blood in urine.

3. Urethritis (infection of the urethra): 

This type of UTI can occur when GI bacteria spread from the anus to the urethra. This is because the female urethra is close to the vagina, sexually transmitted infections, such as herpes, gonorrhea, chlamydia and mycoplasma, can cause urethritis. You might feel a Burning sensation while urinating and can also have discharges too.

Risk Factors 

The following factors can increase your chances of getting UTI.

1. Poor personal hygiene. Read also ( 10 menstrual hygiene practices every woman should follow.
2. Having Sexual intercourse, especially if it's more frequent and with multiple or new partners. Read also (6 Things You Ought To Do Immediately After Sex)
3. Diabetes
4. Problems emptying the bladder completely.
5. Having urinary catheter.
6. Blocked flow of urine.
7. Kidney stones .
8. Use of spermicide and tampons.
9. Bowel incontinence.
10. Immobility for a long period.
11. Menopause.
12. The heavy use of antibiotics,  can disrupt the natural flora of the bowel and urinary tract.

Symptoms of Urinary Tract Infection 

The symptoms may include:

1. A burning sensation while urinating
2. A frequent urge to urinate ,even though it's just a little that comes out.
3. Cloudy, dark, bloody, or strange-smelling pee.
4. Fever or chills (which could indicate that the infection has reached the kidney)
5. The feeling of pressure or pain in your back or at your lower abdomen.
6. Nausea and vomiting.


When UTI is left untreated it can lead to serious consequences. The complications of UTI's may include:

The kidney might get permanently damaged  resulting from an acute or chronic kidney infection (pyelonephritis). There will be an increased risk in pregnant women of delivering low birth weight or premature infants.

Having Recurrent infections, especially in women who experience two or more UTIs in a six-month or four or more within a year could lead to Urethral narrowing (stricture) which occurs in men from recurrent urethritis, previously seen with gonococcal urethritis.

Results in Sepsis, a potentially life-threatening complication of an infection, especially if the infection works its way up your urinary tract to your kidneys.


You can get prevented from getting a UTI by following these steps:

1. Use of antibiotics is one of the common ways to treat urinary tract infection but make sure you take your prescribed medicine and complete the dosage even after you start noticing changes and get better. Results gotten from your urine culture can help your doctor select an antibiotic treatment that will work best against the type of bacteria that’s causing your infection.

2. Drink a lot of water: when you drink plenty water,it helps in diluting your urine and ensures that you urinate frequently thereby allowing the bacteria to be flushed away from your urinary tract .

3. Empty your bladder after intercourse and take a lot of water to flush the bacteria.

4. Make sure you wipe from front to back after using the toilet it helps prevent bacteria in the anal region from spreading to the vagina and the urethra.

5. Taking Cranberry juice might be helpful though studies haven't showed that it prevents UTI's but it can be helpful because there's a chemical in cranberries (red berry tannin) which may help to prevent certain types of bacteria that can cause a bacterial UTI from attaching to the lining of your bladder.

6. Avoid the use of irritating feminine products such as deodorant sprays, powder e.t.c as it may irritate the urethra.

7. Avoid regular use of diaphragm or spermicide for birth control.


You are strongly advised to see a doctor if you develop the symptoms of a UTI.

You will be asked to give a urine sample to test for UTI-causing bacteria.

If you frequently experience UTIs and your doctor suspects a problem in your urinary tract, they might be a need to take a closer look with an ultrasound, a CT scan, or an MRI scan.

A long flexible tube called a cystoscope might be used to look inside your urethra and bladder.

Remember Health Is Wealth

Written by: Okpah Marvelous
Medically Reviewed by Arghavan Salles, MD.

Read also: Pelvic Inflammatory Disease: What You Should Know
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