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What is urinary tract infection?

It is the infection located in any part of the urinary tract. The urinary tract consists of the urethra, bladder, ureters and kidneys. Urinary tract infections occur when bacteria enter the urethra and travel to the bladder. If the infection stays only in the bladder it is called cystitis or lower urinary tract infection, if the infection travels to the kidneys it is called kidney infection or pyelonephritis or upper urinary tract infection. Bladder infections are one of the most common infections and are more common in women than in men. Kidney infections are more infrequent and more severe.


What are their possible causes?

Bacteria do not normally live in the urinary tract, but are present near the urethra in both women and men. Urinary tract infections occur when these bacteria enter the urethra and travel through the urinary tract. There are factors that can increase the risk of a urinary tract infection such as:

  • Having a new sexual partner or having sex frequently .Having had a kidney or bladder infection in the past 12 months.
  • Using spermicides.
  • In men, having anal sex.
  • Having kidney stones or ureteral reflux, which implies a blockage of urine flow.
Genetic predisposition.

What are the symptoms?

Typical symptoms of a lower urinary tract or bladder infection or cystitis include:

  •  Urgency to urinate (uncontrollable feeling to go to the toilet).
  • Pain or “burning” when passing urine.
  • Sensation of incomplete emptying of the bladder.
  • Pain or feeling of pressure in the lower abdomen or pelvis.
  • Pain in the back.
  • Blood in the urine.

Burning during urination may also be present in vaginal infections and urethritis (inflammation of the urethra). This symptom can generate confusion regarding the correct diagnosis, it is convenient to consult with the doctor since the treatment will be different depending on the case.

Kidney infections can sometimes cause the same symptoms as a bladder infection (listed above), but can also cause:

  • Fever (temperature above 100.4º F or 38º C ).
  • Lower back pain (one or both sides of the lower back, where the kidneys are located).
  • Nausea or vomiting.

Delaying treatment can lead to serious complications, so it is advisable to consult a doctor promptly in the event of the symptoms described above.

Urinary tract infections in the elderly may present only with fever or general malaise, but may also manifest with sensory disturbances (confusion) or digestive symptoms. In the elderly, characteristic symptoms such as burning when urinating or lumbar pain may not be present. In the face of these manifestations, a urine culture can clarify the diagnosis.

Take a diagnostic test to find out if you are suffering from a urinary tract infection: