A urinary tract infection is a bacterial infection that affects the individual’s urinary tract. This can take place in either the bladder or the kidney. Although urine generally has many different materials in it, including waste products, it is not normal for it to contain bacteria. Should that bacteria make its way to the urinary tract, it may grow in count while in the urine, and lead to a urinary tract infection.
Some of the potential symptoms are mentioned below. Bear in mind that there is a difference between infections in the bladder and kidney, and individual cases may also have different symptoms. As these symptoms can generally come from other conditions, having one or more of them does not necessarily mean that a patient has a UTI. Also, some infections can be asymptomatic, so a lack of these symptoms does not mean that there cannot be a UTI.
Some possibilities include urine problems such as blood (hematuria), pus (pyuria) or protein (proteinuria) in the urine, as well as cloudy or foul smelling urine. Several others are night sweats, chills, high temperature fever spikes, severe fatigue, pressure or pain in the abdomen, kidney pain, etc.
A qualified doctor or medical professional may be able to make a diagnosis of a urinary tract infection. It is generally confirmed by means of a urine culture. If the test returns a negative, then differential diagnoses may be considered. Some possibilities are: infection of Chlamydia trachomatis or Neisseria gonorrheae, interstitial cystitis, or prostatitis. These may be considered based upon the symptoms present, and different diagnostic methods for them may be used.
Treatment and prevention
Different cases and individuals may call for various treatment methods. In UTIs which are not complicated, oral antibiotics are often used. IV antibiotics may be an option if kidney infection symptoms are present. Attempts to prevent a urinary tract infection include drinking cranberry juice, having warm water baths without soap or foam, and ingesting sufficient amounts of water and fluids. Not all of these methods have been studied or shown as to whether they are effective.