In the human body, the process of making urine is totally carried out in an organ known as the kidney. After urine is made, it is transported from the kidney to the bladder through a tube called ureter.
The urine is temporarily stored in the bladder for a few hours or until the bladder is full before the urge to urinate comes. When it is the time to urinate, urine passes from the bladder through another organ called urethra which ends at the tip of the penis or vagina. From there, the urine is passed out.
So the tract from the kidney down to the penis or vagina through the urethra from where urine passes is called the “Urinary Tract”.

Urinary Tract Infection also called (UTI) then becomes any infection or disorder that happens anywhere within the whole of the tract I mentioned.
Taking a look at that, one would understand that it is not always easy to tell apart which of the part is affected, except through some symptoms or laboratory tests to identify some parameters.
While some of the Urinary Tract Infections are not very serious, some others can be very dangerous, especially when left untreated.
It should also be noted that some dangerous diseases start with mild or simple symptoms. So it would be necessary going for a test.

There are a number of factors that can cause this disease.

  1. Bacteria: When bacteria enter the urinary tract, most often through the urethra that leads from the penis or vagina. The bacteria can reside in the bladder and begin to multiply there.
    The most common bacteria responsible for this are the Escherichia coli (E.coli), Staphylococcus saprophyticus, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Proteus mirabilis and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Though infection caused by Staphylococcus saprophyticus is more common in females of the reproductive age than in their male counterparts, this is because it forms part of the normal flora of their vagina. Infection caused by Pseudomonas aeruginosa is usually hospital acquired (that is they are gotten from hospital in most cases).
    These bacteria when in the bladder multiply and infect it and from then the bladder tends to loose its strength (this is the reason behind the frequent urge to urinate, which is a symptom we will still talk about).
    These bacteria and more can also infect the urethra causing discharge and painful urination.
    From the explanation so far, one can say that gonorrhea, chlamydia and some other bacteria that spreads from the vagina during intercourse to the urethra can in a way lead to infection of the urinary tract.

UTI is most common in women because of the closeness of the vagina to the urethra and again due to the shortness of the female urethra to the bladder when compared to their male counterparts.
E. coli as a bacterium that causes this UTI is most often spread from the anus to the vagina after toilet. For this reason, people especially women are always advised to wipe from front to the back and not otherwise.

  1. Kidney stone: This too can contribute to the Urinary Tract Infection. This results when your urine contains more crystal-forming substances — such as calcium, oxalate and uric acid — than the fluid in your urine can dilute.
    This causes lots of pain while urinating.
    In the laboratory, the usual parameter which can show that kidney stone is underway is the presence of crystals called “Calcium Oxalate” in the urine.
    For this reason, people are adviced to drink plenty of water.
  2. Prostate Cancer and Enlargement: In older men, prostate enlargement can cause pain during urination and this automatically has affected the urinary tract. This happens because the enlarged prostate tends to black the urethra and makes the passage of unrine very difficult. There could be other causes but the most common ones have been touched.

Most often, people who have UTI may show the following symptoms.

  1. Painful urination. This is as a result of the inflammation of the urethra.
  2. Frequent urge to urinate and low volume of unrine. This is as a result of the inflammation or the infection of the bladder. It tends to loose its strength and would always give you the signal to urinate even when it is not full.
  3. Cloudy urine. Because of the presence of bacteria, the inflammation of the bladder and/or urethra, it results to the changing of the normal appearance of the urine. This could also be as a result the conversion of nitrate to nitrite by some bacteria in the urinary tract.
  4. Foul smelling urine.
  5. Sometimes, blood might appear in the urine especially when co-infected with a condition called Schistosomiasis.
  6. There could be pelvic and/or lower abdominal pain and many more.
    Sometimes, an infected person might not show the whole symptoms listed above but the most common ones are painful urination and the need to urinate often.

An untreated UTI can result in many other serious complications that can be life-threatening. It is always good to get tested when you notice an abnormality.
People not only those with UTI are always adviced to drink plenty of water and to always urinate when the need comes.
This is in a bid to flush the bacteria in the bladder out through urine.
Drinking plenty of water will not only flush out the bacteria in your bladder but will also help in dissolving some of the crystal-forming substances that can result in kidney stone.
People diagnosed to have UTI caused by bacteria are easily treated with the use of appropriate antibiotics.

UTI can be prevented by

  1. Drinking plenty of fluids, especially water.
  2. Wiping from front to the back for, especially in women.
  3. Emptying your bladder (urinating) soon after intercourse, this can help to prevent a condition called Honeymoon Cystitis.
  4. Avoiding things that would irritate the urethra (douches, perfumes, etc)
    When you notice unusual signs in your body, don’t fail to report to the hospital and get tested.
    Some dangerous diseases start with mild symptoms. Say no to blind treatment.

Stay safe,
Stay healthy.

©Joel Kosiso

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