A urinary tract infection or UTI refers to an infection that affects the urinary tract. It is known as a bladder infection or cystitis if it affects the lower urinary tract. When it affects the upper urinary tract, it is also known as a kidney infection or pyelonephritis. Individuals with a urinary tract infection may experience dysuria (pain during urination), increased frequency of urination, fever, flank pain, feeling of incomplete voiding, and, occasionally, blood in the urine.
However, in the extreme of ages, symptoms of a UTI may be nonspecific and vague. One of the commonest pathogens that causes a UTI is Escherichia coli. A kidney infection may occur as a bladder infection worsens and spreads upward. However, it can also occur due to a blood-borne infection. A urine culture may be useful in cases where the standard treatment fails. The usual treatment for a UTI involves a short course of trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole or nitrofurantoin. It is important to note that resistance to the standardized antibiotics is increasing. In more severe cases, intravenous antibiotics or a longer course may be required.
More tests may be needed in cases where symptoms do not improve in two to three days. In patients who are asymptomatic, antibiotics are usually not required (except in pregnancy). Individuals who experience frequent infections may benefit from a long course of antibiotics. Approximately 150 million individuals experience a UTI annually. UTIs are more common among women compared to men due to their shorter urinary tract.
Cause #1: Vesicoureteral Reflux
Vesicoureteral reflux is a condition where the urine flows backward from the bladder into the ureters and kidneys. In normal situations, urine usually flows from the kidneys and ureters to the bladder with the help of a valve present in the ureteral bladder junction to prevent backflow.
About 50 percent of children with this condition are asymptomatic. However, it increases the risk of bladder and kidney infections (UTI), which may prompt the testing for a reflux after a child experiences one or more infections.