Urinary tract infections (UTI) are infections of the urinary tract that most commonly affect the urethra and bladder. While the cause of UTIs is most commonly due to bacteria, viral and fungal infections can also cause UTIs. Symptoms of a UTI include dysuria, cloudy urine, pinkish urine, bad urine odor, increased urgency and frequency of urination, abdominal discomfort, fever, chills, tiredness, and confusion. Risk factors of UTIs include diabetes, sexual intercourse, and obesity.
UTIs can be treated with a short course of antibiotics, such as trimethoprim or nitrofurantoin. Women should wipe from front to back after going to the bathroom to avoid the urethra being contaminated by bacteria from the anus. An untreated UTI can be dangerous since the infection can travel upward to the bladder and eventually involve the kidneys. Recurrent UTIs in children may indicate that there is a malfunction or malformation of the urinary tract that requires medical attention.
UTIs are a common condition that can occur in any individual regardless of age, gender, or race. However, it most commonly affects females because of their anatomy. (They have a shorter opening from the outside environment to the bladder. Therefore, the pathogen has a shorter path to the bladder.) It most commonly occurs in women between the ages of 16 to 35 years old. About 40 to 60 percent of women have developed a UTI at some point in life, and approximately 150 million individuals suffer from a UTI annually.
Cause #1: Escherichia Coli
Escherichia coli (E. coli) is a gram-negative bacterium that is most commonly found in the large intestines of warm-blooded animals. While most strains of E. coli are harmless, some strains can cause food poisoning and food contamination.
E. coli from the gut is responsible for 80 to 85 percent of community-acquired urinary tract infections. For treatment, the current antibiotics of choice are fluoroquinolones, azithromycin, and rifaximin.