God Bless You Dear Readers.
In my last Post, Series 1, I defined Urinary Tract Infection (UTI), and also mentioned their Causes.
In today’s Post, I will talk about the Urinary System, as well as Symptoms and Complications of UTIs.
THE URINARY SYSTEM
The functions of the Urinary System, namely, the Kidneys, Ureters, Bladder, and Urethra, are to remove excess water and waste from the body.
1. Functions of the Kidneys:
The Kidneys filter blood, remove waste, and surplus water, to form urine.
The Kidneys also aid the reabsorption of ingredients that are essential, namely, water, amino acids, and glucose.
Furthermore, the Kidneys are important in regulating Blood Pressure.
2. Function of the Ureters:
The two Ureters help to drain from each Kidney, urine into the Bladder.
3. Function of the Bladder:
The Bladder, an organ that looks like a sack, receives and stores urine.
And after collecting enough urine, there occurs voluntary contraction of a muscle lining the bladder, thus getting ready to expel urine.
4. Function of the Urethra:
A small tube known as “Urethra,” connects the Bladder with outside the body.
The Urinary Sphincter, which is a Muscle at the junction of the Bladder and the Urethra, relaxes exactly at the time the Bladder contracts, and expels urine.
In males, the Urethra opens at the end of the Penis, while in females, it opens at the front of the Vagina.
Lower and Upper Urinary Tracts:
The Urinary Tract consists of the Lower and Upper Urinary Tracts.
The Lower Urinary Tract consists of the Bladder and Urethra, while the Upper Urinary Tract is made up of the Kidneys and Ureters.
It is opined that infections mostly affect the Lower Urinary Tract.
And as earlier mentioned, women mostly develop Infections than men.
This is because the female Urethra is close to the Anus and Vagina, making it possible for them to easily contact infections.
Names of Urinary Tract Infections:
Please note that names given to Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs), depend on where they occur.
1. Bladder Infection is named, “Cystitis.”
2. Kidney Infection is named, “Pyelonephritis.”
3. Urethra Infection is named, “Urethritis.”
The E. Coli bacteria causes the Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) of the Urethra.
In view of the female anatomy, in other words, the closeness of the Urethra to the Anus and Vagina, infections which are sexually transmitted such as gonorrhea, herpes, chamydia, and mycoplasma, can cause “Urethritis.”
However, chamydia and mycoplasma do not infect the bladder, only the Urethra.
It is said that Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) affect any part of the Urinary System, that is, the Bladder, Urethra, Kidneys, Ureters.
However, the Lower Urinary Tract, that is, the Bladder and Urethra, are affected by most infections.
Most Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) are minor.
However, some are serious.
Long-lasting Kidney Infections could cause permanent damage, while acute kidney infections could be life-threatening, if there is occurrence of “Septicemia,” that is bacteria in the blood stream.
SYMPTOMS AND COMPLICATIONS:
It is important to note that symptoms depend on the part of the patient’s urinary tract infected.
Symptoms accompanying Urinary Tract Infection (UTI), in the Lower Tract, which affects the Urethra and Bladder, are as follows:
1. Pressure and cramps in the lower abdomen, and lower back.
2. The patient experiences a high temperature or fever of about 38°C or above.
3. The patient is confused, feels restless or agitated.
4. There is an urge to urinate, which is strong and persistent.
5. The patient urinates frequently, and a little at a time.
6. When urinating, the patient feels a burning sensation.
7. There is blood in the urine.
8. The patient’s urine is cloudy.
9. The urine looks like tea or cola.
10. The urine has a strong odor.
11. In the case of women, they experience pelvic pains around the pelvis and pubic bone.
12. Men experience rectal pain, and every other symptom mentioned, here.
13. The patient feels generally unwell.
As for Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) in the Upper Tract, it affects the Kidneys.
Symptoms for Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) which affect the Kidneys are:
1. High fever
6. Pains and tenderness around the sides and upper back.
Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) which affect the Kidneys, if not promptly treated, can be life-threatening, because bacteria could move from the infected Kidneys into the blood.
This condition is referred to as “Urosepsis,” and can cause the patient a blood pressure that is dangerously low, shock, and even death.
Urinary Tract Infection That Is Complicated:
1. UTIs In The Kidneys:
Complicated cases of UTIs that lead to Kidney Failure, blood poisoning, are rare.
2. UTIs In Pregnancy:
Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) in Pregnancy is dangerous for both mother and child.
It can cause hypertension for pregnant women. So at the slightest sign of UTI, please go see your doctor without delay.
(b) Premature Delivery:
This causes premature delivery of infants, or delivery of infants with low birth weight.
Hence pregnant women are usually tested to find out if there is bacteria in their urine, even where there are no symptoms.
They are however, given antibiotics, to avoid spread of the ailment.
3. UTIs In Children:
A small percentage of children experience UTIs. And in younger children, they are usually more serious.
Symptoms in Children:
(a) Problem of feeding in babies.
(c) Fever is about 38°C or above.
4. Recurrent UTIs:
Some women experience several Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) within 1 year.
Recurrence is often categorized as either reinfection or relapse.
In most cases, where there is recurring UTIs, they are reinfections.
Some weeks after treatment with antibiotics, the initial episode clears up.
However, reinfection can be caused by the same bacteria that caused the original episode, or by a different bacteria.
This is a less common form of recurrent UTI.
When UTIs recur within 12 weeks of treatment of the first ailment, as a result of treatment failure, “Relapse” occurs.
Relapse occurs in cases of Kidney infections, Kidney Stones, Structural Abnormalities or cases of chronic prostate, in men.
5. Urethral Narrowing:
Some men experience Urethral Narrowing.
6. Untreated UTIs:
Untreated Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) could result in permanent Kidney damage, as a result of acute Kidney infection known as “Pyelonephritis.”
It could also result in life-threatening complications known as “UroSepsi,” as earlier mentioned.
In Series 3, I will discuss Risk Factors and Diagnosis of UTIs.
Please watch out for this, as you need these information, to better protect yourself and your loved ones from the ailment.
Stay Healthy Always And Remain Blessed. Love You All.