Urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection of any point along the urinary tract, from the urethra (in the penis) known as urethritis through the bladder (cystitis) to the kidneys (pyelonephritis).
In adults, women are more likely to have UTI than men, probably due to their having a shorter urethra (for passing out urine) than the longer one in men, which allows shorter and easier migration of disease-causing microorganisms up along their urinary tract.
You may be having a urinary tract infection if you’re experiencing some of these below:
1. Feeling a burning sensation whenever you’re urinating. In addition, there may be this need to always go urinate and an increase in the number of times you urinate in a day, all of which you never experienced before.
2. A feeling that your bladder is full every time or pain somewhere near your pubic hair area or on either side of your lower abdomen towards your back near the rib cage.
3. In some cases, people with UTI may see streaks of blood in their urine.
4. Because it is an infection, some people with UTI do have fever, chills and generalized body weakness.
If you’re experiencing some of the above, especially the first two, quickly visit a good hospital near you to see a doctor. Any good hospital should be able to recommend and, in most cases, carry out the following tests on you after the doctor has asked you series of questions and examined you:
1. Urinalysis: this analyses your urine with special chemicals or a strip of paper (dipstick) for things like white blood cells, protein, and other chemicals called nitrite and leucocyte esterase, which indicate you may be having a UTI if they are found in the urine.
2. Urine Microscopy, Culture and Sensitivity: this test examines your urine under the microscope for white and red blood cells; part of the urine is also cultured for the particular microorganism causing the UTI, and the identified microorganism is now tested against a batch of antibiotics to find which ones are most effective against it.
Once the causative microorganism has been identified, the most effective antibiotics will be prescribed by the doctor. And you will be instructed to comply with the prescribed antibiotics for effective treatment of the UTI.
Failure to complete the prescribed antibiotics as instructed, even if all the symptoms you were having resolved in the first two days, the UTI will not be treated effectively; and there’s a very high chance the UTI will reoccur and this time will be more difficult to treat due to the microorganism developing resistance to the antibiotics.
Also, while on treatment for UTI, endeavour to drink enough water as this makes you urinate more which helps wash your urinary tract of microorganisms that may cause urinary tract infection. Women should urinate immediately after sexual intercourse to lower the risk of intercourse-associated bacteria migrating into the bladder where they can cause urinary tract infection.