A urinary tract infection (UTI) is a condition that occurs in your urinary system, which is made up of the bladder, kidneys, ureters, and urethra. Often a UTI takes place in the bladder and the urethra, the lower urinary tract. Every year in the U.S., more than 6 million patient visits to the doctor are UTI-related, and the condition is more common in women than in men. Antibiotics are generally prescribed to treat a UTI, and the type of drug is usually dependent on the type of bacteria discovered in your urine sample. Visit AFC Urgent Care Springfield for UTI treatment and diagnosis. If severe, hospital treatment may be necessary. Both women and men can develop certain complications from a UTI.
Complications in Men & Women
UTIs must not only be treated urgently but correctly as well. Even though cases of lower UTI complications are rare, if left untreated, a UTI can develop into a severe complication. The untreated infection can spread to your kidneys, where permanent kidney damage can occur if the infection takes hold and causes acute or chronic kidney infection (pyelonephritis). The infection reaching the kidneys can also lead to sepsis or urosepsis, as sepsis caused by a UTI is called. This can be life-threatening and is the body’s severe response to the UTI in the kidneys.
Complications in women and men are often different. Women commonly experience recurring infections, usually characterized as having two or more in six months, up to four or more positive urine cultures during 24 months. This is usually a sign that the tract has been re-infected or that treatment was unsuccessful in clearing up the infection completely.
UTIs in pregnant women put both the women and the fetus at risk. According to Medscape, the risks include low birth weight, pyelonephritis, preterm birth, and increased perinatal mortality.
A UTI complication in men involves the narrowing of the urethra narrowing (stricture) caused by recurrent urethritis, which is the swelling and inflammation of the urethra. Men with UTI may find it difficult to urinate or experience pain when urinating because of urethritis.
Signs of a UTI
A person could have a UTI and not know because the infection doesn’t always manifest signs and symptoms. However, some indications of a UTI may include:
- An intense and persistent urge to urinate
- Urination with burning sensation or pain
- Need to urinate comes on suddenly or more urgently than usual
- Frequent urination, but in small amounts
- Cloudy urine
- Blood in the urine (red, bright pink, or cola-colored)
- Strong-smelling urine
- Pelvic pain (in women)
- Fever that may or may not cause chills
- Pain in the back or sides
- Pressure, pain, or tenderness in the region of the bladder
The root cause of a UTI-related complication is the UTI itself and must be treated properly first and foremost. A course of antibiotics prescribed by your doctor and taken orally is typically used to treat UTIs. The type of antibiotics prescribed will likely be dependent on the source of the infection and the type of bacteria that’s responsible. Antibiotics are typically prescribed for up to a week if you have a lower urinary tract infection and for up to 2 weeks if you have an upper-tract infection. Treatment also includes medications to manage the symptoms of the UTI. Administration of antibiotics intravenously in a hospital may be necessary for rare instances of severe infections.
UTI complications can extend treatment up to 6 weeks and are dependent on the complicating factors. Treatment options may vary as a result. Treating urosepsis could prove complex if it doesn’t respond solely to antibiotics. Oxygen may be needed for severe sepsis, while surgery (draining the urinary tract or removing inflamed tissue) may be necessary for some persons to get rid of the infection entirely.
Early detection of a UTI and prompt treatment can prevent complications from developing. Untreated UTI can prove problematic for your health, whether you are male or female. If you believe that you have a UTI, consult with your physician and get tested.