The urinary tract represents the body’s filter for disposal of excess fluids. Due to the anatomy of the urinary tract, women are particularly susceptible to bacteria that can settle in the urinary tract and multiply – resulting in an infection of the urinary tract. Urinary infections are usually bacterial infections of the kidneys, urethra, and bladder. The most common way of spreading the infection (90%) is by penetration of bacteria through the skin around the genitals and rectum toward the bladder, which is a fertile environment for bacteria growth due to the presence of proteins, sugars and favorable temperature.
Many different microorganisms can cause kidney and urinary tract infections, but most infections are caused by Gram-negative bacteria (Escherichia coli, Proteus, Klebsiella, Enterobacter, Pseudomonas). The bacteria Escherichia coli is detected in 80% of patients with acute infection of the urinary tract.
The other Gram-negative bacteria may cause acute urinary tract infections in patients with urinary catheters, after urological interventions, in the presence of kidney stones (calculi) and urine flow obstruction through the urinary tract.
Bacteria can reach the urinary tract from an infection elsewhere in the body through the bloodstream (hematogenous dissemination of bacteria). High-risk groups of more frequent urinary infections are patients with diabetes, pregnant women, and women in menopause due to estrogen deficiency, etc.
Usually symptoms manifest in the form of frequent and painful urination, burning sensation when urinating, often followed by nighttime urination, and pain in the pelvis and back. The urine may be cloudy or with traces of blood.
The diagnosis of urinary tract infections is made by using:
– Laboratory analysis of blood and urine
– Microbiological urinalysis-urine culture with antibiogram
– Ultrasound of the urinary tract
Correct sampling of the material for microbiological analysis of urine it is of outmost importance. After proper washing of the external parts of the genital tract, a small amount of midstream (not first) urine is collected. The container in which urine is collected must be sterile. The sample (urine) must reach the laboratory for analysis in no later than two hours.
Accurate diagnosis is essential because similar symptoms may be a result of an infection of the genitals. Only your physician can make this distinction and make an accurate diagnosis.
If a bacterial infection is confirmed, the treatment is antibiotic therapy in a way and duration as prescribed by a doctor. After completion of the prescribed therapy, a urine culture checkup should be conducted (at least one week after completion of the therapy). If it is not sterile, you should continue the antibiotic therapy, and if sterile, treatment ends. It is recommended to consume more fluids (water) and herbal teas, reduce intake of sugar and refined carbohydrates, and maintaining good personal hygiene.