The two kidneys are abdominal organs which produce urine and help us to get rid of waste in the body (Fig 1). They also produce important hormones in our bodies. The bladder is a pelvic organ which stores urine produced by the kidneys. It can store up to around 350 mls-500 mls of urine. The urethra is a thin tube that connects the bladder to the external environment.
The urinary tract (both kidneys, bladder and urethra) can be infected by micro-organisms such as bacteria (common), viruses (uncommon) and fungi.
UTI symptoms include:
Statistics on UTI
UTIs can occur because of different factors.
Host factors - Patients who have abnormal anatomy or functional urinating issues may allow micro-organisms to invade/infect the urinary tracts more easily. Patients who are immunocompromised (eg, diabetic) may get UTIs more often.
Pathogenic factors - The micro-organisms (usually bacteria) have evolved well enough to invade normal urinary tracts.
Environmental factors - Sexual intercourse or use of spermicides for susceptible patients may make it easier for micro-organisms to infect the urinary tract.
A recurrent UTI is widely defined as more than two episodes of uncomplicated or complicated UTI in the last 6 months or more than 3 episodes in the last 12 months, documented by urine culture.
UTI can manifest as either cystitis (involving the bladder) or pyelonephritis (involving the kidneys) and may also be classified as complicated or uncomplicated.
Uncomplicated UTIs are sporadic, community acquired episodes of cystitis and pyelonephritis in otherwise healthy individuals
Complicated UTI means that there are structural or functional urinary tract abnormalities or an underlying pathology that made UTIs more common for that patient. This also means that the patient may have increased risks of infection or failure of therapy.
Please seek avice from your family doctor or specialist if you have recurrent UTIs.
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