Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are a class of infection involving any part of the urinary or renal system. While most UTIs involve the bladder and urethra, any of the structures through which urine passes on its way out of the body can be affected:
- Kidneys (acute pyelonephritis)
- Bladder (cystitis)
- Urethra (urethritis)
In adults, common symptoms of urinary tract infections include:
- Pressure, cramping or discomfort in the lower abdomen or lower back
- Increased frequency of urination
- A persistent urge to urinate
- Pain or a burning sensation when urinating
- Cloudy, bloody or foul-smelling urine
- Tiredness and lethargy
- Muscle aches
Causes & Risk Factors
UTIs are usually caused by E. coli, which is naturally found in the colon. Other types of bacteria that can cause infection include Chlamydia and Mycoplasma.
Infections result when there is an imbalance of bacteria in the body or when the bacteria that gets inside the urinary tract does not get eliminated through urination.
Factors that tend to increase one’s risk of UTI include:
- Prior urinary tract infection
- Advanced age
- Bowel incontinence
- Urinary surgery
- Urinary tract abnormality
- Enlarged prostate
- Insufficient fluid intake
- Use of urinary catheters, diaphragms or tampons
- Sexual activity
UTIs are diagnosed through urinalysis, which may be followed by a urine culture. The first test checks for the presence of bacteria, white blood cells, red blood cells and other substances in the urine that can signal an infection, while the second identifies the type of bacteria behind the infection.
UTIs do not tend to be serious, but they need to be nipped in the bud to prevent them from coming back and causing complications. If you’re seeking medical care for a UTI, schedule an appointment online to visit a Sugar Land Physicians near you. Look for us at select H-E-B grocery stores and Rite Aid pharmacies.