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Urinary tract infection

Urinary tract infection: Introduction

Urinary tract infections are common infections of the urinary tract, which consists of the kidneys, ureters, bladder, urethra and the prostate gland. Urinary tract infections are the result of an invasion of bacteria or other microorganisms into the urinary tract.

Normally, urine and all of the organs and structures of the urinary tract are sterile and contain no microorganisms. However, infectious microorganisms can get into the urinary tract from outside the body through the urethra and cause urinary tract infections. Infectious microorganisms can also travel through the bloodstream from other parts of the body to cause urinary tract infections.

Urinary tract infections include bladder infection, bacterial prostatitis (urinary tract infection of the prostate gland) and pyelonephritis, a urinary tract infection of the kidney.

Symptoms of urinary tract infections can include frequent urination and bloody urine. Urinary tract infections can lead to potentially serious, even life-threatening complications in some people. For more information on complications and symptoms, refer to symptoms of urinary tract infections.

Urinary tract infections occur most commonly in women, because the urethra in women is shorter than a man's. This makes it easier for microorganisms to enter the female urinary tract and cause a urinary tract infection. Women who are sexually active, who use diaphragms for birth control, and/or are past menopause are at an increased risk for urinary tract infections.

Certain other populations are also at a higher risk for developing urinary tract infections. They include older adults and the elderly and people with a history of kidney stones, kidney disease, or chronic conditions that affect the immune system, such as HIV/AIDS and diabetes. People who have an indwelling catheter in their bladder are also at risk.

Making a diagnosis of a urinary tract infection begins with taking a thorough personal and family medical history, including symptoms, and completing a physical examination. It also includes performing a urinalysis test, which checks for the presence of pus, white blood cells, and bacteria in the urine, which point to a urinary tract infection. A urine culture and sensitivity is usually performed to find the exact microorganism that is causing the infection and to determine the most effective antibiotic to treat it.

Imaging tests, such as ultrasound, CT, nuclear scan, or voiding cystourethrogram may also be ordered to evaluate the functioning of the urinary tract.

A diagnosis of a urinary tract infection can easily be missed or delayed in the elderly. This is because some symptoms, such as fatigue and weakness, may not be noticed or might be associated with aging. For information on misdiagnosis, refer to misdiagnosis of urinary tract infections.

Mild urinary tract infections, such as a bladder infection, that are not accompanied with complications, such as pyelonephritis, are generally treated with oral antibiotic medications. People are also encouraged to drink plenty of water to help flush bacteria out of the bladder. The prognosis and the chance for a cure without complications are good for people who are generally healthy.

More serious infections, such as pyelonephritis, and urinary tract infections in people with HIV/AIDS or in the elderly, generally require hospitalization, especially if there are complications, such as sepsis. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of urinary tract infections....more »

Urinary tract infection: Misdiagnosis

People who are young or middle-aged are often diagnosed and treated quickly with a urinary tract infection. This is because the symptoms are often so painful, sudden and/or inconvenient that they seek prompt medical care.

However, in the elderly population, symptoms of a urinary tract infection, especially an early bladder infection, can be easily overlooked, delaying a ...more misdiagnosis »

Causes of Urinary tract infection:

The following medical conditions are some of the possible causes of Urinary tract infection. There are likely to be other possible causes, so ask your doctor about your symptoms.

» Review Causes of Urinary tract infection: Causes

Home Diagnostic Testing and Urinary tract infection

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Causes of Types of Urinary tract infection:

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Urinary tract infection Treatments

The first step in treating urinary tract infections is prevention. Prevention measures include drinking plenty of fluids, urinating as soon as possible when the urge is felt, and drinking cranberry juice, which may have infection-fighting qualities.

For women, prevention measures include urinating promptly after having sexual intercourse, wiping the genital area from front ...Urinary tract infection Treatments

Some of the possible treatments listed in sources for treatment of Urinary tract infection may include:

  • Fluids
  • Antibiotics
  • Drink lots of water
  • Empty bladder according to urges - do not try to hold it in.
  • Avoid caffeine - such as tea, coffee or sodas.
  • Bicarbonate of soda - helps reduce acidity of urine
  • Over-the-counter urinary alkalinisers - reduces urine acidity
  • more treatments...»

Review further information on Urinary tract infection Treatments.

Alternative Treatments for Urinary tract infection

Alternative treatments or home remedies that have been listed as possibly helpful for Urinary tract infection may include:

Stories from Users for Urinary tract infection

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Message Boards for Urinary tract infection

Symptom specific forums: The following patient stories in our interactive forums and message boards relate to Urinary tract infection or relevant symptoms:

Medications or substances causing Urinary tract infection:

The following drugs, medications, substances or toxins are some of the possible causes of Urinary tract infection as a symptom. Always advise your doctor of any medications or treatments you are using, including prescription, over-the-counter, supplements, herbal or alternative treatments.

Causes of General Symptom Types

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Causes of Similar Symptoms to Urinary tract infection

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Urinary tract infection: Deaths

Read more about causes and Urinary tract infection deaths.

Misdiagnosis and Urinary tract infection

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Urinary tract infection: Research Related Doctors & Specialists

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Hospitals & Clinics: Urinary tract infection

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Urinary tract infection: Related Rare Diseases

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Urinary tract infection: Undiagnosed Conditions

Conditions that are commonly undiagnosed in related areas may include:

Causes of Urinary tract infection listed in Disease Database:

Other medical conditions listed in the Disease Database as possible causes of Urinary tract infection as a symptom include:

Article Excerpts about Urinary tract infection

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are caused by bacteria in the urinary tract. Women get UTIs more often than men. UTIs are treated with antibiotics. Drinking lots of fluids also helps by flushing out the bacteria. (Source: excerpt from Your Urinary System and How It Works: NIDDK)

Definitions of Urinary tract infection:

Infections affecting stuctures participating in the secretion and elimination of urine: the kidneys, ureters, urinary bladder and urethra.
- (Source - Diseases Database)

Any infection of any of the organs of the urinary tract
- (Source - WordNet 2.1)

Infections affecting stuctures participating in the secretion and elimination of urine: the kidneys, ureters, urinary bladder and urethra.
- (Source - CRISP)

Organs affected by Urinary tract infection:

The list of organs typically affected by Urinary tract infection may include, but is not limited to:

Detailed list of causes of Urinary tract infection

The list below shows some of the causes of Urinary tract infection mentioned in various sources:

How Common are these Causes of Urinary tract infection?

This information refers to the general prevalence and incidence of these diseases, not to how likely they are to be the actual cause of Urinary tract infection. Of the 68 causes of Urinary tract infection that we have listed, we have the following prevalence/incidence information:

  • 2 causes are "very common" diseases
  • 5 causes are "common" diseases
  • 3 causes are "uncommon" diseases
  • 0 causes are "rare" diseases
  • 2 causes are "very rare" diseases
  • 60 causes have no prevalence information.

Conditions listing medical symptoms: Urinary tract infection:

The following list of conditions have 'Urinary tract infection' or similar listed as a symptom in our database. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.

Select from the following alphabetical view of conditions which include a symptom of Urinary tract infection or choose View All.

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Conditions listing medical complications: Urinary tract infection:

The following list of medical conditions have Urinary tract infection or similar listed as a medical complication in our database. The distinction between a symptom and complication is not always clear, and conditions mentioning this symptom as a complication may also be relevant. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.












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Causes of Urinary tract infection Based on Risk Factors

This information shows analysis of the list of causes of Urinary tract infection based on whether certain risk factors apply to the patient:

  • Travel - has the patient travelled recently?
  • Diabetes - history of diabetes or family history of diabetes?

    What are the alternative names for Urinary tract infection:

    - (Source - Diseases Database)

    Classifications of Urinary tract infection:

    Medical Conditions associated with Urinary tract infection:

    Urinary symptoms (1228 causes), Bladder symptoms (1010 causes), Infection (1293 causes), Urinary problems (1033 causes), Urinary difficulty (648 causes), Sexual symptoms (1838 causes), Urinary system symptoms (1228 causes), Urination symptoms (1228 causes), Infection-related symptoms (1293 causes), Digestive symptoms (5299 causes), Abdominal symptoms (5930 causes), Intercourse symptoms (258 causes), Lower abdominal symptoms (3048 causes)

    Symptoms related to Urinary tract infection:

    Cloudy urine (33 causes), Urethritis (40 causes), Urinary pain (93 causes), Blood in urine (389 causes), Kidney infection (15 causes), Enlarged prostate, Urinary stone, Mycoplasma, Urine retention (198 causes), Chlamydia, Catheters, Urinary abnormality, Escherichia coli infection, Meatal stenosis, Kidney stone

    Medical articles on signs and symptoms:

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    Medical News summaries about Urinary tract infection

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    Evidence Based Medicine Research for Urinary tract infection

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    Related medical articles from our Disease Center for Cystitis:

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