Millions of people fall prey to urinary tract infections (UTIs) every year. Compared to men, women are more prone to UTI. It is estimated that one out of every five women gets infected in her lifetime. However, though not common, urinary tract infections can be very grave in men, when they do occur.
The main function of the urinary system, which consists of the kidneys, bladder, and urethra, is the removal of wastes from blood as urine. The urinary system helps in maintaining a stable level of salts in the body. It also makes a certain hormone, which helps in the production of red blood corpuscles. Normally, a quart and a half of urine gets excreted out daily from the body. However, the quantity of urine varies according to fluid consumption.
Urinary Tract Infections occur when microbs such as bacteria from the digestive tract get attached to the opening of the urethra, the tube that let the urine pass out. These infectious organisms multiply and affect the normal functioning of the urinary system. Escherichia coli, which lives in the colon, is the most common type of bacteria that causes urinary infection.
Bacterial infection at the urethra is termed as urethritis. When the infection spreads to the urinary bladder it is called cystitis. If still not treated, bacteria further multiply and move up to the ureters and affect the proper functioning of kidneys. Such a kidney infection is called as pyelonephritis.
Other than Escherichia coli, Chlamydia and Mycoplasma also causes infection in the urethra and reproductive system. These two microorganisms get sexually transmitted as well.
Recurrent urge to urinate, a deep burning feeling during urination and decreased quantities of urine are the common symptoms of urinary tract infections. In some people UTI does not get manifested at all where as in some others it is accompanied by change in urine colour from milky to reddish.