Urinary tract infection (UTI) is a common medical problem affecting many Nigerians and it accounts for a significant number of outpatient visits to hospitals and clinics. Severe cases are usually life threatening and requires hospital admission and treatment with potent antibiotics.
What is Urinary Tract Infection? Urinary tract infection is described as the presence of micro-organisms with the urinary tract (urethra, bladder, ureters and kidneys) leading to an establishment and proliferation of microorganisms within the tract with subsequent inflammation of the urinary tract. UTI typically begins as an infection affecting the lower portion of the urinary tract but it gets to involve the whole urinary tract if not promptly or adequately treated. This phenomenon is called ascending urinary tract infection.
UTI affects men, women and children alike and it is commonly caused by certain bacteria. These include: Escherichia coli (commonest cause of UTI) Klebsiella, Enterobacter, and Proteus. Other bacteria that can cause UTI are Pseudomonas, Serratia, Streptococcus faecalis and Staphylococcus. It is important to note that some individuals may show no obvious symptoms of urinary tract infection but are harboring the disease.
In this article, we are going to bring to limelight the 5 key symptoms of urinary tract infection.
1. Painful/ burning sensation during urination: this is typically the first key symptoms indicating the presence of a urinary tract infection. This is caused by the irritation of the mucus membrane lining the urinary tract, production of certain chemical agents by the invading organism and the body leading to pain. Pain caused by UTI typically worsens during urination and may subside afterwards.
2. Frequency: this is the passage of frequent small volume of urine. This is another key symptom of UTI and shouldn’t be ignored. This is caused by the irritation of the bladder caused by the invading organisms. Here, the bladder is constantly irritated leading to increase and frequent urge to urinate.
3. Unpleasant urine: frequently ignored by most patients and health workers, urine that is unnecessarily unpleasant or highly foul smelling is another key symptom of urinary tract infection. If you ever feel that your urine is has an unpleasant odour, you should kindly consult a physician for proper evaluation as this may be the only symptom of your UTI. Delay in treatment can lead to life threatening complications
4. Cloudy or blood in the urine: urine may become cloudy due to the proliferation of millions of microorganism and the turbid urine caused by such. Urine should never be cloudy, frothy or bloody. The presences of cloudy urine, blood in the urine of frank passage of blood are all danger signs that may indicate the presence of a urinary tract infection.
5. Irritative symptoms: These are a group of symptoms seen in urinary tract infection as a result of intense irritation of the urethra, ureter and especially the bladder by the invading organisms. Symptoms like increase urge of urination, feeling of residual urine in the bladder after urination, increase urination at night and inability to hold urine once the urge to urinate has commenced are important pointers of urinary tract infection.
Urinary tract infection is a treatable medical condition but treatment should be done promptly by visiting a physician for proper evaluation and treatment. The availability of antibiotic has revolutionized the treatment and course of urinary tract infection.