Are Women More Prone to Urinary Tract Infection?
A urinary tract infection (UTI), medically called as cystitis, is an infection in the urinary tract (urethra) and the bladder. Usually, the indications include a burning sensation when urinating and a persistent urge to urinate. Urine appears cloudy or bloody and smells strange
Is UTI a Serious Disease?
Complaints of UTI symptoms may be caused by the habit of holding urine or drink too little water leading to dark urine and urinary tract irritation. However, when there is bacterium (microorganism) found to be the suspect of infection, a treatment must be performed immediately. Late treatment may lead to bacterial persistence and antibiotics-resistance. Additionally, the infection may spread to the kidneys and other organs. For pregnant women, urinary tract infection may be associated with preterm birth (premature birth), hindered fetal growth, chorioamnionitis, and fetal death.
What are the causes?
UTI occurs when there is bacterium or other microorganisms attach and replicate in the opening of the urethra (mouth of the urinary tract). Causes of UTI include wiping in the wrong direction and certain positions during sexual intercourse, which cause the bacteria from anus (rectum) and vagina enter the urinary tract. Additionally, drinking too little water and holding urine increase the chance for the bacteria to replicate.
Common bacteria that cause UTI are Escherichia coli, abbreviated as E. coli (70-95% of the case) and Salmonella saprophyticus (about 3-10% case). E. coli usually lives in gastrointestinal tract, inside the colon. This bacterium enters the urethra tract when a person does not clean themselves properly after defecation or urinating.
Who is at risk?
Women are at higher risk compared to men as the distance of the urethra to the anus and the urethral opening to the bladder is anatomically short. The risk becomes higher when the woman is sexually active because the vaginal bacteria is more likely to be "pushed" into the bladder.
What test should I take?
Preliminary test can be conducted through urinalysis to assess urine characteristics. Urine culture (replication) can be conducted when the signs of infection are detected. In urine culture, the type and number of the bacteria causing UTI will be revealed to determine the most suitable antibiotics to eliminate the bacteria. UTI may be recurrent.
In addition to urine testing, sometimes blood testing is also performed to observe the kidney function, to determine whether or not it still functions properly.