Express News Service
BENGALURU: Infection in one’s urinary tract can result in serious infection and could be life-threatening. In our body, the urinary system is responsible for making urine. The urinary tract comprises of two kidneys, ureters, the bladder with urethra.
Urinary tract infection (UTI) occurs when bacteria enters into urinary system and multiply. If the infection is not tackled at the right time, it allows the bacteria to travel up to the kidney and result in a serious type of infection called pyelonephritis.
Symptoms of UTI
- Urgency to urinate
- Urinary frequency
- A sense of burning during urination
- Aching feeling, pressure or lower abdominal pain
- Blood-tinged or cloudy urine
- Strong odour in the urine
UTIs necessarily do not lead to kidney damage. However, if the problem is left untreated, then the infection might spread. A kidney infection does require medical or surgical attention and if unattended, then can damage the kidneys permanently. The bacteria can sometimes spread to the bloodstream and cause a life-threatening sepsis.
- Females are more likely to catch this infection as their urethra is shorter than it is in men. This makes it easier for the bacteria to travel to the bladder. Pregnant women are at an even higher risk.
- A blockage in the urinary tract which can slow the flow of urine or reduces the bladder’s ability to empty can lead to the infection. The blockage can be due to a kidney stone, some abnormality in the structure of the urinary tract or an enlarged prostate gland (in men).
- A weakened immune system also increases the chance due to health history or medications.
- Any damage to the nerves around the bladder.
- Using a urinary catheter, a tube used to drain urine from the bladder usually when a person is confined to bed due to sickness or surgeries.
- If a person suffers from a condition which causes the urine to flow in the wrong direction back into ureters and kidneys.
- Complications involved in a kidney infection:
- Kidney scarring which can further result in chronic kidney disease, high blood pressure, and kidney failure.
- Septicemia or blood poisoning due to bacteria spread into the bloodstream from kidney infection.
- Pregnancy complications can occur if the kidney is infected, especially the risk of delivering low birth weight babies.
Kidney infection that results from UTI is indeed a serious concern and needs proper medical attention at the earliest. However, since prevention is always better than cure, here are some lifestyle changes:
Consume enough fluids, as it helps in removing bacteria from the body while urinating.
- Try not to delay urination when you have the urge to.
- Clean the vaginal introitus before and after sexual intercourse.
- Empty the bladder right after the intercourse as that also helps in clearing bacteria from the urethra.
- Be careful while wiping. Wiping from front to back after urinating and post bowel movement also prevents the spread of bacteria to urethra.
- Do not use products such as deodorant sprays in your genital area.
– The author is senior consultant- urologist, Aster RV Hospital