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Understanding Urinary Tract Infections

A rising number of patients of both adults and children, regardless of gender, is facing acute health problems posed by urinary tract infections. According to statistics, women are more subjected to the diseases of this type than men, while the severity of the diseases in females is characterized by a more complicated nature.



Urinary tract infections are represented with inflammatory of the urinary system caused by infectious microorganisms having relapsing course and a possibility of complications development.

The urinary urinary tract represents a single complex where the formation of urine and its separation from the body takes place. It is a vital allocation system, from the smooth functioning of which depends not only the state of the human body, but also the patient's life in some cases (e.g. acute renal failure). Urinary tract consists of the bean-shaped kidneys (in which the formation of urine takes place), ureters (connecting urine with the bladder), bladder (a reservoir for urine) and urethra (providing an outside release).

Urinary tract plays a crucial role in maintaining the water-salt balance of the body, the development of a number of hormones (erythropoietin, for example) and the release of the body of a number of toxic substances. An average of 1.5-1.7 liters of urine is allocated, the amount of which may vary depending on the fluid intake, salt and urinary tract diseases.

The risks for urinary tract infections

- Female gender (women suffer from such infections 5 times more often than men, this is due to the physiological characteristics of the female organism - short and wide urethra makes it possible for the infection enter the urinary tract).

- Children under the age of 3 (which is mainly explained by immune deficiency, in particular, urinary tract infections are the most common cause of fever of unknown origin in boys up to 3 years).

- The elderly due to age-related development of immunodeficiency.

- Patients with structural features of the urinary system (e.g., enlarged prostate can obstruct the flow of urine from the bladder).

- Patients with renal impairment (e.g., urolithiasis, in which stones are an additional risk factor for infections).

- Patients of intensive care units (the patients that require a period of excretion of urine via the urinary catheter).

- Patients with chronic diseases (e.g., diabetes, in which there is a high risk of urinary tract infections by reducing the resistance of the organism).

- Women applying some methods of contraception (e.g., diaphragmatic ring).

Factors predisposing to urinary tract infections are:

1) hypothermia (the bulk of the problems of this nature occurs in the cooler months)

2) the presence of a respiratory infection in a patient (marked activation of common urological infections in the season of colds)

3) decreased immunity

4) violation of the outflow of urine of various kinds.

The causes of urinary tract infections

In the kidney absolutely sterile urine from microorganisms, it contains only water, salts and various metabolites. Infectious agent first penetrate into the urethra, which creates favorable conditions for its reproduction - developing urethritis. Further extends above the bladder, in which there is inflammation of the mucous membrane of it - cystitis. In the absence of adequate medical care, the infection enters the ureters to the kidneys with the development of pyelonephritis. This is the most frequent type of ascending infection.

Anatomy of the urinary system

The ways bacteria can penetrate the urinary tract:

1) Failure to comply with the rules of personal hygiene after using the restroom.

2) During sexual intercourse, and anal sex.

3) When using certain methods of contraception (diaphragmatic ring, spermicides).

4) Inflammatory changes in children occurred due to stagnation of urine in the urinary tract.

Symptoms of urinary tract infections

Urethritis, cystitis and pyelonephritis are the most widely spread cases monitored in medical practice.

In fact, there are two main types of infection: ascending and descending one. During ascending infection inflammation affects anatomically located below organs of the urinary system, and then the spread of infection to the upper organs takes place. An example is the anesthetic and subsequent development of pyelonephritis. Among the ascending infection reasons lie the functional problems in the form of vesicoureteral reflux, characterized by the reverse flow of urine from the bladder into the ureters (in some cases even kidneys). Descending infections in their essence are more predictable and understandable. In such cases, infectious agents are spreading from higher organs located in urinary tract system to the lower ones, for example, from the kidneys to the bladder.

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