This is a common infection, caused by bacteria entering the urethra and growing in the urinary tract (kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra). UTIs start in the urethra and bladder, and if left untreated, progress into the upper urinary tract, such as the ureters and kidneys. Kidney infection is very serious, and can cause death in severe cases.
It is more prevalent in women than men, and infections in children are more common with children under the age of 2. Various risk factors include:
The symptoms a person experiences depend on the personís age and where the infection is located in the urinary tract. Children may experience:
- bladder obstructions (e.g. kidney stones)
- problems of the urinary tract present at birth
- conditions affecting bladder emptying
These symptoms can be experienced by adults as well, with the addition of blood in the urine and fever.
- lower back pain
- abdominal pain
- painful urination
- cloudy urine
In order to diagnose a patient with urinary tract infection, a urine sample must be taken and analyzed to determine the type of bacteria present, so the most effective medication can be prescribed. The treatment for a UTI is antibiotics, though in some cases (e.g. when caused by kidney stones) surgery may be necessary to prevent recurrence of the disease.